Origin of Møller surname? (Thomas Lauridsen Møller, born abt. 1735)

+2 votes

Hoping the Danish wizards can help me out once more.

The Møller branch of the family has consistently used Møller as a surname, not patronymics. My initial assumption was that if I went far enough back, I'd find an actual miller and that would be the source of the surname.

Instead, I've stalled on Thomas Lauridsen Møller, whose occupation was consumtionsbetjent (customs officer, as I understand it). What's especially confusing is that the family uses patronymics in the 1787 census (Lauridsen, Thomasen, Thomasdatter), and the baptism records that I've been able to find for Thomas' children list him as "Lauridsen".

It looks like they switched to using Møller between 1794 and 1798. Thomas' daughter Kirsten is listed as Thomasdr in her confirmation (1794) and his other daughter Mariane is listed as Thomasdatter Møller in hers (1798): https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/en/billedviser?epid=17123888#164242,27580491

Thomas' burial record uses Møller: https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?epid=17123888#164242,27580444 .

Now, I suppose I could be conflating two different families -- the Lauridsen/Thomasen family and the Møller family -- but all of the names, ages, and places line up. So why the change? Was Thomas' father Laurids Møller and the names were just recorded inconsistently? (Entirely plausible, except I can't back it up -- I don't have anything for this family before 1779, Kirsten's birth.)

Any insights or new information would be greatly appreciated.
WikiTree profile: Thomas Møller
in Genealogy Help by Madeleine Lee G2G3 (3.6k points)
This does not seem to be a change of surname. It is the use of patronymics together with the more specific occupational name of Møller indicating that they were Millers.
But every record I have of Thomas' occupation says he was a betient/betjent/consumtionsbetient (customs officer). It comes up multiple places, as I stated. Nowhere is there a record of him actually being a miller. This is what has me stumped.
Thomas Lauradson Moller.All Nordic Countries would have abt 5 names

in there full name.They Changed too first middle and last abt 1870.

Without there full names,would be easy too find multiple people with same

names.Just traced a Dotter family,had 5 names in full name.
I appreciate you taking the time to comment, but the family in question transitioned to the Møller surname about 1790 (as outlined in my post) and I have nothing to suggest they were actually millers. The census records, birth/baptismal records, and Thomas' death record list his occupation as betient/consumptionsbetient (again, as I understand it, customs officer for the market town they lived in).
Sorry, Wayne, but a Dotter family sounds very strange to me since -dotter is the female patronymic ending (in Swedish. In Danish and Norwegian it is -datter, in Icelandic it is -dottir). You just cannot have a family of all -dotter, you will need some -son as fathers.
Hi Madelaine

Denmark had its first name-law in 1828. (First time one SHOULD have a last-name or family-name). Until then all common people had a first name and a patronyme added (not at proper name). There were many with the same first-name. therefore most people in the countyside had a nick-name or a name from the farm they owned or if they came from a diffrent part of the country (ex. Jyde means comming from Jutland) As an addition to this there were naming after good relatives or powerful people (men) The name Møller could be something like that. BUT most likely there IS a miller somewhere in the past of the familyhistory - maby on the mothers side.

It took quite a while before the name-law had its effect. In the mean time people could ( ex. Jens Nielsens children) for instance call their children Nielsen Østergaard, Jensen Nielsen etc. Therefor there is no consistency in the names. Good luck in your further research!

(Noble men and women had a family-name in hundreds of years before the name-law was a reality The women did not change their names when married)

2 Answers

0 votes
Hello Madeleine!  It looks as if folks did not fully read the questions you are seeking answers for as no one has actually answered it yet.  I have no idea what the answers are, but if the folks who know the answers will re-read the information, perhaps they can provide a more comprehensive answer with all the information.  Anyone from the Denmark Project want to weigh in on this one as I think that may be where the answers lie?
by Cindy Lesure G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
+2 votes
I’m on my iPad mini so it’s not as easy to find and link to the document I want as on my desktop.  Do a google search for Wikitree Project Denmark Resources and it should bring up the project resources page.  Look there for the links on Danish names and read about the different types of names. I think you have a tilnavn that was later adopted as a surname as Denmark moved toward inheritable surnames.
by Mary Jensen G2G6 Pilot (110k points)

This would be the link, I think:

I agree with Mary that what you have is probably a tilnavn = a name used sometimes together with the patronymics, sometimes omitted - and later turning into a surname. But at the time you are looking they were, as you have noticed, not very consistent about what got into the records. My experience is from Sweden, but in this respect I think Denmark was very similar.

Also, your Thomas does not have to have been the miller. The miller that was the origin of the Möller name may have been many generations back.

Yes, I have an ancestor in Sweden whose name was Thil Möller and he was a saddlemaker. His son and grandson (also surname Möller) were both saddlemakers.

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