Friday, 20 May 2011

Mrs Moen autograph

Brenda from Scraps and strings sent me a fun email the other day writing:

“Did you ever live in Canada? I saw a vintage autograph quilt at a local show in Morden, Manitoba, Canada and your name is on it: Mrs. Moen. How cool is that? I'm sure this quilt is 60-70 years old, so I guess it isn't you, but I'm sending you a picture so you can check it out.”

With Brenda’s permission, here are the pictures, and indeed, there’s my name, neatly embroidered onto a Dresden plate with Mr Moen on another wedge (petal?).
Brenda asked whether Moen is a common Norwegian name, and there are 10.412 people named Moen in Norway. Moen (mo meaning heath or moor) was used in names for places and farms, and historically people would often take the name of their farm as a family name. So did my great-great-grandfather (maybe a couple of more great-s; I’ve lost track) whose name was Bjørnsen (son of Bjørn), but Bjørnsen got lost on the way through the generations.

There are also quite a few other Scandinavian names on the blocks like Eide, Knudson, Johnson, Larson and Olafson. Surnames ending with –sen were typical for Norway and Denmark, but I understand a lot of them were changed to –son when people were emigrating to the US.

My paternal grandmother was a keen genealogist and I’m a big fan of a radio show/podcast called Språkteigen which is about languages and names and the history behind words, so this was fun!

And; the Mrs in my blog name is sort of an anachronism, although Mrs. Moen would be my proper formal name. We don’t usually use mrs. or mr. here anymore (other than when ordering plane tickets online); it’s more like a tribute to all the Mrs-es before me, passing down long legs, will power of steel and the love of creating. Yeah, I owe them big time.-)


  1. Nice blog. My maiden name is Hansen. My grandparents being from Denmark, Lars & Hilda Hansen.

  2. What a nice post, and how fun that Brenda noticed Moen on the quilt and took those photos for you! I wouldn't have thought so many people would share that surname in Norway. That's a lotta Moens!

  3. My maiden name is Moen. My great Grandparents and their family came from Norway and much of their family settled in North and South Dakota here in the US and many went to Canada. The genealogy is interesting and a bit of a challenge because of the way they used their fathers name as their last name etc. We have a lot of Lars' and Evans'.

  4. You are everywhere it seems. There was a pretty big Norwegian population in Canada though I think as well.....Fantastic vintage qui.t. xox Corrine

  5. Very interesting. I think this is a sign that all Moens having quilting in their blood!


  6. That's very cool! My mom's side of the family is related to Moen's from North Dakota.

  7. I had to visit your blog, you see when I sew I always think of my grandmother Synnove Jorgensen who sailed to Canada alone with just a trunk to meet my Grandfather Richmond who had come ahead and worked very hard until he could send her. They eventually settled in Niagara Falls where much later I was born and have lived most of my life. My Grandmother had manny talents and her trade was a tailor in Norway. She tried very hard to teach me needle arts and I always enjoyed our time together. So when I saw your blog it brought back so many wonderful memories. One day I hope to see Norway for myself.