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Surname Wilhelmsen - Meaning and Origin

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Wilhelmsen: What does the surname Wilhelmsen mean?

The surname Wilhelmsen is derived from the Germanic personal name Wilhelm, which is composed of two elements - "will" and "helme". "Will" is an Old High German derived term for determination and protection, while "helme" means helmet or protection, and denotes strength and power. Together, the two elements in Wilhelm's name suggest a strong individual who is willing to fight and protect.

The Wilhelmsen surname has been used by individuals of Norwegian, Danish, and German origins since medieval times. It is thought to have originated in the area of Hamburg, Germany, and was taken to Norway by a family named 'Wilhelmsen'. They settled in Sogn og Fjordane, and the name rose up from there.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, throughout Scandinavia, descendants of the Wilhelmsen families moved to towns and cities. By the 1920's, 10,000 people in Norway bore the surname Wilhelmsen.

The Wilhelmsen surname is still common today, as is the name Wilhelm. Its present-day meaning is one of strength, determination, and the willingness to protect - a quality that has been passed down through generations.

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Wilhelmsen: Where does the name Wilhelmsen come from?

The last name Wilhelmsen is commonly found today in Norway, particularly in the southern region of Agder, and among the Norwegian diaspora around the world.

The name is derived from the root words for ‘guarding the public’ or ‘protecting the people’, and was popularized in the country by Wilhelmus Simonis, who immigrated to Norway in the late 1700s from the Netherlands.

As one of the most common Norwegian surnames, Wilhelmsen is found across the country’s 19 provinces, including the cities of Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger. It is a common name among members of the Church of Norway, but is spread across all religious backgrounds.

The name is also prevalent among Norwegian immigrants and descendants who now live in the United States, particularly in the Midwest, where pockets of Norwegian-American communities are found. This is likely because of the high levels of immigration to the US from the 1800s to the early 20th century.

The Wilhelmsen surname is also associated with sea-faring families. This is because the Wilhelmsen company was established in 1861 by three Norwegian brothers, who purchased a small steamship and started their own shipping company. By the 20th century, the company had grown to become one of the world’s largest shipping companies.

Today, although the Wilhelmsen name is most commonly associated with Norway, it can be found among various countries with strong ties to Norway and those with high levels of Norwegian immigration or descendants.

Variations of the surname Wilhelmsen

The surname Wilhelmsen is a patronymic name from which the given name Wilhelm (William) is derived. It is derived from the Germanic elements will, meaning “will” or “desire” and helm, meaning “helmet or protection”. The surname is found in Germany, Norway, Denmark, the UK, and the US.

The variants of Wilhelmsen include Wilhelmsson, Wilhelmson, Wilhelmsson, and Wilhelms. The spelling is found in the variants Wilhelmssen, Wilhelmson, Wilhelmsen, and Wilhelms.

In Denmark, the surname is spelled Vilhelmsen; in Germany, Wilhelms; and in Norway, Vilhelmsen. In Sweden, the patronymic name is spelled Vilhelmsson; and in the United Kingdom, Wilhelmson.

In the United States, the surname is spelled Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmson, and Wilhelmus. In the Scandinavian countries, the variations of the name include Vilhelmsen, Vilhelmson, Vilhelmsen, and Vilhelmsson.

Surnames of the same origin are Wilhamson, Wilhenson, Wilhinson, Wilhomes, Wiliford, Willamson, Willemson, Willereson, Willims, Willmott, and Wilsher.

The surname Wilhelmsen is a patronymic, so it is often passed down to future generations, so it is likely that people bearing the same surname will be related, although the time depths and forms differ from country to country.

Famous people with the name Wilhelmsen

  • Erik Wilhelmsen, Norwegian archaeologist and professor of marine botany
  • Stein Wilhelmsen, Norwegian skiing coach
  • Kristian Wilhelmsen, Norwegian ice hockey player
  • Wenche Wilhelmsen, Norwegian fashion designer
  • Sondre Wilhelmsen, Norwegian professional footballer
  • Tore Wilhelmsen, Norwegian rock musician
  • Guri Wilhelmsen, Norwegian novelist
  • Steinar Wilhelmsen, Norwegian economist and politician
  • Ellen Marie Wilhelmsen, Norwegian singer/songwriter
  • Andreas Wilhelmsen, Norwegian speed skater

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