Meet the Nipper Family, 1700s, from Flade, Hjorring, Denmark

While sharing research tips for Scandinavia, I’ve been taking another look at some of the branches of the family tree which haven’t had their stories told.

After discussing patronymics, the family of Niels Pedersen Nipper seems perfect to share.

When I first saw the surname NIPPER, I thought maybe I was reading it wrong because it is quite unusual. Of course, I had to dig around to try to find its origin and came up with three possibilities:

Nipper – the agricultural worker who is new to the area, Germanic origin

Nipper – someone from Nippe in Hesse, Germany

Nipper – nickname for an alert, astute, sharp person

Given that the Nippers were fishermen, living in Bangsbostrand, Flade Parish, Hjorring, Denmark, I don’t think they were given their surname for being farmers.

While many Danes are of German origin, I tend to doubt that this family was from Nippe, Hesse, Germany. It’s over 900 km from the Frederikshavn area to Hesse.

That leaves Definition #3 – a nickname for an alert, astute, sharp person. I quite like that one, so that’s the one I’ll go with. 🙂

As I worked my way backwards on my Bruun family, I discovered that Thomas Madsen Bruun married Margrethe Nielsdatter on 22 October 1808.

When I looked for Margrethe’s baptismal record in 1783, I found this:


Source: arkivalieronline

Margrethe’s entry is the middle line and it identifies her as the daughter of Niels Pedersen Nipper. Yes, I know it’s hard to read! With the slanted writing on the page, the bottom entry about Maren Larsdatter disappears and Niels Pedersen Nipper’s name is then in the bottom right hand corner.

See why I wasn’t sure I was reading the entry correctly?

Further, after piecing together the family, I found Niels’ burial record in December 1809. No, it’s not any easier to read, but it is him.:


Source: arkivalieronline

I clearly had a Nipper family. 18th century handwriting tends to be difficult reading, whether it’s found in Danish records or colonial Massachusetts. Therefore, I won’t post any more of the vital records I’ve found, but there are quite a few pertaining to this family.

Niels Pedersen was baptized on 6 January 1724/25 in Flade Parish, Hjorring, Denmark. He was the son of Peter Hansen Nipper and Anne Christensdatter.

Niels Pedersen Nipper married (1) Maren Lauritzdatter, 24 November 1754, Flade, Hjorring, Denmark (2) Maren Larsdatter,

I haven’t found children for Niels and his first wife, but he and Maren Larsdatter had many children, although some died young.

Maren Larsdatter was baptized on 11 February 1744/45, Flade, Hjorring, Denmark.

It is unknown, at least to me, which children belonged to which Maren. Maren Lauritzdatter was born c1730. The handwriting in the church register is quite horrid and the image on Arkivalieronline is not crisp and sharp, making it nigh to impossible to figure out where the mother’s name changes to Larsdatter.

However, given that the first Maren was born c1730, she likely didn’t have children after the age of 48, at the extreme end of the range, so she can’t be the mother of all the children.

Some online Danish family trees, which I tend to trust a bit more than American trees because they often include the church register images, show wife 1 dying about 1771. By my own reading, I think the record for Mathias born in 1776 says his mother was Maren Laursdatter, not Lauritzdatter, so at the very least, I think children born from Mathias onward were the children of the second Maren.

Children, all events in Flade, Hjorring, Denmark, unless noted:

  1. Anne, reportedly born and died in 1755
  2. Peder, 28 November 1756; died 29 November 1795; married Kirsten Sorensdatter, 9 November 1793
  3. Jens, 11 October 1758; died 13 July 1823; married Kirsten Sorensdatter, (no, this isn’t an error), 10 December 1796.
  4. Beata, 11 February 1761; died 9 February 1766
  5. Hans, 21 July 1763; died 8 January 1845; married Johanne Marie Sorensdatter, 11 February 1809
  6. Christen, 8 September 1765; died young
  7. Mette, 6 November 1768
  8. Laurs, 19 May 1771, died 22 October 1771
  9. Laurs, July 1773
  10. Christen, 6 October 1774; died young
  11. Matthias, 18 August 1776
  12. Niels, 1777
  13. Maren, 18 April 1779; died 8 August 1779
  14. Anne Marie, 4 May 1780; died 5 June 1854; married Jens Baltzersen, 10 January 1800, Bronderslev, Borglum, Hjorring, Denmark
  15. Margrethe, 25 May 1783; died 22 July 1841, Flade, Hjorring, Denmark; married Thomas Madsen Bruun, 22 October 1808.
  16. Christen, November 1784; died 26 March 1786
  17. Jens, 19 February 1786

Some more work needs to be done on the maternal side of the tree, but the Nipper

4 thoughts on “Meet the Nipper Family, 1700s, from Flade, Hjorring, Denmark”

  1. descended from James Nipper 1660 Virginia Colony(America) who is listed as from Scotland. The Scottish Diaspora has it that Scots traded etc. with Polish, Germans and others of that area. My brother had the DNA test and says he has Nordic ancestry. I haven’t had mine done. We have researched and don’t have a clue before James 1660. Nippe in Hesse is interesting, also Middle German “nip”. I saw Niels Pederson on the internet yrs ago. intrigue

    1. David, are you saying that you descend from the James Nipper who was in the Northumberland Co., VA area by 1660? Supposedly, he was born in Scotland around 1638. (THAT James had sons named James and John, too). I believe I am descended from that James Nipper- via his son, John. My line, which drifted to South Carolina before the American Revolution, seems to go back to the Nipper/Napper families of Brunswick Co., VA- who appear to trace back to James Nipper of Northumberland. Have you done Y-DNA testing via FamilyTreeDNA? If not, you should. If you have, please tell me what your DYS464 number(s) are! There is a certain result, at that marker, that indicates a male is descended from the Napiers of Kilmahew, Scotland. The Clan Napier in North America calls it the “signature marker of the Napiers of Kilmahew”! My husband and I visited the ruins of Kilmahew Castle, which was really a Tower House (built at the end of the thirteenth to the early fourteenth century), on a trip to Scotland in 2016. It was awesome! My mother’s family spelled their surname “Nappier”; but before them, you would see it spelled Napper and Nipper, in old records. Some of our line spell the name “Napier”, today. My male cousin, son of my mother’s brother, Y-DNA tested for me; and it was his DYS464 that clinched our descent from the Scottish Napiers (according to CNNA). I would love to hear how you descend from James Nipper, ca. 1660.

      1. I, too, am tracing the origins back to him. I am curious to take the DNA testing so I can check the markers for this. A lot of them also hail from England (Kent and Yorkshire areas) as well as the Kirkland side so I am looking forward to comparing this

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