Genealogy - family resource - and a bit of cultural history
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    Sources and contributors
Origin of the surname Heilesen
Family history
    The Heilesen-familien from Tornby
    Your family
Crash course in Danish
Links to useful resources
Project: Genealogy and Hypertext

Genealogy - family resource - and a bit of cultural history

Heilesen is a rare -sen-name. It originates in the Vendsyssel region of Denmark, where a number of Heilesen-families all seem to come from a few localities, notably the parishes of Børglum, Furreby, Vrensted and Tise, where the Christian name Heile was once common.

In the past few years we have received a number of e-mails from Heilesens around the world seeking their roots in Denmark. Some of these letters happen to be from long-lost relatives - however distant. Others are from the relatives of someone else. These very enjoyable letters have inspired this web-site, which serves three puposes:

Join us! - it's free

All information is most welcome - whether it concerns descendants of individuals already in the database or other Heilesen families. If you maintain your own genealogical web site, we will be happy to link to it. If not, we will try to help you make your material available online (at no cost to you, of course).

Contact: Simon Heilesen ( or Karen Heilesen (

Sources and contributors to the database

Origin of the surname Heilesen

According to the family tradition the name Heile was brough to Denmark several hundred years ago by a Norwegian boy. He was shipwrecked on the west coast of Vendsyssel and settled in the region. Certainly the name seems to be Norwegian. Thus the word Heile is to be found in several Norwegian place names (se fx. O. Rygh: Norske gårdnavne, vol. 12, p. 333).

There are various theories about the meaning of the word heile:

-sen (son) og -sdatter ('s daughter) was added to the Christian name of one's father to provide common people with a surname. Thus Heile Christensen was the father Christen Heilesen og Anna Heilesdatter. And Christen's son would become a Christensen. This practice was discontinued in the second half of 19th century.

Family history

Crash course in Danish

Standard information is given in both Danish and English. We do not plan to translate biographies in full, but here are a few useful words:

af - of
barselseng - childbed (a lot of women died in childbed - død i barselseng)
begrave / bury
bosat - lived at
datter - daughter / døtre - daughters
død - died / død som lille - died as infant / død s.å - died same year / s.d. - same day
efter - after
flytte | flyttede - move | moved
forpagte - lease / forpagter - tenant
foto - photograph
før -  before
gift - married
gravsted - grave
gård - farm / gårdmand | gårdejer - farmer
husmand - small holder
i - in | at
indsidder - tenant farmer
kirke - church
købmand - grocer
navneforandring - change of name
og - and
senere - later
sogn - parish / sogneråd - local council
søn - son / sønner - sons
tjene - to serve / tjener -| serves | servant | (waiter)
udvandret - emigrated
ugift - unmarried
ægteskab - marriage

Links to useful resources

Project Genealogy and Hypertext

Paper forthcoming. 

Denne side indeholder kun privat information / This is a private web page.
Simon B. Heilesen, opdateret: