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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

The origins of the name Madsen are with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from the baptismal name Matilda, a popular woman's name in the 11th century.


The surname Madsen was first found in Durham where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Madsen has been spelled many different ways, including Madison, Maddison, Maddeson and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Madsen research. Another 318 words (23 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Madsen History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Madsen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Madsens to arrive in North America:

Madsen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Hans Peter Madsen, who landed in Mississippi in 1886
  • Adolf Madsen, aged 16, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Agnes Cinlya Madsen, aged 26, who landed in America, in 1895
  • Adolfine R. Madsen, aged 20, who emigrated to the United States, in 1896

Madsen Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Ole C Madsen, who arrived in Colorado in 1906
  • Madsen, aged 11, who emigrated to America, in 1906
  • Albert M. Madsen, aged 26, who settled in America, in 1906
  • Alfhild Madsen, aged 26, who landed in America, in 1907


  • Chris Madsen (1851-1944), American lawman of the Old West
  • Michael Madsen (b. 1958), American actor, poet, and photographer
  • Wayne Madsen, American author and journalist
  • Virginia Madsen (b. 1961), American actress
  • Mark Madsen (b. 1976), American basketball player
  • Mrs. Signe Madsen (1867-1914), née Ostgaard German Third Class Passenger from Hamburg, Germany who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Lars Jorgen Madsen (1871-1925), Danish two time gold, two time silver and one time bronze Olympic medalist for shooting during the 1900, 1912 and 1920 games
  • Mr. Fridtjof Arne Madsen, aged 24, Norwegian Third Class passenger from Trondheim who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 13
  • Peter "Mick" Madsen (1901-1979), Australian rugby league player
  • Peter Madsen (b. 1978), Danish footballer


  • Yesterday, a History of Norwegian Ancestry by Evelyn Hoff.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vae timido
Motto Translation: Woe to the timid.


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  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  11. ...

The Madsen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Madsen Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 12 April 2015 at 14:21.

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