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An excerpt from 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 and printed products wherever possible.


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


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
  • 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
  • Peter "Mick" Madsen (1901-1979), Australian rugby league player
  • Peter Madsen (b. 1978), Danish footballer

Madsen Historic Events

Empress of Ireland

  • 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

RMS Titanic

  • 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

  • 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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    Other References

    1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
    6. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
    7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    11. ...

    The Madsen Family Crest was acquired from the 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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