Kofoed A

Kofoed B

This might seem very disappointing, but this Internet family-tree system is not about the Koefoed-family.

The reason for this, is that I the two books I have - as mentioned in the front page - have their starting-points in other ancestors. Our ancestors usually times 2 per generation, so when you start to trace down your ancestors, you will end up with a lot of people, depending on which lines you are able to trace down. The people who collected the recordings and published these books, chose to show these families, probably because the Koefoed-family already had been collected and published.

The Koefoed-families have their own books - "The Koefoed-family" vol. A and B, collected and published by a Julius Bidstrup in 1889.

The Koefoed-family is very special, because they managed to both keep up using patronymic, and make Koefoed survive as a surname, even after the ban in 1828. Probably because Koefoed had been a nickname/byname for so long, that the ban made no real difference. Patronymic was always inserted just before Koefoed. The tradition for doing this seems very vigorous. They really took pride in the name Koefoed. The first son was always christened with his father's father's firstname, his father's firstname plus the "-sen" addition, and Koefoed. There is a large number of Mads Jensen Koefoeds, Jens Madsen Koefoeds, Hans Jensen Koefoeds and Jens Pedersen Koefoeds, even in my non-Koefoed file. The girls seldomly were christened with the patronymic. Just Koefoed. Maybe because they were going to get married anyway.

The Koefoed-books starts with Mads Jensen Koefoed (born about 1450) as the earliest recorded ancestor, but it's very doubtful if this at all is correct. The first Kofoeds who are trustworthy documented are Hans Madsen Kofoed of Blykobbegaard, Nyker (the Roenne-family), and Poul Kofoed of Kofoedgaard, OEstermarie (the Kofoedgaard-family).

Bornholm is a very small, secluded area - today approx. 48,000 inhabitants, so making a family-tree without a lot of Ko(e)fo(e)ds is impossible. There are a lot of marriages within and between the families of Bornholm. In old times Bornholm was devided into two parts by a large forest/moor called "Almindingen" ("The Common"). If you draw a line from Rønne to Svaneke, you approximately have the 2 parts. People from the Southern District rarely married people from the Northern District. On top of that, you couldn't marry below your class. You had to marry someone from a farm, at least equal to the farm you came from.. E.g. I'm related to myself 6-7 times, just looking into my database-file.Who said inbreeding?

Ko(e)fo(e)d is a very special name. It originally only existed in Bornholm. When it first appeared is not stated. Several historians have tried to dig up the birth of the name, but without much luck.

Jørn Klint says it derives from Northern Germany - the duchies of Slesvig-Holsten (which were Danish up to 1864), or the seamen of the Hanseatic League. The Hanseatic League was a very powerful organization that ruled almost all the coastline of the Baltic Ocean in the Middle Ages, not by force, but by trading. They traded with, and had offices in , places like the Swedish island Gotland, Bornholm, the Northgerman cities Lübeck, Rostock, Hamburg and Bremen, and a lot of other places. Peder Hansen Koefoed, the father of Jens Pedersen Koefoed "the Liberator", was accused of treason and expelled for not having prevented the Swedes from conquering Bornholm. He died in the city of Lübeck in 1649 in exile. Maybe this is coincidental, or maybe the Koefoeds kept up some kind of connection with the place they originally came from.

Today, when you tell your surname is Ko(e)fo(e)d, all Danes know that you are from Bornholm. There are other surnames that you only find in Bornholm, but Ko(e)fo(e)d is the most famous.

There are 3 ways of spelling this surname: Kofod, Kofoed and Koefoed. The reason for the additional "e"s are not clear. Some says it became a way to segregate the classes - Koefoed as the upper class version - Kofoed as the middle class - and Kofod as the lower class. Others say that Kofod is the most original one, without explaining the additional "e"s.