Dybvad or Dybwad (name)


Senior Member
Français (CH), AE (California)
Question from a friend interested in genealogy:
I am working on the genealogy of a family who probably came to Norway from the German Empire sometime around the nineteenth century. Their name is Dybvad or Dybwad. Do you have a suggestion as to what the name might mean? The best Google Translate comes up with is "Deep what". (What?) In 1801, the census taker was likely to have been a Danish public servant.
Can anybody help (in English)?

Thank you.

PS: This was originally posted (here) in the German forum.
  • Ida Lykke

    New Member
    Hello SwissPete.
    I tried to do a quick reseach into the origin of the name Dybvad, but I did not find at trustworthy explanation.
    So here is my personal thesis: You are correct that the name Dybvad is a combination of two different words. In Denmark there at a lot of lastnames, whitch start with the "Dyb-" and have a kinds of different endings, just as the ending "-vad" is also common with several different pre-words (pardon my language, I am not a native English speaker, but I think you get my point). "Dyb" does indeed mean deep. "Vad" does ind modern Sweedish and Norwegian mean "what. In Danish we spell it" Hvad" (with a silent H, pronounced the same) However, the word VAD has also another meaning, which is especially seen in older texts, but still used today. Vad means wade. So the man called Dybvad, would have been one, that wades through deep waters. Rivers and streems would have been a common obsticle, due to the landscape in most of Scandinavia. But the guy, they called Dybvad, I suspect was unusually brave and not intimidated by deep and cold waters. Bad ass vinking kind og og dude, I imagine.
    Do you know where your ancestors origin from, like more specifically?


    Senior Member
    I think Ida is on the right track, but maybe not completely right. Scandinavian family names are often farm names, describing the landscape where the family farm is located.

    "Vad" or "vadested" is a ford - a place where it is possible to wade across the river. So it seems likely that Dybvad refers to a "deep ford" - a place where the water is deep, but not too deep to wade.

    According to this online encyclopedia (in Norwegian), Dybwad is a Norwegian family of Danish origin. The first Dybwad came to Norway in 1759, and many of his descendants had prominent positions in Norwegian society. However, this site does not say anything about the meaning of the name:
    Dybwad – Store norske leksikon


    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Fantastic! I will pass on your information to my friend. If she can add something or has another question, I'll post it here.

    In the meantime, thank you on her behalf.


    Senior Member
    'Deep ford' is a good suggestion. There are farms in Norway called Vad or ending in -vad, meaning 'ford'. There is even a name Øksnevad, which means 'ox ford'.


    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    There are hundreds of persons' and geographical names with "vad".
    The verb to go with it is "at vade".

    Don't you also call the overknee rubber boots that fly fishermen and waterfowl hunters wear, "waders"?