In my own efforts and my genealogy I think it could be useful to explain some of the most common surnames in Sweden today.
- Johansson 247588
- Andersson 247169
- Karlsson 187423
- Nilsson 168548
- Eriksson 135145
- Larsson 122668
- Olsson 106566
- Persson 105052
- Svensson 99667
- Gustafsson 70470
Wow, the Johansson family must be very large, well I hate to burst your bubble but that is not correct. Sure, there are a lot of people with surname Johansson, Andersson and Karlsson but that doesn’t actually mean that all 247588 are related. Chances are that 247169 Andersson are related to 187423 Karlsson is much higher. The surname Karlsson could be spelt either with a K or C in Swedish, they both sound the same. Karlsson has two alternative spelling as has Eriksson and Gustafsson could be spelt with with an f as a last letter or with a v. Again, same sound.
Let’s break the surnames apart now, Nilsson remove the Nils from son and you might understand that names with the son ending in Swedish, Norwegian , Danish and maybe Finnish means that it’s the son of someone. Nils son whatever first name he had would naturally get the surname Nils son which became Nilsson at some point.
The most common personal names for males during this time were
- Olof nicknamed Olle
- Peter or Petter
The patronymik names were more common in the 18th , 19th and 20th century later on Eriksson could remain in the same family when people didn’t bother with patronymik names any longer. A daughter Lars would now possibly get the surname Larsson instead of Larsdotter Larsdaughter. In the very early days married women kept their maiden names even after marriage.
- Lindberg 27382
- Lindström 25143
- Lindgren 22962
Maria Lindberg might marry into a son of Olof meaning he would have the surname Olsson, the Lindberg name would not be passed onto any children instead they would get the Persson if their father was named Per or Svensson for Sven. Later on though-in the 20th century it became much more common for children to take their mother’s surname if she had a surname which wasn’t a patronymik name. Like Lindberg, Lindström or Lindgren which happens to be the three most common surnames in Sweden today which isn’t a patronymik name. Do know who Astrid Lindgren was and what she’s famous for?
One more thing in the 17th, 18th, 19 and 20th century it wasn’t common for parents to name their children Gustafsson as a first name , which is common in English speaking countries were you have surnames like Smith, Jones or Taylor in Britain or Smith, Johnson or Williams in the US.
- Patronymikon most common type of Swedish surnames
- Gårdsnamn farmer and servants begun to adopt the name of farms where they worked for example Liss , the first person would sometimes be called Liss-Lars and his children after him would inherit the name Liss making it a surname Erik Liss
- Soldatnamn young men who went into the army usually got a nickname like Rask, Munter, Lång or Glad which all are sustantives a word used to describe the person. Rask means fast, Munter means cheery Long is tall and Glad is happy.
- Vallonnamn German immigrant workers that worked in the German mills. They orginiated from France, Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany.
- Naturnamn a substantive with nature origin for exampel Gren, Asp, Lund, Sjö or Berg (branch, different tree names, sea or lake and mountain.)
- Väderstreck – cardinal directions being norr, söder, öster, väster (North, South, East and West).