Swedish Surnames

From Nordic Names - www.nordicnames.de - All rights reserved.

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Primary Patronyms

As in the other Nordic countries, the use of primary patronyms (and sometimes matronyms) instead of surnames was common in Sweden until hereditary surnames became mandatory in 1901.

To create an Swedish primary patronym, the suffix -son (= 'son') or -dotter (= 'daughter') is added to the genitive form of the father's name. You will find the genitive forms of Swedish names in the grammar tables on the respective name pages. In Swedish, usually just the suffix -s is added directly to the name.


Name Son's patronym Daughter's patronym
Håkan Håkansson Håkansdotter
Anders Andersson Andersdotter
Erik Eriksson Eriksdotter
Nils Nilsson Nilsdotter

German Influence

German merchants from the Hanseatic League (Hanse) introduced the first hereditary surnames to the Swedes. The Swedish nobility were the first to adopt surnames and they constructed their own ones as well.

Nobility Names

The newly created nobility names consisted of both Swedish and German elements. For more information see Nobility Name.

Ornamental Names

In the 17th and 18th centuries members of the middle class adopted surnames as well. Like the nobility names, ornamental names consisted of two elements, which were freely and creatively combined. The first element was often taken from a farm name.

Typical Swedish ornamental names are:

  • Lindberg
  • Lindström
  • Lindgren
  • Bergström
  • Lundberg
  • Lundgren
  • Berglund
  • Sandberg
  • Sjöberg
  • Forsberg
  • Lindqvist
  • Engström
  • Eklund
  • Bergman
  • Nyström
  • Lundqvist
  • Holmberg
  • Nyberg
  • Söderberg
  • Nordström
  • Lundström
  • Björklund
  • Berggren
  • Sandström
  • Åberg
  • Ekström
  • Holmgren
  • Hedlund

You can find a lot of ornamental name elements and their meanings here.

Soldier Names

A special kind of nicknames which became surnames in Sweden were soldier names.

Humanist Names

In Sweden also so called humanist names are used. They are usually a given name or a (part of a) surname combined with a Latin or Greek ending.

Secondary Patronyms

When hereditary surnames became mandatory in 1901, many Swedes who had not taken another surname before, decided to "freeze" their primary patronyms so they became secondary, hereditary patronyms instead and could function as a surname. They are the most common kind of surnames in Sweden.

The most common secondary patronyms in Sweden (2020) are:

Farm Names

Real farm names are sometimes used in Sweden as well, although ornamental names (see above) are far more common.

See also