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Swedish Patronymics

The patronymic naming system was in common use up to the end of the 19th century within Sweden. Between 90 and 95% of the population used the patronymic naming system.

Patronymics is the process of deriving a surname based upon the given name of the father, thus consistently changing the surname from generation to generation unless the given name and surname are identical. Then -son or -dotter was added for gender distinction. For example: Johan Andersson would have been the son of Anders (Anders’ son). The same transpires to a daughter, Anna Svensdotter would have been the daughter of Sven (Svens’ dotter).

The practice of patronymics was generally abandoned by the turn of the twentieth century. However, some families took on an additional surname to help distinguish them from others with the same surname. These names were generally indicative of a place or profession or a composition of words taken from the nature. "Björkqvist", for example, means "the twig from a birch."