This site outlines our information on Jim's father's family. Surnames include CARLBERG, BÄCK, JONSON, JONDOTTER, HOLMSTROM, and OHLSON who emigrated from Döderhult, Kalmar län (Småland), Sweden in the 1870's/1880'2 and settled in Illinois, Kansas, North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, and elsewhere.
In the most ancient times every individual had only one name, their given name. Later, in order to differentiate between people with the same given name, a short description of the person or his origin was added to the given name. For example Olof the Red beard, John the Wild, Carl the Red Nose, Anders from Lida or Lida-Anders.
There are many examples of names like this in the Bible, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist etc.
Most cultures also started to use the father's name to separate two individuals to avoid confusion about who a person with a certain given name really was. A second name was added that derived from that of the person's a father or paternal ancestor, usually by the addition of a suffix or prefix meaning "son". This name is what we now call a patronymic name.
In the patronymic naming system the "son" affix is usually attached to the father's given name, however it is also possible to attach it to the father's occupation (e.g., Clerkson). Sometimes a patronymic name is simply the father's given name (Thomas, Edward) or its genitive form (Edwards).
In some cultures the patronymic naming practice varies according to the sex of the child: In the Scandinavian countries, sons receive a patronymic ending of -son (e.g., Andersson) and daughters a form ending in -dotter (e.g., Andersdotter). A similar situation holds true in Russia.
In Europe family names came into use in the later Middle Ages (beginning roughly in the 11th century); the process was completed by the end of the 16th century. The use of family names seems to have originated in aristocratic families and in big cities.
From early times Sweden has used patronymic surnames. As mentioned above, the fathers' first name was used as a part of his children's surname.
For an example, if a man called Anders Johansson had a son named Karl and a daughter named Karin the childrens' full names would be: Karl Andersson and Karin Andersdotter. Son = son and dotter = daughter.
Karl was a son of Anders - Anders's son and Karin was a daughter of Anders - Anders's dotter.
That's why there is a double "ss" in Swedish "-son" names, Anders's son, or in Swedish; Anders son = Andersson. And, to take the patronymic naming to the next generation, if Karl Andersson had a son called Peter, then his full name would be Peter Karlsson.
The most important identity of a person (in a system with a patronymic naming practice) was his first name; I am Karl (son of Anders). The surname does not indicate a relationship other than among brothers or sisters.
Patronymic surnames were in constant use in rural Sweden and among day laborers in urban centers until the 1860's. At that time it became popular among these groups to adopt a family surname carried from one generation to the next. A lot of families then adopted a name connected to their home village or a name connected to nature. However, the majority just "froze" their patronymic surname as their family name. Since Anders was a popular first name we have a lot of Andersson families in Sweden.
Marriage and patronymic surnames:
When a man and a woman got married the woman never adopted her husband’s patronymic name - a name ending with "son". A woman could never be someone's son.
If they both had a family name, the woman still kept her family name. If the husband had a family name and the woman a patronymic name she might change her last name to her husbands family name. But it was not very likely to occur before the 1800's.
It did not become a custom for a woman to adopt her husband's surname until the end of the 1800’s, when most families had adopted family names.
Today quite a few Swedish wives do not adopt their husband's surname, but now for professional or other reason's. Alternatively she would adopt her husband's surname but still keep her own surname, that is a "double" surname.
However the majority of the wives adopt their husband's surname.
The Scandinavian countries were not the only nations using the patronymic
naming practice. In
Ireland for example, the prefix O' signifies the "son of" (e.g.
O'Brian), as Mac
or Mc in Scottish names (e.g.
MacDonald), as P- in Welsh names (e.g.
Powell - "son of Howel").
The Latin word for son is filius. In the French language this is fils, fitz in Norman French (e.g. Fitzgerald). In northern Europe -son or -dotter were added the father's given name (-son and -datter in Denmark and Norway).
Iceland is still today using the patronymic naming practice.
The use of patronymic names in the USA, when the country was still under British rule, was abolished by a proclamation in 1687. However, it is difficult to order a change in a naming practice and it took several generations before it was actually abolished among the people.
The 19 most common surnames in Sweden today are "-son" names. The
most common is Johansson, followed by Andersson and Karlsson.
The most common non "-son" names are Lindberg, followed by Lindkvist and Lindgren.