*** a SweGGate StarGuide ® ***
|Toolbox & Tips||"Interchangeable names"|
|Toolbox and tips|
Many Swedes changes their names on arriving in the new country. There could be many reasons for this but the most common ones were probably a/ difficulties in pronouncing and spelling for a non-Swedish speaker and b/ too many immigrants with the same surname in a small community.
I will continuously collect a number of known name changes on the Examples page. Please send your findings to me.
Translation of a name with a "meaning"
Except for the common patronymic
names many surnames are words or combination of two words
which mean something. Most common are names of nature
Replace dropped umlauts
Try different combinations with
"a":s and/or "o":s replaced by the
special Swedish letters "å", "ä" or
"ö". This may give a meaning to the name /
Dropped "-son" suffixes
The very common ending "-son" in the patronymic names was often dropped leaving only a "s" at the end, e.g. Jonsson -> Johns, Adamsson -> Adams.
Many Swedish names are hard to
pronounce correctly for a non-Swedish speaker so many
emigrants changed the spelling so that an English speaker
would read the new name to sound similar to the original
Admittedly this is hard for someone who is not familiar with the Swedish sound patterns. Try to find a native Swedish speaker. The mailing lists are a great resource if you are stuck.
Variations in spelling within Sweden
Even in Sweden many names have varied spellings. Some examples:
Some very common variations are the single or double "s" in patronymic like Olson / Olsson, Person / Persson etc.
Replace nicknames and short form names with the original
|"Interchangeable" given names (this article is just a starter and hopefully extended later)|
|This is a somewhat tricky subject. The term
interchangeable names is widely used also in scholarly documents but the
interpretation and implications vary a lot.
The definition of the word itself in Br English is "can be used in place of each other" (Longman) but this wide, general definition does not apply to the use of variants of given names. I have chosen to discuss this under two headings:
Related names and
|Names of Common Origin|
Almost all given names have a traceable origin and
until lately they have been used for hundreds of years in various forms.
The main (traceable) origins for given names in Sweden are:
Many of the names from the Mediterranean region travelled through other languages, like German, French and English and each language developed new variants to adopt to linguistic aspects. Once arrived in Sweden the same adaptation occurs to the Swedish language. This results in three or more variants used concomitantly.
One example is the "original" name Johannes
from Hebrew language with German Johan (Johann), French Jean,
English John and Ian, Danish and South Swedish Jens
and Jöns and the general Swedish Jon, Joen and Jan.
Another example where the connection is less obvious is the "original" name Magnus from Latin with the Swedish short form (variant) Måns.
All this sometimes gives us several variants of one name but all having the same origin. This does not merit the term "interchangeable" since - for one - the common origin is not always clear to the person changing the name (owner or recorder) and in most cases people do not regard many of those as the same name and would not like to have their choice replaced.
If you find a record using a name different from the one you are looking for but of the same origin you must always prove the link between those records since in many cases it can turn out to be different individuals.
Read as many different records you can find for what appears to be the same person and compare names. Do not accept variations of this group without being able to link the records by other facts. This could be matching moving/transfer notes, a HFL record for the birth year linking HFL to the birth record or records naming other relatives like parents, siblings or children WITH the relation specified.
|Short name forms of different origins|
|An especially tricky situation is when you find a short
form name which could be from different "original" names.
Example: Manne which could be short for either Emanuel, Manfred or Magnus. The tricky fact here is that the three "original" names are NOT related !
Always prove the link between the records as with names of common origin.
|Closely Related names|
|Rather soon other variants appear based on dialects and the need for short forms and in the last 100 years also affectionate "pet names".|
In general if you find a simple change from a basic form to a short form or an affectionate form it is usually acceptable. But you have to be sure of the connection between the two name forms. If more than one name changes then look out and always prove the link between the records as with names of common origin.
|There are also pure spelling variants depending on the preferences of a period or the name owner. These are the only variants that can be considered interchangeable from a research point-of-view but not for the individual at a given time.|
In records older than abt 100 years Per, Pehr and Pär may safely be considered spelling variants and therefore interchangeable. There is no need for separate proof of the person's identity comparing two records because of this type of "name change". Other examples
|Last updated by||F Hae||2005-06-16 14:03||© Fredrik Haeffner, 2001-5|