Please revise "How do I enter Scandinavian names into Family Tree?"
The Help Center article "How do I enter Scandinavian names into Family Tree?" is too simplistic and does not incorporate best practices for at least Norwegian genealogical research as presented at Geni.no and as used by the majority of Norwegians with trees on My Heritage. I am not familiar enough with Swedish and Danish research to comment on them, so what I have written will likely need further revision. Current text that has not been changed is in regular type. Current text to be removed is struck out. My additions are in bold type.
How do I enter Scandinavian names into Family Tree?
September 24, 2020
Scandinavian naming practices and styles varied between country and country, between regions of each country, and between urban and rural areas. To correctly enter names in Family Tree, it is important to become familiar with particular naming practices of the area your relatives were from.
Patronymic surnames were used in all Scandinavian countries. Beginning in the 1800s people in Denmark began to use fixed surnames that were used from one generation to the next. Sweden ended the use of the patronymic naming system in 1901, Finland in 1921, and Norway in 1923. Iceland still uses patronymic names.
Patronymic surnames are based on the father's first name. The last name changed with each generation. For example, John Andersson’s son Sven was named Sven Johnsson. John's daughter Ane was named Ane Johnsdatter. Different endings were used in different countries. Denmark
and Norway usually used -sen and -datter, Sweden used -sson and -dotter, and Iceland uses -son and -dóttir. Norwegian records show the use of -sen, -ssen, -son, -sson, -szen, -søn, -ssøn and other forms for males and both -datter and -dotter for females. Surnames in Finland varied in the west and east. In the west patronymic surnames were commonly used, and were recorded with either Swedish or Finnish endings, -sson or -poika for boys and -dotter and -tytär for girls. People in eastern Finland used family surnames. Scandinavian Swedish and Danish records may also include a person's place of residence (farm name) or occupation with the name, to help distinguish one person from another with the same name.
Norwegian records show three types of surnames in addition to patronymic names. Family names were in use as early as the 1600s in the upper classes of society and were passed down unchanged from a father to all this children. Farm names were derived from a family’s residence and would change each time they moved. Fixed patronymic surnames came into use prior to 1800 among merchants and tradesmen and look like a regular patronymic; however, they use the -sen suffix for both men and women and are passed from generation to generation without changing.
If a person lived during the time when patronymic naming was used, please follow these guidelines when entering the name into Family Tree. Patronymic last names In the Last Names field, enter just the patronymic last name. Do not include farm names or occupations. If the last name was abbreviated on the record, spell it out. For example, enter Ane Andersdr. as Ane Andersdatter . Farm names Enter farm names as part of the event place-name, not as part of the last name. Farms or villages should be entered as the first, or smallest locality. Occupations Enter occupations in the Other Information section, not as part of the last name.
Following usual genealogical practice, an individual’s name at the time of his or her birth should be entered in the Vitals section of Family Tree. Exceptions to this general rule can be found. For example, if a family moved from one farm to another when a child was just a few years old and all other children in the family were born at the second farm, it sometimes makes sense for clarity to enter the first child with the same farm name as his or her siblings. All additional names a person used through life whether due to moving from one farm to another, moving from a rural to an urban area, or emigrating should be recorded in the Other Information section of Family Tree as Alternate Names.
Enter all first names in the First Names field. Because of the wide variation in spelling used for names which sometimes differs even between two copies of a christening record, the decision of which spelling to use can be challenging.
Surnames, excluding patronymics
Enter any fixed patronymic, family, or farm name surname in the Last Names field. Fixed patronymics use the -sen suffix for both men and women. Family names will usually have standard spelling that can be used. Farm name spelling varied through the years just like given names. They can be entered either with the spelling current at the time of an individual's birth or with the modern spelling of the farm.
For individual with only a patronymic surname, enter it in the Last Names field. Since the patronymic is usually abbreviated, it is often impossible to know which spelling was used for the suffix. Some people choose to exclusively use -sen and -datter no matter what the records contains. Some people choose to use the form used in the records when present. Some people choose to use -sson and -datter to distinguish regular patronymics from fixed patronymics.
Individuals with fixed patronymic surnames usually did not use a regular patronymic with their surname.
Individuals with family names sometimes used a patronymic in addition, but often did not.
Individuals with farm name surnames almost always used a patronymic along with their surname.
If used along with a second type of surname, a person’s patronymic can be entered either at the end of the First Names field or at the beginning of the Last Names field. The position of the patronymic will effect search results. If the patronymic is in the First Names field the individual will often appear higher in the list of results when searched for.
If an individual had a fixed patronymic, a family name, or a farm name, one should always enter the strictly patronymic form of his or her name as an Alternate Name in the Other Information section of Family Tree with the first name in the First Names field and the patronymic in the Last Names field. This helps the Find and Hint routines work most effectively.
For more information
For more details about specific naming systems in each country, please visit the FamilySearch Wiki: