Patronymic Naming Patterns

The Swedes also used the patronymic naming system, which Craig calls "the principal barrier in following the history of individual Swedish families on the Delaware.".  Instead of a surname, boys and girls generally were known by their father's first name, followed by son or dotter.  Thus, the Soldier Jona Nilsson, named his eldest son Nils Jonasson....a daughter would have been, for instance Helena, father, son and daughter ALL had different surnames...  

Another problem arose when not all surnames ' stuck'...and often sons adopted their father's patronymic.  Thus, Peter, the son of Mans Petersson Stake, was called Peter Mansson, Peter Petersson and Peter Stake, in contemporary records.  He died as Peter Peterson, which eventually became his family's surname.

This page updated on January 2, 2011