Sweden Soldier Names
Back to Sweden Portal Page►
When a man entered into military service in Sweden, it was often the case that he would take on a new surname. This was necessary to avoid the confusion of having multiple men serving together by the exact same name. For example, how would a man named Olof Olofsson know when his name was called when there are 5 others by the same name?
Often these "soldier names" were reflective of military life such as: Modig (courageous), Tapper (brave), Frimodig (fearless, frank), and Stark (strong). Sometimes, references were made to weaponry such as: Svärd (sword), Skjöld (shield), Spjut (spear), and Lans (lance).
In other cases you will find the soldier name is associated to the name of the soldier farm. The soldier would use the name of the soldier farm as his last name for the duration of his service at that farm. When he was discharged, he would move off the soldier farm. In many cases they kept using the soldier name. Then when a new recruit took over the soldier farm, the cycle would begin again. You cannot assume that there is a relationship between two men who share the same soldier surname.
Sometimes the soldier surname can be a reference to where a soldier came from. For example, the surname Ekberg may be a variation on a place name where the soldier is from, such as “Ekeby”.
Children of a soldier had the option of taking their father’s military surname or not. Many chose to use their patronymic surname, based upon their father’s given name instead. For example, the children of soldier Anders Ljungström may have used either the Ljungström surname or chosen instead to be known as Andersson or Andersdotter.
Here are some examples of common Swedish soldier surnames: