Swedish names from nature

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More about Swedish names


Nature based family names

As people in Sweden started abandoning patronymics and adopting family names a great many of those names were based on nature - trees, rocks, forests and streams. On this page we have only scratched the surface of the topic.

This process took off in the 19th century, in the context of urbanization and industrialization. Many of those nature-based names had already been in use for more than a hundred years, but as long as they were not names of families introduced in the House of Nobility, they were free for anyone to adopt. (see WikiTree page name laws in Sweden) Presumably you didn't want to have the same name as your neigbour - but you probably didn't check if the name was alredy used in the next county.


There is an article at SCB, listing the ten most common composite and the ten most common one-part nature based surnames in 2014.[1] The most common first part of a composite is Lind- and the most common second part is -berg - and so the most common composite nature surname today is Lindberg with 27 600 carriers in Sweden 2014.

In the census 1880, Folkräkningar 1880 there are 5987 persons with the surname Lindberg, born between 1782 and 1880 (children living with their parents not counted). If you check the distribution there are Lindbergs born in every county, with the most in Stockholm.

In WikiTree there are roundly 500 profiles with Lindberg as Last Name at Birth. Seven of them are born before 1700 (two of those in Finland). There are also a few profiles (later on) for Lindberg births in Norway and Denmark. But compared to the names Berg and Lind, Lindberg stands out by being predominantly Swedish.

The name Berglind also exists, but it is far less common.

And yes, there are a number of unconnected Lindbergs.

Anders Lindberg (1678-)

Anders Nilsson Lindberg (born about 1678) was a smith in Kroppa, Värmland. Smith families were among the earliest to use family names.

Robert Lindberg (1875-1970)

Karl Robert Valentin Lindberg was born in Hammar parish 2 November 1875. His parents were mine worker Anders Gustaf Jansson with wife Anna Gustava Carlsdotter. The family lived first in Berglind, then in Lindäng. In the second half of the 1880s Robert adopted Lindberg as a surname. He is in a later book as Karl Robert Valentin (Jansson) Lindberg. He emigrated with his wife and children in 1902 and was known as Robert Lindberg in Canada.

Considering where they lived, it is not surprising that Robert (and many of his siblings) adopted a Lind- name.


The most common one-part nature based surname in Sweden 2014 was Berg, with 21 600 carriers. In Folkräkningar 1880 there are 4513 persons with the surname Berg, born between 1786 and 1880. There were persons named Berg born in all counties.

There are almost 2400 profiles with LNAB Berg in WikiTree. However, Berg is a common name in Germany and the whole Scandinavia, so they don't just come from Sweden.

Anders Berg (1679-1751)

Anders Berg was a provost. He will have had the name Berg as a soldier name - his children did not inherit it.

Samuel Eriksson Berg (1684-1729)

Samuel Eriksson Berg was a hammersmith in Ramnäs parish. His descendants used the surname Berg for several generations.

Per Andersson Berg (1684-1737)

Petter Berg was a cavalry soldier. He was probably assigned the name Berg as a soldier name. However, in his case his descendants continued using Berg as a surname, perhaps because (like many cavalry soldiers) he was able to buy into the farm and take over the responsibility for the upkeep of a soldier.


Lind, with 21 600 carriers in 2014, comes after Berg among the one-part nature based surnames. In Folkräkningar 1880 we find 2960 persons with the surname Lind. For some reason Östergötland beats Stockholm with a hair's breadth.

In WikiTree there are about 820 profiles for people with the LNAB Lind. From these we can see that, like Berg, Lind is a generally North European surname.

Gertrud Johansdotter Lind (1675-1749)

Gertrud Johansdotter Lind was the daughter of a smith and married to a smith. As was the custom at the time, she was known by the name of her birth family throughout her life.

Helena Lind (1701-1740)

Helena Lind was the daughter of a chamois maker in Arboga town and married sheriff Lars Jernbäck, stationed in Skinnskatteberg. So she belonged to a social class which was early in adopting Family names.

What else?

There are also composite surnames with one part from nature and another part from a place name.


  1. De naturliga efternamnen at SCB (National Bureau of Statistics)

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Categories: Swedish Names