Finnish Farm Names

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Prior to the 1880's,most people in western and northwestern Finland did not have permanent family names or surnames (like we use them today). Actually, families were not required, by law, to chose a permanent family name until the 1920 surname law. Although, by this time, many families had already chosen a permanent surname. The important thing to understand in finnish genealogy is that it was the places (farms) that had names (and not the people themselves). People were associated with the name of the farm that they were currently living on. Remember it is not accurate to call this a surname, or family name. It is usually referred to as simply a farm name. That's why people are often listed with 2 or more last names in a virkatodistus or similar documents, according to the main farms they lived on during their lives. The most common ending for farm names is "la".

NOTE: Some families in western and northwestern Finland (mainly clergy and upper class) did have family names prior to 1900. These names are almost always Swedish language names. Also, families in eastern Finland have used surnames (always(?) ending in "nen" for centuries.) However, some farm names in western Finland also end in "nen". So you cannot assume that all names ending in "nen" have been used as surnames for centuries. But, if a current Finnish surname does not end in "nen" then it is very likely that it was originally a farm name and was not adopted as a permanent family name until some time after the 1880's.

Farm Names Derived From First Names

The name of a farm naturally evolved from the name that it was referred to by locals. Very often the farm was named according to the first name of the person who established the farm. (or one of it's first few owner's). This was most commonly done by adding "la" to the end of the person's first name. Using the finnish first name Matti as an example, the farm name Mattila, which loosely means "Matti's place", may have been given to a farm established by a man named Matti.

Finnish Church Records were kept in the Swedish language up until the late 19th century. All Finnish given names were translated into their Swedish equivalents for record keeping.

The language spoken at home (and thus the first name used) depends on the specific family & parish. Some parishes were almost 100% Swedish or included Swedish speaking citizens and for them the Swedish names in the church records are valid. Other parishes were entirely Finnish, and you can be almost 100% certain they spoke Finnish at home and used Finnish names (especially if they had Finnish farm names). Some soldiers, and church officials were given Swedish sounding surnames, but most of them still spoke Finnish at home. Even if they knew how to write, they may have used the swedish equivalent to sign their name since this was the norm in those days.

Therefore, you can never be sure of the exact finnish first name that was used at home in everyday conversations, since most swedish equivalent names were used for many different finnish names. However, you can get some idea of what finnish first names were commonly used in that era from farm names that were derived from first names (as explained above). Many of these farm names have now become surnames.

I have included the swedish equivalents most commonly used for each name in brackets after the name. Some names are linked to audio files (.wav) at Kai Nikulainen's "How to Pronounce Finnish Names" website with the proper finnish pronounciation of the name. A list of names derived from female names appears at the bottom of this page.

NOTE: Some the following names were found as surnames on eemeli.net

Please contact me at eyli@shaw.ca if you have any further additions to this list.

Format:
First name in Finnish (Swedish equivalent(s))

Aapo (Abraham)

Aato (?)

Ahti (?)

Alpo(Albin)

Antti (Anders, Andreas)

Aaro, Ari(Adrian, Adrianus)

Arto(Arthur)

Arvi(Arvid)

Eero(Eric)

Eino (from the German Enewald, Einewald, Eginald, Eginold and Einald)

Erkki (Eric)

Esa (Esaias)

Eskeli, Esko (Eskil)

Frans(Frans, Franciscus)

Filppu, Vilppu (Phillip)

Hakuli, Haku (Håkan)

Hannu (Hans, Johannes)

Heikki (Henrik, Hindrich)

Ilmari (Elmer?)

Immo (Immanuel)

Iisakki, Iikka (Isaac)

Iiro (Isaac)

Iivari (?)

Isto (Israel)

Jaakko, Jaska (Jacob)

Jalmar(i)(Hjalmar)

Jouni(Johan)

Juha, Juhani, Juho (Johan)

Jussi, Juuso (Johan, Jöns, Joseph)

Jukka, Jukko (Jacob, Joakim)

Jyrki(Georgius, Jöran) (Russian: Georgi, Jegor, Juri)

Kaapo, Kaappo (Gabriel)

Kaarle, Kaarlo, Kalle, Kalevi (Carl)

Kauko (Gabriel)

Kauppi (Jacob)

Keijo (?)

Knuutti, Nuutti (Knut, Cnut)

Klemetti, Kleemo(Clemet, Clemens)

Kreko, Reko (Gregorius, Grels)

Lauri, Lassi (Lars, Laurent)

Luukas (Lucas)

Manni (Herman, Måns, Magnus)

Markko, Markku, Markus (Marcus)

Martti (Mårten)

Matti (Matts, Mathias)

Maunu, Mauno (Måns, Magnus)

Mikki, Mikko (Michel, Mickel, Michael)

Nikki, Nikko, Niko, Niku, Niilo (Nicolaus, Niclas, Nils)

Nisu (Nisius, Dionysius)

Olli, Olavi, Uoti (Olof, Olav, Olaus)

Paavo, Pauli (Påhl, Pohl, Paul, Pavel)

Pasi (Basilius) (Russian: Vasilij, Vasko) (German: Basil)

Pekka (Pehr, Pähr, Petter)

Pentti (Bengt)

Pertti, Perttu(Bertil, Pehr)

Plosi (Plusius, Ambrosius)

Prusi (Ambrosius, Brusius, Brusi)

Reijo, Reko(Grels, Gregorius)

Reino (Reinholdt)

Risto (Christian, Christopher)

Sameli, Sami, Samuel, Samuli (Samuel)

Sipi, Sippo, Sihvo (Sigfred, Siffred, Siffer)

Simo, Simuna (Simon)

Taave, Taavetti (David)

Tahvo, Tapani, Tapio, Teppo(Stefan)

Terho, Tero (Terentius) (can also be derived from the name Antero)

Timo (Timotheus)

Tofferi (Kristoffer), see Risto

Tommi, Tuomas, Tuomo (Thomas)

Toivo, Topi(as) (Tobias)

Torsti (Torsten)

Ukko (Old Man)

Urpo (Urbanus)

Vesa (Esaias?)

Veijo, Veikko (?)

Vilho (Wilhelm)

Filppu, Vilppu (Phillip)

Väinö, Vänni ()

Yrjänä, Yrjö (Jöran, Göran, Georg)

Äijä (Old Man)

Combination names:

Farm names derived from female names

Akka (Akka means old woman)

Anna, Anni, Anja (Anna)

Aune (Agnes, Agneta)

Elli (Elina, Helena)

Inka (Inga, Ingrid, Ingeborg)

Kaisa (Caisa, Carin, Catharina)

Kerttu (Gertrud)

Kirsti (Christina, Chirstin, Kirstin)

Lotta (Charlotta, Lotta)

Maija, Mari, Maria (Maria)

Martta (Marta, Margeta, Margaretha)

Pirkko (Brigitta)

Rauni (Ragnhild?)

Ritva (Brita)

Sara, Saara (Sarah)

Siiri (Sigrid)

Silja (Cecilia)

Tora (Dorde, Dorothea)

Tiina (Stina, Christina)

Vappu, Valpuri (Walborg, Valborg)

Ämmä (Ämmä means Old Woman)