A primer on Swedish names


Though Sweden doesn’t have a list of approved names like Iceland, Hungary, or Portugal, all names nevertheless must be approved. Names considered offensive, liable to cause discomfort, or ridiculous won’t be approved. Parents have three months to submit names. This law also applies to adults wanting to change their own names.

Some people have submitted blatantly ridiculous names in protest, like Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced Albin), though most parents submit socially-acceptable names.

My Polish-born Robleński family finds refuge in Sweden during WWII. First the eight youngest siblings and their then-unofficially adopted sister manage to sneak their way out of their bunker in the woods and onto a ship bound for Sweden, due to the bravery and ingenuity of sixth-born Maria. They’re eventually joined by their four oldest siblings.

Magdalena Brandt, the oldest daughter of Sparky (Katherine) Brandt and Lazarus von Hinderburg, also marries a very liberal Swede, Zeevie Peterson, who loves to goad Magdalena’s religious fanatic cousin Joshua. Zeevie starts a New Age synagogue, B’nei v’Batei Ha’Olam (Sons and Daughters of the World).


Swedish uses the Roman alphabet, with the addition of Å, Ä, and Ö. Unlike Danish and Norwegian, Swedish doesn’t use Ø or Æ. In the modern era, Q, W, and Z are rare.


Many Swedish surnames are patronymical, ending in -sson (e.g., Alfredsson, Carlsson, Einarsson, Gunnarsson, Martinsson). In the 15th century, the gentry (nobles and clergy) began using Swedish, Latin, German, and Greek surnames. Latinization of the patronymic (e.g., Petersson to Petri) and birthplaces were very common.

In the 19th century, these traditional patronymics became permanent family names. Wanting to copy the gentry, the bourgeoisie adopted surnames too. These were often Latinized, to pretend they came from high birth and old pedigrees.

Ennobled families were frequently given new surnames. Popular prefixes included Silfver- (silver), Gyllen- (guilded; golden), Ära- (honor), Adler- (German for “eagle”), and Ehren- (German for “honor”).

Soldiers were frequently given surnames fitting their personalities or appearance (e.g., Skarp [sharp], Modig [brave], Rapp [quick, prompt], Snygg [handsome]), or after weapons (e.g., Sköld [shield], Sabel [sabre]). Also common, among both soldiers and the bourgeoisie, were portmanteau ornamental names (e.g., Lindgren [linden branch], Holmberg [island mountain], Sandström [sand stream]).

Until the släktnamnsförordningen (family name regulation act) of 1901, patronymics were still more widely used in place of any surnames.

Middle names and other issues:

It’s fairly common for Swedes to go by a middle name instead of the forename. When the full name is written out, the name one goes by is indicated by italics, all caps, an asterisk, or underlining.

Sample names:


Alexander (Sander)
Alvar (Elf warrior)
Ansgar (God’s spear)
Arthur, Artur
Arvid (Eagle tree)
Asbjörn, Esbjörn (Bear god)
Axel (Acke)

Bengt (Benedict)
Bernhard, Bernt
Bertil (Bertolt)
Birger, Börje (Help, save, rescue)
Björn (Björne) (Bear)

Dag (Day)
Daniel (Danne)

Egil (Awe, terror)
Eilert (Hardy edge of a sword)
Einar (Warrior alone; one warrior)
Elias, Elis (Elijah)
Elof, Elov (Always a descendant)
Erland (Foreigner)
Erling (Descendant of the jarl [chieftain])

Filip, Philip
Finn (Person from Finland)
Frej (Lord)
Fridtjof, Fritjof (Thief of peace; always loved this name!)

Gösta, Gustaf, Gustav
Gottfrid (Peace of God)
Gudmund (God’s protection)
Gunnar (Günther) (War warrior)

Håkon (High son)
Halvar (Rock guardian)
Helge (Holy, blessed)
Hemming (Shape)
Henrik (Henning)
Hjalmar (Helmeted warrior)
Holger (Spear island)

Ingemar, Ingmar (Inge)
Ingolf (Inge)
Ingvar (Inge)
Ivar (Bow warrior)

Jarl (Chieftain)
Joakim (Kim)
Johannes, Jan, Johan, Jon (Hannes, Hans, Hasse, Hampus, Janne)

Kai, Kaj
Kåre (Curly, curved)
Karl, Carl (Kalle)
Kasper, Casper
Kettil, Kjell (Kettle, cauldron)
Knut (Knot)
Krister, Christer

Lars, Lasse, Lorens (Lawrence)
Leif (Heir, descendant)
Lennart (Lelle) (Leonard)
Loke (Modern form of Loki)
Ludvig, Love (Ludde)

Mark, Markus
Mårten, Martin
Mathias, Mattias, Matthias
Maximilian (Max)
Melker (Melchior)

Niklas, Nils (Klas)
Njord (Strong, vigorous)
Noak (Noah)

Olov, Olof (Olle, Ola) (Ancestor’s descendant)
Orvar (Arrow)

Pål, Paul
Per, Peer, Peder, Pehr, Peter, Petter (Pelle)

Ragnar (Army’s advice)
Ragnvald (Ruler’s advice)
Rasmus (Belovèd)
Rolf (Roffe)
Rune (Secret lore)

Sigfrid (Sigge) (Victory and peace)
Sigmund (Sigge) (Victory protector)
Sigvard, Sigurd (Sigge) (Guardian of victory)
Sixten (Victory stone)
Sören, Severin
Stefan, Staffan
Sten (Stone)
Stig (Path)
Sture (To be contrary)
Sven (Boy)

Teodor, Theodor
Thor, Tor, Thore, Tore, Ture (Thunder)
Tomas, Thomas
Torbjörn, Thorbjörn (Thor’s bear)
Torgny (Thor’s noise)
Torkel (Thor’s cauldron)
Torsten, Thorsten (Thor’s stone)
Torvald, Thorvald (Thor’s ruler)
Truls (Thor’s shaft)
Tryggve, Trygve (Trustworthy)
Tyko (Hitting the mark)

Ulf (Wolf)
Ulrik (Prosperity and power)
Vidar (Wide warrior)
Vilhelm (Ville)
Vilmar (Famous desire)


Agda, Agata
Aina (Means “the only one” and “always” in Finnish)
Alexandra (Sassa, Sandra)
Alfhild (Elf battle)
Alva (Elf)
Anna (Annika)
Aslög (God’s betrothed woman)
Astrid (Asta, Sassa)

Beata (Blessed)
Bengta (Benedicta)
Birgit, Birgitta, Berit (Brita, Britt, Britta, Gittan)
Bodil (Battle remedy)

Cecilia (Cilla)
Charlotte (Lotte, Lotta, Lottie)
Dagmar (Day maid)
Dagny (New day)
Dorotea, Dorothea (Tea, Thea)

Edit (Edith)
Eira (Mercy)
Eleonora, Eleonor (Ella, Nora)
Elin, Elina, Helena, Helene (Ella, Lena, Lina)
Elisabet (Elise, Ella, Elsa, Lis, Lisa, Lise, Lisbet)
Embla (Elm)
Emelie, Emilia, Emilie, Emma (Milly)
Erna (Brisk, vigourous, hale)

Fredrika (Rika)
Freja (Lady)
Frida (Peace)

Gerd, Gerda (Enclosure)
Gry (Dawn)
Gudrun (Gull) (God’s secret lore)
Gunborg (War of rescue)
Gunhild, Gunilla, Gunnel (War battle)
Gunvor (Cautious in war)

Hanna, Hanne
Hedvig (Hedda) (Battle combat)
Helga, Hella (Holy, blessed)
Henrika, Henrike (Rika)
Hilda (Battle)
Hildegard (Battle enclosure)
Hillevi (Happy war)
Hjördis (Sword goddess)
Hulda (Ulla) (Hiding, secrecy)

Ingeborg (Inga)
Ingegärd (Inga)
Ingrid (Inga)

Janna (Jannicke, Jannike)
Jenny, Jennie
Johanna (Jonna)
Josefina, Josefine

Kamilla (Milla)
Karolina (Lina)
Katarina (Kaja, Kai, Kajsa, Karin, Karina, Katrin, Karita, Katja, Katrina, Ina)
Kerstin, Kjerstin, Kristina, Kristin, Kristine (Kia, Ina, Stina, Tina)

Linnéa (Linn, Nea) (always loved this name!)
Liselotte, Liselott (Lotta, Lotte, Lottie)
Liv (Life)

Magdalena (Lena, Magda, Malin, Malena)
Margareta, Margit, Marit, Merit, Marita (Greta, Märta, Meta, Rita)
Maria (Maja, Mia, My)
Marta, Martha
Matilda, Mathilda (Tilda)
Monika (Mona)

Olivia (Vivi)
Paula, Paulina, Pauline
Petronella (Pernilla)

Ragna (Advice, counsel)
Ragnhild (Ragna) (Battle advice)
Rakel (Rachel)
Randi (Beautiful advice)
Regina (Ina, Gina)
Runa (Secret lore)
Rut, Ruth

Saga (Seeing one)
Sara (Sassa)
Signy, Signe (New victory)
Sigrid (Beautiful victory)
Sigrun (Secret victory)
Siv (Bride)
Sofia (Vivi)
Solveig, Solvig, Sylvi (Sun’s strength)
Susanna, Susanne (Sassa)
Svea (Swede)
Synnöve (Sun gift)

Teresa, Terese, Teresia (Tessan)
Thora (Thunder)
Torborg, Thorborg (Thor’s protection)
Tordis (Thor’s goddess)
Tova, Tove, Tuva
Turid (Beautiful Thor)
Tyra, Thyra (Holy Thor)

Ulrika (Rika, Ulla)
Vilhelmina (Helmi, Mimmi, Minna)
Viveka (Vivi) (War)
Ylva (Wolf)

Zofia Stirs Up Trouble (Zapf Elliptical)


Font: Zapf Elliptical 711 BT

Chapter: “Zofia Stirs Up Trouble”

Book: Newark Love Story

Written: 2007

File format: AppleWorks

Computer created on: 2004 eMac

Last year’s A to Z theme started with Allen and ended with Zofia, so it’s kind of fitting that this year’s theme is also bookended by them. Zofia is such an entitled, delusional, often mean-spirited bitch, like Anastasiya, but that’s part of what makes her so fun to write. I can predict exactly what she’s going to do, say, or think even before she does it.

Zofia is a young Shoah survivor, born in Warsaw in 1931, but that doesn’t give her carte blanche to do whatever she wants. Not everyone who survived was a saint. It would be beyond inaccurate to depict every single survivor as a good, moral, loving person. Zofia certainly didn’t earn her own survival. Her sister Maria saved her ass on more than one occasion.

It’s now February 1952, and the Roblensky siblings have come to Newark for third-born Jozef’s wedding to Svetlana Juric. Svetlana, who survived the brutal Croatian Ustashi camp Jasenovac with her mother and four sisters, was raped a number of times and later slept with a number of the sadistic overlords to save her family from deportation and to get them better rations. Jozef knows she was an innocent victim and did it to protect her loved ones, but Zofia is convinced Svetlana is a whore and is horrified Jozef is marrying her. In the wake of this discovery, Zofia is even more of a troublemaker than usual and acts up so much she’s eventually barred from the wedding.

Some highlights:

“This must be Zofia.” Mrs. Juric took a long hard look at the third-oldest Roblenska sister in her low-cut skintight blue blouse and a skirt coming up well past her knees.

Zofia would have no part in traipsing around a city she didn’t even know.  After fifteen minutes, she whined that her feet were tired and headed back to the empty apartment.  She went into Dalibor’s room, shut the door, picked up the latest issue of Life, and started reading.  An hour later she heard her brother and his fiancée coming into the apartment but didn’t give herself away.  When they went into another room and shut the door, she slipped off her high heels and skulked off to listen in at the door.

“Welcome to our family,” Elizabeth gushed. “We’re so glad to be adding another sister, particularly one who might soon be making us aunts and uncles.  And according to Jozek, you’re quite the intellectual.  I love a woman who isn’t afraid to be smart and who likes things like museums, art, and literature.”

“How can you marry this woman, Jozek?” Zofia began crying. “If only our parents knew their second-oldest son would grow up to marry a whore.”

“I listened at the door, Jozef.  You didn’t know I was in the house when you came in.  I’m so ashamed and embarrassed that you want to marry a whore, let alone a whore who willingly copulated with the enemy.”

Jozef slapped her so hard her jaw ached. “First of all, only God has the right to judge.  Second, this woman is going to be my wife and your sister-in-law, so you had better respect her.  Third, you had no right to be eavesdropping on our personal conversation.  I am your older brother and you need to respect me and my future wife.”

“How dare you strike me!” Zofia was in shock from anyone standing up to her with more than words. “And who are you to tell me what to do?  You no longer even live in our house, and you’re only two years my elder!  Hoch mir nicht ken chaynik!”

He slapped her even harder across the other side of her face. “Any more questions, you pathetic inhuman excuse for life?  I swear to God, Mania should’ve left you behind in the bunker!  Get out of this house right now unless you want me to do something even worse to you!”

“Don’t worry, whatever it is, I’ll accept your wife no matter what,” Elizabeth said. “As we all know, I’m not a virgin myself and don’t intend to keep that a secret from my eventual husband.”

“That’s just what she told me,” Maria nodded. “Don’t worry, we’ll accept them as our nieces and nephews.  We won’t have any doubt that Jozef is the father, though Zosia is welcome to live in a land of unreality.”

This afternoon she was dressed even more scandalously, in a mink-edged pink silk blouse showing more than cleavage, green suede heels even higher and spikier than her other pair, red fishnets, heavier makeup, and a black leather skirt well above her fingertips.

“Special as in modest, demure, and classy?  You dress like a prostitute most of the time anyway, so why should tomorrow night be any different?” Jadwiga asked.

Zofia stalked out of the room offended, still wearing her scandalous clothes.  Nobody else in their party would let her in their rooms either, so she resorted to sleeping on a pile of towels in the laundry room, uncaring she was putting clean towels onto the dirty floor.

At 6:30, Zofia was discovered.  She was outraged to be jerked awake by a bunch of angry maids and the hotel manager, who thought she was a prostitute, a thief, or someone who’d tried to be cute by staying overnight without paying.  In her exhausted huff, she gave Samuel’s name.

Samuel was irate when he was called down to the laundry room, before he could even get dressed or say the morning prayers with his little brothers, just to positively identity Zofia.

“Mania really should’ve left you for the Nazis to find and finish off.  I have nothing further to say to you.” Samuel dropped her onto the floor like a limp ragdoll and stalked away. “And don’t be surprised if, when we get home, you’re suddenly asked to move out.”

Halloween Horny Hump Day—Daphne’s Horror


Warning: Not safe for work or appropriate for those under 18!

In honor of Halloween, this week’s Horny Hump Day is a bit of erotic horror. This is from Saga VI (the Nineties) of my handwritten magnum opus Cinnimin, and features one of the numerous grandchildren of the title character on her wedding night. Daphne thought she knew better than everyone and went ahead with her childishly-thought-out plans to marry her high school boyfriend almost right after graduation.

Shortly before the wedding, the ghost of Daphne’s 13-greats-grandma appeared to her and begged her to call off the wedding, but Daphne not only refused, but invoked her wrath and earned herself the first of several curses. A number of funny things happened during the wedding ceremony, but now comes the icing on the cake, the unconsummated marriage Daphne was cursed with.

In comparison to Justine in last week’s snippet, Daphne doesn’t exactly have the same excited, positive attitude towards her would-be lover’s male member! This is particularly ironic because Daphne’s paternal grandma Kit is a notoriously sexual woman, who made her sexual debut at a very precocious age and is still a vixen now in her sixties (albeit only with her husband these days). Kit did try to warn Daphne that this might happen.


Daphne let out a blood-curdling scream at the sight of Berus’s erection. She hid her face for a minute, and when she saw that it was still there, she screamed even louder.

“That wasn’t exactly the reaction I was hoping for.”

Six Sentence Sunday—Biting the Bullet


This week’s Six Sentence Sunday takes place right after last week’s. Jozef Roblensky was mulling over whether he should take a chance and ask out his crush Svetlana, even though she’s older than he is. Now he timidly tries to take the bull by the horns.


“If I might be so bold…” he began, his tongue like lead. “I hope I don’t offend you by suggesting this…I know you probably may even laugh at me for thinking this is possible…I know this won’t have much of a chance of being considered…”

“If you’re trying to ask me for a date, your answer is yes,” she smiled. “I was wondering when you would finally get around to it, the way you’ve been hanging over me like a lovesick puppy.”

Six Sentence Sunday—Building Up His Courage


This week’s Six Sentence Sunday comes a few days after last week’s snippet. For the second weekend in a row, 22-year-old Jozef Roblensky has been invited to stay with the Juric family over the Sabbath. He has a big crush on 24-year-old Svetlana, whom he can’t believe isn’t married or even dating at her age. She’s been taking his arm when they’re walking together, going to Orthodox synagogues with him, paying a lot of attention to him, and seemingly gazing at him over the dinner table.

On Saturday afternoon, as they’re walking back to the apartment, he mulls over whether he should finally ask her out.


The next afternoon as they were walking back from services, he decided to press his luck and ask her for a date.  The worst that might happen would be rejection and the humiliation that would come with it, possibly even never being able to show his face among her family again because of the awkwardness.  He was half-expecting to be turned down anyway, but it was at least worth a shot.  And if not, he’d ask her again later, hoping she might change her mind in the future.

Besides, two years wasn’t that big of an age difference, and most people didn’t bat an eye at a man dating or marrying a woman two years his junior.  It seemed wrong and hypocritical to look more warily upon relationships where the woman was the older party, by two years or twenty years, if it was considered so normal and socially acceptable the other way around.