Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)

Icelandic Surnames

Modern Icelanders still use the Old Norse patronymic system: a form of their father's given name ending in '-sson' or '-sonur' for a son and -dattir or -dottir for a daughter. The telephone book is arranged by first names and they are always used, even on formal occasions.

In some cases, a family name can be inherited (usually dating from the period of Danish rule) but it is not legal to invent a new one. Recently, the naming laws have been changed to allow the mother's name, or those of both parents, to be used. A woman does not take her husband's name on marriage. There was also a rule that only historically correct names could be used but this has been relaxed recently.

Arnardottir FinnbogadÙ ttir Flosadottir
Fridleifsdottir Gudmunsson Hafthorsson
Hauksson Helgarson Hermannsson
JÙ nsson Magnusson Sigurbjornsson
Stefansson Vigfusson  

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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