View Full Version : names: Antii and Anders

10-11-17, 19:52
My Finnish grandfather has his father listed on his marriage certificate in Ohio as Antii Strandman. With the help of others on this website, I have documented Antii Strandman in Finland as Anders Strandman. ( documented through church records).
My question is the name: Is "Antii" a nickname of sorts or short for "Anders?" Is Antii and Anders in Finnish something like Carl and Charlie in English?(my uncle was named Carl but he was known by everyone as Charlie !) Are they interchangeable?
This might seem quite trivial but I have seen both names used even today. Antii is not an unusual name for Finnish males nor is Anders.
Thanks in advance for any comments ! Ed Hartshorn

10-11-17, 21:45
First of all, you means Antti not Antii. Anders is not a nickname of Antti or the other way around (usually), they're translations of one another. You're actually sticking your fingers into a virtual hornets' nest in Finnish genealogy circles. Essentially Anders and Antti are translations of one another between Swedish and Finnish in official records. Priests used to only keep the records in Swedish, so everybody was written down as Anders, Matts, Michel, Henrik, Maria, Helena, Margareta, Walborg, Brita and so on, even if they were known as Antti, Matti, Mikko, Heikki, Maija, Leena, Reetta, Vappu and Riitta in real life. Later, around the turn of the twentieth century priests began translating names into Finnish, also sometimes just randomly across the board, but not always. There is no one-to-one correspondence you can draw between the Finnish names and the Swedish names since this was mostly a random standardization that depended on the priest doing it - not to mention that Finnish names changed a lot between areas.

This has caused two really militant circles in Finnish genealogy:

- Those who "translate" the names. Those who translate the names found in the Swedish documents defend the practice by saying this gets the reader closer to the reality of the lives of the people they've researched, since the Finnish names are most likely closer to what they were called when they were alive. They prepare tables of Finnish and Swedish name correspondences, and will discuss, even with other genealogists, about a "Johan Henriksson" as "Juho Heikinpoika". Some consider not translating the names a disgrace, and a result of Swedish oppression. They also consider it is misleading the reader to not translate the names.

- Those who do not do so, defend their practice by saying that there is no good method for ascertaining what the persons were actually called and add that translating the names for the second time removes the connection to the actual source data that is available. They usually feel that the forms in the documents are in some sense "official". They will mostly refer to persons in the text with their Swedish names, but usually they also standardize the names, such that "Johan Hindricksson", "Johannes Hendersson", "Johan Hinrichsson" and "Johan Henrichsson" all converge to "Johan Henriksson", always. Some cases of this are more questionable for example "Karin Johansdotter" and "Catharina Johansdotter" always leading to "Caisa Johansdotter", but in some regions that is entirely accurate and happens in the records too. They often consider feel that forms like "Juho Heikinpoika" are anachronistic, and distance the researcher from the actual documents and facts of the situation, and feel that the translations are not legitimate.

Long story short, this is a touchy subject for actual Finns. You can find long, passionate flame wars about this on Finnish genealogy sites.

11-11-17, 14:40
I stand corrected. I am embarrassed and humbled that I misspelled the name.
I do appreciate and follow your cogent history of the name issue. Using your outline, it would appear that my grandfather-born in 1886-would have called his father "Antti." Thus, his father likely would have used the same name. Antti's birth in the 1840's then would have been listed in church records based on the Swedish name of Anders. ( full name is Anders Andersson Strandman) The location for both is Viitisari-central Finland.
Lastly, as a rank amateur genealogist, your explanation is important and a valuable addition to my Finnish family background. Thanks, Ed (Strandman) Hartshorn

June Pelo
11-11-17, 14:54
5348This list of Finnish and Swedish male names could help you.

June Pelo
11-11-17, 14:58
oops.. I attached the female list... here's the male names.

11-11-17, 17:50
Thanks June ! I printed both off. My grandmother was Mary to us but listed as Maria on the ship manifest at Ellis Island in 1906. Now I see that was Swedish and I have seen her name as Marja in church records and wondered about that spelling !
This information is of immense help. Ed Hartshorn

11-11-17, 19:32
Thanks June ! I printed both off. My grandmother was Mary to us but listed as Maria on the ship manifest at Ellis Island in 1906. Now I see that was Swedish and I have seen her name as Marja in church records and wondered about that spelling !
This information is of immense help. Ed Hartshorn

Maria is an interesting little cluster of related names. Maria is obviously from the Biblical Virgin Mary (fin. Neitsyt Maria, swe. Jungfru Maria). This was connected to the similar sounding Finnish word marja, berry, and we got Marja. From there we get other derived names like Marjatta, which was even worked into Finnish pagan mythology as a sort of a retelling of the Virgin Mary story. On the Swedish side Maria had a nickname form Maja, which was loaned into Finnish as Maija. Later the influence of English Mary has created the names Mari and Meeri.

Names are always moving around like this, which makes the whole name issue so contentious in Finland, since it is not like we can go and ask.

Also, yes, <j> in Finnish is pronounced /j/ not /dʒ/ as in English. This is often a source of confusion for English speakers. This mostly holds true for Swedish as well, e.g. Jran is /j:.ran/ not **/dʒrən/ or similar.