View Full Version : Surname Question

Karen Douglas
12-07-04, 18:10
I am working on a short biography of a Swedish Lutheran minister.
His name is the Rev. August Peterson Säter. He was born on January 4, 1855 to Peter and Maria Johanson in Rud Brålanda, Sundals, in the district of Elfsborg, Sweden. He emigrated from Sweden to the U. S. in 1873.

I am trying to figure out why he did not maintain the surname of Johanson and used Säter. Were the Swedes given the same name-change opportunities in Sweden as the Finns in Finland?

Karen Douglas

16-07-04, 21:35
HI Karen,

You mention that there was an opportunity for the Finnish people to change their Surname in Finland. When did this take place and why?

I have always wondered why my grandfather changed his name in 1908 from the finnish surname of Maenpaa to Wiklund , a Swedish sounding name. I know he moved from Kurikka to Korsnas at that time.

17-07-04, 10:19

In the beginning of 1900 we had what we call a "language-war" in Ostrobotnia and especially in that area you mention. Some wanted to change their old swedish surnames to a finnish one, just to point out their finnish roots; some wanted the opposite.
Very often the living place gave associations in changing the surnames. For example, my husbands gm, borned Hinds, lived near a source on a hillside and therefore took the finnish name Lähteenmäki (lähde = source, mäki = hillside).


Karen Douglas
17-07-04, 16:06
Gunnell: Thanks for sharing! I have read and heard about these "language wars." My grandfather changed his name, too, but as the story goes, he allegedly wanted to be more independent and did so following a dispute with his mother!!

Dorothy: I have about 15 Mäenpää's in my family tree. One is Heikki Mäenpää, born in 1821, in Ilmajoki. His father's name was Alexander Ranto - again, another surname change.


18-07-04, 23:29
Thanks Gunnel for the info. I understand that Maenpaa means "the top of the hill". I don't know why my grandfather chose Wiklund / sometimes spelled Viklund. In fact I have recently found out that he was born Maenpaa, my mother never mentioned it.
She was born after he changed his name.

My great grandfather, Jaakko Maenpaa was born in 1853 in Kurikka and married Stina Lisa who was born in Ilmajoki. I don't know who Jaakko's father was. If you think this might be the same family, email me directly and I will make further inquiries to my distant relative in Finland who has shared her info with me.


19-07-04, 01:41
Hi Dorothy,

Just a quick check of HisKi for the names you mentioned. You may be aware that Kurikka records on HisKi end 1852 so you probably would need to order the rippikirjat from the Mormon Church to check for his parents. I did find only 2 Mäenpääs having children from 1845-1852 so one might be the father of Jaakko. See the following:

30.1.1851 2.2.1851 Vähä-Koivisto Tp. Joh. And:s Mäenpää Susanna Mattsdr Matts

15.10.1851 17.10.1851 Ladva Homi Tp.s. Jakob Jakobss Mäenpää Maja Lisa Herm:dr Joh. Jakob

Also checked Ilmajoki and it ends on HisKi at 1851. I checked anyway and found this one, which could be your Stina Lisa. Of course, verification against the rippikirjat would be necessary to be certain. See the following:

3.3.1849 4.3.1849 R.Jouppila Drg Matts Mattsson Greta Johsd:r 25 Stina Lisa

22-07-04, 06:03
Thanks Kevin

I have received some ancestory tables from a distant relative in Finland with the information I required. It t seem that none of the Maenpaas that you found is in my line. Apparently Maenpaa is a very common name and therefore many lines. Karen and I are comparing our info to determine if we have the same ancestors. Thanks for your input.