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Pirjo Mikkonen: The surnames of locally maintained regular soldiers in Finland

The surnames given in past centuries to locally maintained regular soldiers on enrolment may be classified as follows, according to their language and structure. Finnish names include those based on place-names made up of two elements (e.g. Saramäki, Mustanoja) or on old, popular Finnish personal names consisting of two components, bahuvrihi compounds (Kähäräpää 'curly head') or other compound words (Lukumies, -mies 'man'). Finnish soldiers' names could also be based on single-element place-names, with or without a suffix, or on personal names comprising one component, e.g. family names, bynames, etc. (Koivisto, Paljakka, Karhinen, Lauttala, Rastas, Salmi). Thus the Finnish surnames given to soldiers were similar to Finnish place-names and personal names generally. Among the Swedish surnames found, three groups are discernible: two-element names of the same type as names of the nobility and middle classes, such as Rosenfelt, Backman, and Moberg; names comprising a single element with a suffix, often based on classical models, e.g. Nylander, Holmerus, Arckelin, Hilldén, and Baggas; and "typical" soldiers' names (short, non-compound), e.g. Hurtig, Stormhatt, Keisare, Gröön, Alm, Hast.

In every regiment in Finland from the beginning of the eighteenth century some kind of surname was usually recorded for each soldier on enrolment. When the army came under stronger Swedish influence, so did the surnames of its Finnish soldiers, so that by the end of the 1720s Swedish names predominated

in all companies. Around the middle of the eighteenth century two-element soldiers' names of the types found among the nobility and middle classes predominated. By the early 1780s at the latest "typical" soldiers' names accounted for 60-100 per cent of surnames in all the companies studied.

The army lists also provide information on naming practices: a new recruit might inherit his predecessor's army surname; there might be a common element in the names of the new soldier and his predecessor; or a soldier's name might be formed on the basis of a place-name in the local community maintaining and equipping him, or on the basis of a popular personal name.

Around the middle of the nineteenth century, when the system of a locally maintained standing army was once again revived in Finland for the Crimean War, new colour was brought to the stock of soldiers' names as a result of Finnish names being formed corresponding to the "typical" Swedish soldiers' names, e.g. Hyvä ('good'), Ilma ('air'), Ilo ('joy'), Onni ('happiness, luck'), Pulska ('healthy, fat'), Riemu ('rejoicing'), SotaToivo ('hope'), Tuima ('stern'), Tuuli ('wind'). ('war'),


Källa: Studia Anthroponymica Scandinavica : Tidskrift för nordisk personnamnsforskning 1986:4, s. 57-72
© Pirjo Mikkonen

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