Germanic personal names:

By Ansuharijaz

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
(William Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet)

This is an adapted version of the article I wrote for the yearbook 2005 of Nederlands Heidendom, besides some additions I have left out the personal opinions to keep this article as objective as possible.

It is unknown when humans started using personal names for eachother for the first time but this is probably already happening since the beginning of language, within the social structure of mentally advanced species it is very important to differentiate between individuals and therefor many of them have developed a way to do that, even the use of language and implementing references to individuals within that language is not purely human because apes and dolphins also seem to use certain sounds to adress specific members of their species.
Although it is of course impossible to say this with certainty the first personal names that people started to use were probably nicknames that pointed to the appearance, the character, or the behaviour of the persons to which they referred.

Just like we still do these days with our pets and within our circle of friends people probably used to give eachother nicknames like tall one, fat one, redhead, etcetera, this way people could discriminate individuals within a group and knew who was being referred to.
To give some examples of this; during my school period there used to be a guy with white hair who was called "Whitehead" because of that, there was also a "Fatty" who was called like that for his body size, "Kaboom" had a large head, and I was called "Tall one" because I'm kind of tall.
The problem of such a system though, is that in larger populations it will be harder to give everybody a unique nickname; when for instance there are ten redhaired people in a community all ten of them will respond to the nickname "Redhead", so eventually the people in such a community will all need a unique personal name to prevent confusion with other people to whom the same nickname could be applicable.

Personal names:
The personal name Saligastiz in mirror runes on the runestone of Berga, Sweden.
A personal name is a specific name that somebody carries for the rest of his life and should preferably be as unique as possible to avoid confusion with namesakes, these days this is reached by a combination of a forename and a surname but our Germanic ancestors used a single name that mostly consisted of two elements, often supplemented with a patronym (more about this later).
Since there were thousands of possible combinations of these elements this often resulted in a highly unique name.
Just like with a nickname every personal name had a meaning and in most cases parents gave their children a name that contained the characteristics they wished their child to have or develop.
These days people often give their child a name that sounds nice to them but to our ancestors the giving of a name also had a spiritual meaning because they believed that the meaning of the chosen name would influence the life of the child; so for instance if they wished their son to become a wise and intelligent man with a large amount of knowledge they called him "Good-Memory" (*Godahugiz) and when they wanted him to have a lot of luck in his life and become a good spearfighter they called him "Lucky-Spear" (*Alugaizaz), our ancestors preferred warlike names for their children with which they wished braveness, weaponskills, fame, and victories upon them.
During the life of a person his or her name could change a few times because a name always referred to the person carrying it, so for instance when someone was known for the fact that he owned many dogs he was eventually given a name like "Dogfriend" because the line between name and nickname was not very clear in that period.

Rules for personal names:
Our ancestors used a number of rules in choosing and combining a name for their child, these rules are listed below and are based on the oldest known Germanic personal names, in later periods these rules were not always abided anymore but originally names were formed according to these formulas:

  • An old Germanic name always consisted of two elements, although some exceptional cases are known of names that consisted of one element of three elements.
  • The first name element could be freely chosen.
  • The second name element had to correspond with the gender of the person carrying the name, so a neuter word could not be used as the second name element.
    In a male name the second name element had to be a male word like *gastiz.
    In a female name the second name element had to be a female word like *hildjo or *gunțjo or it had to have a female suffix like *-injo, female names often ended with an -o though in later periods western-Germanic male names also often ended with an -o, this was probably originally not the case and must be seen as a later regional developement.
  • In a female name the second name element could not be a weapon name, probably because most women didn't carry any weapons (although exceptions of this were found in Anglo-Saxon graves) and therefor it wasn't realistic to name a woman after something she barely used, for this same reason it was probably also possible that a man who was called "Brave-Spear" but always used a sword was eventually renamed into "Brave-Sword".
    It was possible for a woman to have a second name element that had something to do with battle though, like *gunțjo or *hildjo for instance.
  • The second name element could not start with a vowel, in later Germanic names this sometimes did happen because the initial consonant of a word was sometimes left out in a name, examples of this are -ulf instead of *-wulfaz and -ert instead of *-berhtaz.
  • In Proto-Germanic names the first name element lost its -z ending during the combination of both name elements, for instance the words *harjaz and *wulfaz were not combined as *Harjazwulfaz but as *Harjawulfaz.
  • When the last name element had a -ja ending an -i- was integrated, for example a combination of the words *godaz and *warjaz did not become *Godawarjaz but *Godawarijaz (pronounce: GO-dah-wah-ree-jahs), this is known as "Sievers' law", this rule did not apply to the first name element.
  • The two used name elements were not allowed to rime (both beginrime and endrime), so no *Hadahanduz (Ha-ha) or *Godaradaz (da-da).
  • The two used name elements also had to form a meaningful combination, so no *Gaizagaizaz (Spear-spear).
    Apparent contradictory names like the Gothic name Frithugais (*Frițugaizaz="Peace-Spear") were allowed and may have pointed to the contradictory nature of the person carrying the name or perhaps the name consisted of two characteristics that that the parents wanted their child to posess and should we look at them separately.
  • In most cases this rule was probably not necessary in Proto-Germanic names but in later Germanic names letters could sometimes be added or left out to make a name sound better, like Diedrik > Diederik and Rudawolf > Rudolf.
  • It was probably also unusual to choose a name that was already used by someone in the community to prevent confusion.
  • Furthermore I doubt that some of the (often long) Proto-Germanic personal names were fully pronounced in daily life, so the friends of *Harjagastiz may have simply abbreviated his name to "Harigasti" or "Hargast", but this is purely speculative of course.

    It is unknown how early Germanic names were pronounced but it will probably have had the most similarities with modern German, especially Low German in which later High German sound shifts were left out.
    The -z at the end of a name (sometimes also written as -R) was most probably pronounced as an -s sound.
    Furthermore in Germanic language the stress is always on the first syllable, so a name like *Harjagastiz was probably pronounced like HAR-jah-gahs-tees.

    Way of writing:
    Despite the fact that from the early Middle Ages onward Germanic names were increasingly written in the Roman script our ancestors originally used the native runic script to write their names.
    The runic script did not use punctuation marks like capitals, commas, or dots although words were sometimes separated by single, double, or threedouble dots, it could also be written in all directions in normal or mirror writing, the most common way of writing however, was in normal writing from left tot right.
    There were also other ways of writing like the use of bindrunes and every rune also had a magical meaning but I'll not go further into that here.
    Through the centuries our ancestors used different versions of the runic script, the oldest version of the runic script is called the "elder fuțark" after the first letters of this script, just like the modern Roman script (that is of partial Greek origin) is called "alphabet" after the first letters alpha and bèta.
    The runic script was a phonetic script which means that every symbol represented a sound, therefor the oldest runic script did not contain a C because this letter could be pronounced as both S or K, because of that either the rune for the S-sound or the rune for the K-sound was used.
    Below you see the elder fuțark in her right order (FUȚARKGWHNIJÏPZSTBEMLNGOD) with under them the sound and name of the rune.

    The Elder Fuțark

    Belief and rituals around name giving:
    Our ancestors believed in reincarnation and that this happened within the bloodline of the (direct) family in most cases, because of that they believed that the soul of one of their ancestors would reincarnate into the new child they were having, just like they themselves were a reincarnation of one of their ancestors, in this cycle the body (*lika) functioned as a temporary home for the soul (*saiwalo) during its physical life.
    It was also possible to give a specific preference; so if the parents preferred a certain ancestor (for example a much loved great grandfather) to reincarnate into their child they named it after him, that way they invited the soul of this great grandfather to come back into the family via the new child.
    Although the meaning of it is often already forgotten this custom still lives on in many countries, in my family for example it is custom to name the firstborn son Willem, this tradition already existed for centuries when my father decided to be a spoil-sport and named me Frank.
    There were also cases of parents who gave their child a name in which the name elements of their own names were combined, for example Wulfher and Sigrid who name their child Sigwulf, possibly to show that the child is the result of their mutual love.

    When a child was born it was not automatically given a name but because of the spiritual meaning of the name a name-giving ritual was performed first, this ritual was important because the parents officially accepted the child as theirs by giving it a name, from that moment on the child had rights and obligations and was it part of the family and the community.
    The exact rituals of the name-giving are known to us from Old-Norse writings in which it is called "ausa vatni" (pouring of water):
    First the child was washed and clothed after which it was laid on the ground in front of the father, after he had formally accepted it the child was laid in his arms and was hallowed by making the symbol of the hammer above it; this was done by holding a hammer above the child and making an upside-down T (hammer shape) with it by first moving the hammer in a vertical line and then under that moving it in a horizontal line.
    By lack of a hammer of possibly out of safety precautions one could also make a symbolical hammer with the hand for this ritual, this was done by joining the thumb and the ring finger and stretching the other fingers out, some examples of this hammer symbol are mentioned in the Beowulf saga as well as some Old Norse sagas.
    In the heathen religion the hammer was a holy symbol that was associated with the god Thunar (Donar/Thor), also goddesses like Freya and Holda were important because they were seen as the givers of fertility and the protectors of children.
    After the ceremony the child received gifts from family and friends just like we still do these days during the maternity visit, the house of the parents and their child and was probably also decorated by family members and people from the neighbourhood to welcome the child, a custom that still exists in many Saxon areas where the people from the neighbourhood often put a wooden stork, baby clothing, and other decorations in front of the house, at my birth there were also the usual decorations.

    Names for the elite:
    Although a common name consisted of two Germanic name elements there were also certain names and titles that used loanwords from other languages and/or were reserved for special persons; for instance the second name element -reihs, -rik, or -reik was derived from *reikiz (rich, powerful, ruler), a word that was on its turn derived from Celtic "rix" or Latin "rex", this name element was only reserved for kings and other people of high stature because one had to live up to his name, later this rule was increasingly ignored and did the commoners also started using names like Erik (*Ainareikiz) or Dietrich (*Țeudoreikiz).
    Another elitary name element was -wulf, wolf, -ulf, or -olf, which was derived from *wulfaz (wolf), although this name also existed amongst the common folk its heroic sound was especially liked by kings, nobles, warlords, and warriors, since ancient times the wolf was seen as a strong and intelligent animal.
    There have also been finds of runic inscriptions (for example near the Swedish cities of Istaby and Gummarp) in which multiple persons are mentioned who all carried the -wolf element in their name, they may have belonged to the same sib (Germanic version of the Celtic clan) in which every member used the -wolf element to show their kinship, it is even suggested that there is a connection to the Ulfheidr, these were warriors clad in wolfhides who possessed the powers of a wolf in battle, comparable with the Berserkers.

    Also the name element *țeudo (people, folk, tribe, safe, the own group) was often used by the Germanic nobility, the word is probably derived from Proto-Indo-European *teuta (folk, tribe) or from a Celtic word that descends from that.
    Many rulers used the title *țeudanaz (people leader) or had a name that contained the word *țeudo like *Țeudoreikiz (Theodorik, Dietrich, Diederik, Țidrek), the native language was also referred to with the word *Țeudiskon (Folkish); the words Dutch ("Netherlandic" in English), Tysk ("German" in the Scandinavian languages), Deutsch ("German" in German), Duuts ("German/Low German/Low Saxon" in Low Saxon), and Diets ("Netherlandic/Flemish" in Dutch) are derived from this.
    Apart from the language the word *țeudo was also used to refer to the homeland and even until the Middle Ages people often called their homeland Teutschland ("Land of our people"), these days the inhabitants of modern Germany even still call their country "Deutschland" and an old-fashioned word for the Dutch language area is "Dietsland" (Dutchland).
    Another name for the Germanic lands was Germania, which is still visible in the English words "Germans" (Deutschers) and "Germany" (Deutschland) which has unfortunately created a confusion in which our common ancestors are often only associated with the modern Germans.

    A name that also became popular amongst the nobility in the Middle Ages was Chlodwic, Lious, Lodewijk, Ludwig, or Luigi, this name was derived from the famous (and notorious!) Frankish emperor Chlodovech (*Hludawigaz) who spread Christianity with a lot of butchery and force of arms and was therefor very much admired by the pious nobility, until this day this name is still used a lot by royal families and people who like to give their child a noble sounding name.
    Sometimes a name can also change into a title, for instance the titles kaiser (German), keizer (Dutch), Kejser (Danish), keiser (Norwegian), kejsare (Swedish), keisair (Icelandic), and Tsaar (Russian) are all derived from the name of the Roman ruler Julius Caesar, whose name is pronounced in Latin as "Keye-sahr".
    Also the name of Caesars adopted son and heir Augustus ("exalted") became a much used title, even though he himself also got this name much later since his original name was Octavianus ("son of Octavius"), another title used by emperor Augustus was princeps ("first citizen"), from this the title "prince" originates.
    By the way, Germanic legionaries in Roman service were often given the naam Rufus ("redhead") or Flavus ("blonde"), but enough about the Romans.

    Names that denote origin:
    Germanic personal names were also often derived from the tribe where someone belonged to, examples of names that are probably derived from tribal names are Erilaz (Kragehul, Sweden)(Herulians), Fozo (Hitsum, the Netherlands)(Fosians), Harja (Vimose, Denmark)(Harians), Iuțingaz (Reistad, Norway)(Jutes or Juthungi), Nițijo (Illerup, Denmark)(Nidenses), Saligastiz (Berga, Sweden)(Salians), and Swabaharja (Rö, Sweden)(Sueben/Swabians).
    People sometimes also had a name that referred to their birthgrounds, so for instance somebody from the Rhineland could be named "Rhinelander" and foreigners (especially the Celtic neighbours) were often called Walha, Wale, or Weala, which meant something like "stranger", in Scandinavia the name Finn referred to someone of Finnish origin although later this became a fashion name that was also used by the inlanders.

    The transfer from heathen to Christian names:
    In many old Germanic names there were references to gods and other supernatural beings of the heathen religion, for example a name like Alfhild has a connection to the Alfen/Elves (nature sprits) and names like Anselm, Ansgar, and Oskar are connected to the Ansen, the divine family who are also called Asen/Aesir after the Old-Norse version of this name.
    A name could also refer to an individual god; for instance the name Ingeborg is connected to Ingwaz/Frey, Tanneke to Tanfana, and Thorwald to Thunar/Thor, it was probably not considered respectful to use the name of a god directly but using it in a respectful combination with another word was allowed, so choosing a name like "Wodan" was probably considered arrogant or even blasphemous but a name like "Wodanswarrior" was not.

    After the transfer to Christianity the old Germanic names remained in use, even some heathen names survived the Christianization and are still used today, although their original meaning is unknown to most people.
    The Christianization did affect most heathen names though and the use of these names was probably discouraged or prohibited, in Frisia all heathen placenames were even changed to erase all traces of the old native religion.
    From the 12th century onwards (and probably already sporadically in the time before) new Christian names were introduced that were derived from the bible or from saints, these names were especially used by the nobility and the clergy who considered the warlike Germanic names to be not "chic" enough or too heathen, the common folk eventually started taking over these names which has resulted in the current mix of Germanic and Christian names, another reason for this is that the council of Trente obligated the use of Christian forenames around 1545-1563, but this ecclesiastical rule did not succeed long in that.
    Examples of popular Christian names are; Adam, Benjamin, Cornelius, Chris, Christian, Daniel, David, Elias, Elisabeth, Esther, Eva, Hannah, Joanne, John, Jonas, Jonathan, Josef, Judith, Lucas, Matthew, Michel, Michael, Paul, Peter, Ruth, Samuel, Sarah, Simon, Stephan, Susanne, and Thomas.
    Another name giving custom that was introduced by Christianity is the baptismal name, this was originally just the personal name that was given to someone but with the difference that the person received the name during a baptism ritual, from around 1750 onward the baptismal name could also consist of multiple names so for example someone could be named Christian Jonathan Maria, this was then the official baptismal name while the person was simply called Chris in daily life.

    Despite the many Christian names and other names of non-native origin (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Slavic, Celtic, Turkish, Arab, Spanish) the most used names in northwestern Europe are still of Germanic origin, also our descendants in America and Australia still use the old names a lot, although Christian names are becoming increasingly more common, certain Germanic names also fell from grace because of negative associations with persons who carried these names, examples are Vidkun, Oswald, and Adolf.
    Examples of popular Germanic names (from multiple countries) are; Albert, Alfred, Aljo, Alwin, Carl, Charles, Conrad, Dagmar, Edward, Erik, Ewout, Femke, Francois, Frank, Frans, Fred, Frederik, Fredric, Friedrich, Freya, Frida, Frits, Gait, Garrett, Gerald, Gerard, Gerda, Gerhard, Gerrit, Gert, Guillaume, Harold, Hedda, Hedwig, Heinrich, Hendrik, Henry, Herman, Hilda, Ida, Inge, Ingeborg, Karl, Koen, Linda, Liv, Ludwig, Machteld, Marco, Mark, Mathilda, Oscar, Raymond, Reinhart, Reinier, Richard, Rik, Roger, Rogier, Roland, Ronald, Stein, Stijn, Sven, Walter, Wanda, Werner, Wilhelm, Willem, William, Wilma, and Wouter.

    Examples of old Germanic personal names:
    Many of the modern Germanic names are derived from very old names that were probably already in use before the start of this era, unfortunately the original form of these names is often unknown so we have to contend ourselves with Proto-Germanic reconstructions, that are despite their theoretical nature scientifically very well-founded which allows us to say with a large degree of certainty that these names were indeed used in these forms.
    However, there are some old Germanic names known from early runic inscriptions that were found throughout Europe, most of these inscriptions originate from the first centuries AD and are the oldest known written names of our ancestors.
    What now follows is a list of these names.

  • Remember that not everything in this list is with certainty a personal name, some inscriptions can als be nicknames or titles.
  • This list only contains the oldest names from the first centuries AD, names from later periods are left out.
  • Every name is followed by a Proto-Germanic reconstruction that explains the original name and its meaning, an asterisk (*) in front of a word means that it is a reconstruction, this symbol is of course not pronounced.
  • The letter ț is pronounced as a "th".
  • The meaning of a name is an interpretation based on the combination of the two name elements, sometimes however there are multiple interpretations possible.
  • The main source of this list is "Runes Around the North Sea and On the Continent AD 150-700" by Jantina Helena Looijenga.
  • Example of how the names are listed:

    Name (finding place, country) (potential other place where the same name was found, country) 1st name element (meaning) + 2nd name element (meaning) = Proto-Germanic reconstruction of name ("meaning"), possible comments.

    Ado (Gammertingen, Germany) (Letcani, Romania) abbreviation of a name like *Ațalaberhtaz (Adelbert)
    Adujislu (Westeremden, the Netherlands) *audaz (rich, wealth, luck) + *gisalaz (companion, hostage) = *Audagisalaz ("Companion of Wealth")
    Aebi (Schwangau, Germany) meaning unknown, could be derived from *aibo (gau/shire, family)
    Aergunț (Weingarten, Germany) *aizo (honour, gift, respect, confidence) + *gunțjo (battle, fight) = *Aizogunțjo ("Honourful Warrior"), since *gunțjo is a female name element the namebearer is most probably a woman here, this also applies to other female words like for instance *hildjo.
    Agilațruț (Griesheim, Germany) *agilaz (sturdy hair) / *aigilaz/*agjo (edge, sharp, sword) + *țruțiz (power, powerful) = *Aigilațruțiz ("Powerful Sword")
    Aigil (Pforzen, Germany) *agilaz (sturdy hair) / *aigilaz (edge, sharp, sword) ("Sturdyhair" or "Sharpsword"), earlier version of Egill (Old Norse) and Agilo (Old High German)
    Aïlrun (Pforzen, Germany) *aluț (ale, beer, luck) + *runo (rune, secret, hidden) = *Aluruno ("Hidden Luck" of "Beer Rune"), Aigil and Aïlrun are mentioned together on the Pforzen inscription, perhaps there is a link to the legendary Egill and his wife Olrun from the Old Norse sagas.
    Aițalataz (Nydam, Denmark) *aițaz (oath) + *lataz (sayer) = *Aițalataz ("Oathletter"/"Oathsayer" ie. someone who swears or has sworn an oath)
    Akaz (Ćsum, Sweden) *akaz (rider, mover, leader) = *Akaz ("Traveller"?), perhaps the original word in "Aka-Țórr", an Old Norse title of the god Thunar (Țórr) which is often seen as an alternative spelling of "Asa-Țórr".
    Æko (Chessel Down, England), see "Akaz".
    Alagunț (Schretzheim, Germany) *ala (all, everything) + *gunțjo (battle, fight) = *Alagunțjo ("Fights everything")
    Alawin (Skodborghus, Denmark) *ala (all, everything) + *weniz (friend, loved one) = *Alaweniz ("Everybody's friend")
    Alguskați (Fallward, Germany) *algiz (elk) + *skațiz (scathe, damage) / *skațjan (to scathe, to hurt) = *Algiskațiz ("Elk Scather"), this is probably the name of an animal; our ancestors used special hounds for hunting elk, the inscription was found on a wooden stool and was in full "skamella alguskați" (stool for Elkscather)
    Alugod (Værlűse, Denmark) *aluț (ale, beer, luck) + *godaz (good) = *Alugodaz ("Good Luck")
    Aluwaludo (Whitby, England) *aluț (ale, beer, luck) / *ala (all, everything) + *waldo (ruler) / *waldan (to rule) = *Alawaldo ("Allruler"), this name could also be a title.
    Æniwulufu (Folkestone, England) *Aun ("Aun" was the legendary forefather of the Wylfings from East Anglia) + *wulfaz (wolf) = *Auniwulfaz ("Aun's Wolf")
    Arogisl (Schretzheim, Germany) *ara (eagle) + *gisalaz (companion, hostage) = *Aragisalaz ("Eagle Companion"), perhaps the carrier of this name had a tame eagle or maybe his name was a reference to the freedom, hunting skills, or other qualities of the eagle.
    Arwi (Heilbronn-Böckingen, Germany) *arwaz (ripe, mature, ready for harvest), this name is probably an abbreviation.
    Asugisalaz (Kragehul, Denmark) *Ansuz (god, Anse) / *Ansiwez (gods, Ansen) + *gisalaz (companion, hostage) = *Ansugisalaz ("Companion of the Ansen"), NB. the Germanic gods consisted of two families; the Ansen and the Wanen, the more popular word "Asen" is derived from later Old Norse writings but the older and from the perspective of the morphology of wester Germanic languages more correct name is "Ansen".
    Asulaas (Vimose, Denmark) *Ansuz (god, Anse) / *Ansiwez (gods, Ansen) + *lausaz (-less, without) = *Ansulausaz ("Godless", "Ansenless"), this name can be interpreted in multiple ways, for instance the carrier of this name could have been atheistic or someone who was religious but did not worship the Ansen, judging by the finding place (Denmark) and the date of this inscription (2nd-4th century AD) the chance is slim that this person was Christian, but it is a possibility.
    Bidawarijaz (Nűvling, Denmark) *bidaz = (bid, prayer, wish, expectation) + warjaz (warden, warder, protector) = *Bidawarijaz ("Protector of Expectations"), NB. a -ja ending of a word in the second name element always changes into an -ija ending.
    Birgina (Weimar, Germany) *bergaz (berg, burgh, borough, mountain, hight, protection, protector) + *injo (female suffix) = *Berginjo ("Protectress")
    Blițguț (Neudingen-Baar, Germany) *blițaz (happy, mild, jolly) + *gunțjo (battle, fight) = *Blițagunțjo ("Jolly Warrior")
    Erilaz (Kragehul, Denmark) (Lindholm, Zweden) (Eskatorp, Zweden) (Väsby, Zweden) *erlaz (earl, man, hero, member of the tribe of the Herulians) / *erilaz (earl, man, hero, member of the tribe of the Herulians) = *Erilaz ("Heroic One" or "Herulian"), Erilaz was probably also a name for someone from the tribe of the Herulians.
    Fozo (Hitsum, the Netherland) *faso (fringe) / *fason (to search), "Fozo" was the name of the tribe of the Fosians so the carrier of this name was probably a Fosian, it could also mean something like "Searching One".
    Frohila (Darum, Denmark) *fraujaz (lord) / *fraujon (lord, lady) / *frowon (lady) + *ilan (small, little, young) = *Fraujilan ("Little Lord" of "Little Lady")
    Gabar (Schretzheim, Germany) *geban (to give) + *harjaz (army, warrior, battle) = *Gebaharijaz ("Battle Giver"), the name Gabar is an abbreviation.
    Glïaugiz (Nebenstedt, Germany) *glo-an (to glow, to shine) + *-augiz (-eyed) = *Gloaugiz ("Gloweye")
    Godahid (Bezenye/Pallersdorf, Hungary) *godaz (good) + *hildjo (battle) = *Godahildjo ("Good Warrior")
    Habuku (Oostum, the Netherlands) *Habukaz (Hawk)
    Hada (Harlingen, the Netherlands) *hadaz (restrained, calm) = *Hadaz ("Calm One")
    Haeramalausz (Björketorp, Sweden) *herma (rest) + *-lausaz (-less, without) = *Hermalausaz ("Restless One")
    Haeruwulafiz (Istaby, Sweden) *heruz (sword, dagger) + *wulfaz (wolf) = *Heruwulfaz ("Swordwolf"), the better known Old Norse name "Hjorulf" descends from this name.
    Hagiradaz (Garbűlle, Denmark) *hagaz (well-suited, appropriate) + *radaz (counsellor, adviser) = *Hagaradaz ("Suitable Adviser")
    Halețewas (Bergakker, the Netherlands) *hailaz (hail, whole, safe, healthy) + *țewaz (tenant, servant) = *Hailațewaz ("Healthy Servant")
    Hæriboki (Watchfield, England) *harjaz (army, warrior, battle) + *boko (beech tree) = *Harjaboko ("Battlebeech"), "battlebeech" is probably a poetic word (kenning) for "warrior", more examples of such words can be found in the Edda.
    Haribrig (Weimar, Germany) *harjaz (army, warrior, battle) + *bergaz (berg, burgh, borough, mountain, hight, protection, protector) = *Harjabergaz ("Army Protector"), "Haribrig" could also be a temporary shelter for an army, these shelters later became permanent also offered a safe haven to civilians, the German word "herberge" (inn) and the Dutch word "herberg" (inn) are derived from this.
    Hariuha (Raum Kűge, Denmark) *harjaz (army, warrior, battle) + *jungaz (young, boy) = *Harjungaz ("Young Warrior" or "Armyboy")
    Hariwolafz (Stentoften, Sweden) *harjaz (army, warrior, battle) + *wulfaz (wolf) = *Harjawulfaz ("Battlewolf")
    Hariwulafa (Istaby, Sweden) see "Hariwolafz"
    Harja (Vimose, Denmark) *harjaz (army, warrior, battle) = *Harjaz ("Warrior"), "Harja" could also refer to a member of the tribe of the Harians.
    Harkilaz (Nydam, Denmark) *harki (uproar, tumult) + *ilan (small, little, young) = *Harkilan ("Little Squirt" or "Rascal")
    Hațuwolafa (Gummarp, Sweden) *hațuz (fight) + *wulfaz (wolf) = *Hațuwulfaz ("Fightingwolf"), comparable to *Harjawulfaz.
    Hațuwolafz (Stentoften, Sweden) see "Hațuwolafa"
    Hațuwulafz (Istaby, Sweden) see "Hațuwolafa"
    Heramalasaz (Stentoften, Sweden) see "Haeramalausz"
    Hlewagastiz (Gallehus, Denmark) *hlewam (protection) + *gastiz (guest) = *Hlewagastiz ("Protectionguest" or "Guestprotector")
    Ida (Weimar, Germany) (Charnay, France) *idaz (renewal, again) / *idiz (diligent)
    Iuțingaz (Reistad, Norway) this name may refer to a member of the tribe of the Jutes (Denmark) or Juthungi (southern Germany)
    Jisuhildu (Westeremden, the Netherlands) *gisalaz (companion, hostage) + *hildjo (battle) = *Gisalahildjo ("Battle Companion")
    Kunimundiu (Tjürko, Sweden) *kuniz (kin, family, tribe, folk) + *mundiz (protection, hand) = *Kunimundiz ("Kinprotector" or "Protector of the Folk")
    Laguțewa (Illerup, Denmark) *laguz (lake, sea, water, L-rune) + *țewaz (tenant, servant) = *Laguțewaz ("Seaservant"), this name may have belonged to a seafarer.
    Lamo (Udby, Denmark) *lamo (lame one, crippled one)
    Lbi (Neudingen-Baar, Germany) see "Leuba"
    Leob (Weimar, Germany) see "Leuba"
    Lețro (Strćrup, Denmark) *lețram (leather) / *lețriskaz (leathery) = *Lețriskaz ("Leathery One"), this could refer to the "leathery" skin of an old person.
    Leub (Engers, Germany) see "Leuba"
    Leuba (Schretzheim, Germany) *leubaz (loved, loved one, dear)
    Leubwini (Nordendorf, Germany) *leubaz (loved, loved one, dear) + *weniz (friend, loved one) = *Leubaweniz ("Beloved Friend")
    Mawo (Bopfingen, Germany) *mawaz (maiden)
    Nițijo (Illerup, Denmark) *nițjo (niece) / *nițjaz (relative, member of the tribe of the Nidenses)
    Niujil (Darum, Denmark) *neujaz (new) + *ilan (small, little, young) = *Neujilan ("Little New One")
    Niuwila (Skonager, Denmark) see "Niujil"
    Oka (Rasquert, the Netherlands) *okaz (spirit, thought, intelligence)
    Pada (Kent, England) *badwo (battle)
    Rauzwi (Liebenau, Germany) *rauz (tube, poetic name for a spear or sword) + *wihaz (hallowed, holy, holy place) = *Rauzwihaz ("Hallowed Spear")
    Saligastiz (Berga, Sweden) *saliz (room, hall, house, member of the Frankish tribe of the Salians?) + *gastiz (guest) = *Saligastiz ("Hallguest"), the name can also refer to someone from the tribe of the Salians.
    Sigaduz (Svarteborg, Sweden) *siganduz (blessed one, magician)
    Sigibald (Weimar, Germany) *seguz (victory, triumph, success) + *balțaz (bold, powerful, brave) = *Segubalțaz ("Bold Victor")
    Sigimer (Ash Gilton, England) *seguz (victory, triumph, success) + *merjaz (great, famous) = *Segumerjaz ("Famous Victor")
    Sikijaz (Nydam, Denmark) *sikam (slowly streaming water, bog, swamp) + *-ijaz (suffix that denotes descendance) = *Sikijaz ("Bogdweller")
    Sïțæbald (Loveden hill, England) *sințaz (traveller) + *balțaz (bold, powerful, brave) = *Sințabalțaz ("Bold Traveller")
    Sințwagjandin (Schretzheim, Germany) *sințaz (traveller) + *wagjand (mover, traveller) + *injo (female suffix) = *Sințawagjandinjo ("Wandering (female) Traveller")
    Skanomodu (finding place unknown, probably from England or NW-Germany) *skauniz (beautiful) + *modaz (mood, mind, spirit, thought) = *Skaunimodaz ("Beautiful Mind")
    Swabaharja (Rö, Sweden) *Swabaz (member of the tribe of the Suebians) + *harjaz (army, warrior, battle) = *Swabaharijaz ("Swabian Warrior")
    Swarta (Illerup, Denmark) *swartaz (black) = *Swartaz ("Black One" of "Blacky"), this could be the name of an animal or perhaps a nickname for someone with black hair or a dark appearance.
    Tuda (Bernsterburen, the Netherlands) *țeudo (people, folk, tribe, safe, the own group) = *Țeudo ("Man of the People"?)
    Țuruțhild (Friedberg, Germany) *țruțiz (power, powerful) + *hildjo (battle) = *Țruțihildjo ("Powerful Warrior")
    Unwodz (Gćrdlösa, Sweden) *un (un-, in-, not) + *wodaz (rage) = *Unwodaz ("Unrage"), this was probably a name for someone who behaved calm and rational.
    Wagagastiz (Nydam, Denmark) *wagaz (wave, flame) + *gastiz (guest) = *Wagagastiz ("Flameguest")
    Welandu (Schweindorf, Germany) *wila (wile, trick, deception) + *handuz (hand) = *Wilahanduz ("Trickyhand"), later versions of this name are Völundr (Old Norse), Weland (Anglo-Saxon), Wayland (modern English), and Wieland (modern German and Dutch), the name is especially known from the legendary smith of the old Germanic sagas.
    Widuhudaz (Himlingűje, Denmark) *widuz (wood) + *hundaz (hound, dog) = *Widuhundaz ("Woodhound"), "woodhound" is probably also a poetic word for "wolf".
    Wilagaz (Lindholm, Sweden) *wila (wile, trick, deception) + *gastiz (guest) = *Wilagastiz ("Deceptive Guest")
    Wolțuțewaz (Thorsberg, Germany) *wulțuz (wealth, shine, abundance) + *țewaz (tenant, servant) = *Wulțuțewaz ("Abundant Servant")

    Name elements:
    The personal name Hariwolafz on the runestone of Stentoften, Sweden.
    The following name elements were frequently (or incidentally) used in Germanic names, the words in this list are in their original Proto-Germanic form but later variations of them are mentioned between brackets.
    For many people it is possible to find the original meaning of their name by using this list, for instance someone who is called "Edward" can divide his name into the elements "ed" and "ward" and then use this list to find out that ed is derived from *aițaz (oath) and ward from *warjaz (warden, warder, protector), the original version of his name is then *Aițawarijaz ("Oath Protector").
    This list only contains a small number of the huge amount of possible name elements so if you can't reconstruct your name with this list it is advisable to take a look in the list of books and websites.

    (M) male
    (F) female
    (N) neuter
    (-) no gender applicable or gender unknown

    *agilaz (M) = sturdy hair
    *agjo (F) = edge, sharp, sword
    *aibo (F) = gau/shire, family
    *aigilaz (M) (agi, ago, agil, agin) = edge, sharp, sword
    *ainaz (-) (ain, ein, en, e, ei) = one, lonely, alone
    *aițaz (M) (at, eth, ed, et) = oath
    *aizo (F) (eis) = honour, gift, respect, confidence
    *akaz (M) = rider, mover, leader
    *akwesjo (F) = axe
    *ala (-) (al) = all, everything
    *albiz (M) (alb, alf, elf) = Alf, Elf, nature spirit
    *algiz (M) = elk
    *alh (-) = building, house, temple, settlement
    *aluț (N) (alu, ale) = ale, beer, luck
    *Ansiwez (M) (Ans, As, Os) = gods, Ansen (in names *Ansuz was probably used instead)
    *Ansuz (M) (Ans, As, Os) = god, Anse
    *ara (M) (ar, aro) = eagle
    *arwaz (-) = ripe, mature, ready for harvest
    *ațalaz (N) (adal, al, ade) = noble
    *audaz (M) = rich, wealth, luck
    *-augiz (-) = (suffix) -eyed
    *badwaz (M) (badu) = battle
    *badwo (F) (badu) = battle
    *balțaz (-) (bald, bold) = bold, powerful, brave
    *bardon (F) (bard) = axe
    *bergan (-) (berg, borg, burg) = to burrow, to protect, to ensure, to guarantee
    *bergaz (M) (berg, borg, burg) = berg, burgh, borough, mountain, hight, protection, protector
    *berhtaz (-) (bert, brecht) = bright, shine, shining, light
    *beron (M) (bero, ber, bern) = bear, brown one
    *bidaz (F) = bid, prayer, wish, expectation
    *bidjan (-) = to bid, to pray, to wish, to expect
    *biljam (N) = axe, sword, slashing weapon
    *blițaz (-) = happy, mild, jolly
    *bloțam (N) (blod, blut) = blood
    *boko (M) = beech tree
    *brandaz (M) (brand) = brand, fire, sword
    *brunjon (F) (brün, bryn, byrn) = coat of mail, body armour
    *budon (M) (bodo, bod, bad, baud) = bearer, messenger
    *bugiz (M) = bow (weapon)
    *dagaz (M) (dag, dago) = day, D-rune
    *drako (M) = dragon
    *eburaz (M) (eber, ever) = wild boar
    *erilaz (M) = earl, man, hero, member of the tribe of the Herulians
    *erlaz (M) = earl, man, hero, member of the tribe of the Herulians
    *ermanaz (-) (erman, herman, hermen, irmin, irm, arm) = enormous, great, exalted, title of the god Wodan
    *erțo (F) = earth
    *falkon (M) (falko, valko) = falcon
    *felu (-) = much, many
    *Fenni (M) = Finn, Saami/Laplander
    *frankaz (-) (frank) = free, brave
    *frankon (M) (frank) = throwing spear, free person, member of the tribe of the Franks
    *fraujaz (M) = lord
    *fraujon (M) = lord, lady
    *frițuz (M) (frid, fried, fred) = peace, friendship, love
    *frodaz (-) (frod, frode, frodo) = wise, smart, skilled
    *frowon (F) = lady
    *fuglaz (M) = bird
    *fuhsaz (M) = fox
    *fulkam (N) (fulk, folk, volk) = folk
    *funsaz (-) (funs, fons) = prepared, diligent
    *gaizaz (M) (geis, gis, ger) = spear
    *gardaz (M/F?) (gard, garta, gerda) = garden, safe area, private territory, house
    *gastiz (M) (gast) = guest
    *gawjam (N) (gawi, gau) = gau/shire, district, region, group of villages
    *geban (-) = to give
    *gebo (F) (geba, giba, gibo) = gift
    *gisalaz (M) (gisel, gis) = companion, hostage
    *glo-an (-) = to glow, to shine
    *godaz (-) (god) = good
    *grimon (M) (grim, krim, kriem) = mask, helm, protection
    *gudaz (N) (gud, god, got, gott) = god, summoned one
    *gunțjo (F) (gund, gunth, gond, gud, gunn) = battle, fight
    *habukaz (M) (habuk, habu) = hawk
    *hadaz (M) = restrained, calm
    *hagaz (-) = well-suited, appropriate
    *hailaz (-) (hail, heil, hel) = hail, whole, safe, healthy
    *haimaz (M) (haim, heim, hem, em, um) = home, homeland, village, world
    *handuz (F) (hand) = hand
    *harduz (-) (hard, hart, ard, art, erd) = hard, strong, brave
    *harjaz (M) (hari, har, her, er) = army, warrior, battle
    *harjon (-) = destroy, ravage
    *harki (M) = uproar, tumult
    *hațuz (M) (hadu, had, hed) = fight
    *hauhaz (M) = high, hight, high one
    *helmaz (M) (helm, lem) = helm
    *herma (-) = rest
    *heruz (M) = sword, dagger
    *hildjo (F) (hild, hilde) = battle
    *hlewam (N) (lewa) = protection
    *hludaz (-) (hlud, hlod, lud, lode, loth) = loud, famous
    *hrabnaz (M) (raban, ram) = raven
    *hroțaz (M) (hrod, rod, rad, ro, ru) = fame
    *hugiz (M) (hugu, hugo, hug, hu) = memory, spirit, sense, wit
    *hunaz (M) (huna, hun) = Hune (giant, big person), Hun (nomadic people from the east), swollen
    *hundaz (M) (hund, hud) = hound, dog
    *idaz (F) (ida) = renewal, again
    *idiz (F) (ida) = diligent
    *-ijaz (-) = (suffix) suffix that denotes descendance (when it is not part of an existing word with a ja-stem like *harjaz)
    *-ilan (-) = (diminutive suffix) small, little, young (example: *wagnaz = wagon, *wagnilan = small wagon)
    *Ingwaz (M) (Ingwio, Ingo, Inge, Ing) = the god Ingwaz (Frey), NG-rune
    *-injo (-) = (female suffix) (example: *budon = messenger, *budinjo = female messenger)
    *isarnam (N) (isar, isen, is) = iron
    *-iskaz (-) = (suffix) -ish, -like, -ery, -ly (example: *manniskaz = humane, *lețriskaz = leathery)
    *jungaz (-) = young, boy
    *knehtaz (M) = knight, servant, youth
    *kreigaz (M) = war, battle
    *kuniz (M) (kuni, kun, kon, koen) = kin, family, tribe, folk
    *kunjam (N) (kuni, kun, kon, koen) = kin, family, tribe, folk
    *laguz (M) = lake, sea, water, L-rune
    *laibo (F) = residu, inheritance, descendant, heir
    *lamo (M) = lame one, crippled one
    *lațaz (M) = sayer
    *-lausaz (-) = (suffix) -less, without
    *leibam (N) (leib, leip, lieb, lief, lef) = life, body
    *leibaz (M) (leib, leip, lieb, lief, lef) = life, body
    *lendo (F) (linde, lind) = lime tree, shield
    *lețram (N) = leather
    *leubaz (-) (leub, lieb, lief, lif) = loved, loved one, dear
    *leudiz (M) (liud, luit) = folks, people, man, man-money/wergild
    *magaz (M) (magan, mein, men) = member of the sibbe/clan, boy, relative
    *mahtiz (F) (maht, mat, macht, magt) = might, power
    *mahtuz (M) (maht, mat, macht, magt) = might, power
    *marko (F) (mark) = mark, border, signal, Mark/Gaumark (border province)
    *mawaz (F) = maiden
    *merjaz (M) (mer, mar, mir) = great, famous
    *modaz (M) = mood, mind, spirit, thought
    *moțaz (M) (mud, mut, muod) = courage, wrath
    *mundiz (F/M?) (mund) = protection, hand
    *nanțaz (M) (nand, nanna) = brave
    *neujaz (-) = new
    *nițjaz (M) = relative, member of the tribe of the Nidenses
    *nițjo (F) = niece
    *okaz (-) = spirit, thought, intelligence
    *oțalam (N) (odal, udal, odil, ul) = ancestral property, heritage, estate, homeland, O-rune
    *oțilaz (M) (odal, udal, odil, ul) = ancestral property, heritage, estate, homeland, O-rune
    *radaz (M) (rad, raad) = counsellor, adviser
    *raginam (N) (ragin, regin, rag, rain, rein) = council, rulers, the Regin (gods, spirits, and other higher powers)
    *raginaz (M) (ragin, regin, rag, rain, rein) = council, rulers, the Regin (gods, spirits, and other higher powers)
    *randaz (M) (rand, rant) = edge, shield
    *rauz (-) = tube, poetic name for a spear or sword
    *redaz (M) (red, rad, raad, rat) = advice
    *reikiz (-) (reihs, reich, rich, rijk, rik) = rich, powerful, ruler
    *runo (F) (run, rune, runi) = rune, secret, hidden
    *sahsam (N) (sahs, sachs, saks, seax) = seax, knife, sword, member of the tribe of the Saxons
    *saiwaz (M) = sea
    *saliz (M) = room, hall, house, member of the Frankish tribe of the Salians?
    *seguz (M) (sigu, sig, sieg) = victory, triumph, success
    *siganduz (-) = blessed one, magician
    *sikam (N) = slowly streaming water, bog, swamp
    *sințaz (M) (sind, sint) = traveller
    *skațiz (N) = scathe, damage
    *skauniz (-) = beautiful
    *skelduz (M) = shield
    *slangon (M) = snake
    *speru (N) = spear
    *speutaz (M) = spear, lance
    *Swabaz (-) = member of the tribe of the Suebians (Swabians/Schwaben)
    *swanaz (M/F?) = swan
    *swartaz (-) = black
    *swențaz (-) (swinde, swind, suit, wintha, witha) = swift, fast, strong, powerful
    *swerdam (N) = sword
    *Tiwaz (M) (Tiw, Tiu, Ziu, Tyr, Tys) = the god Tiwaz, T-rune
    *țeudo (F) (diet, theod, theud) = people, folk, tribe, safe, the own group
    *țewaz (M) = tenant, servant
    *țruțiz (F) (trude, trud, drude, truida) = power, powerful
    *Țunaraz (M) (Thunar, Donar, Thor) = the god Thunar ("Thunderer")
    *țurisaz (M) (thauris, thuris, thur, tur) = giant, courage, Ț-rune
    *ubilaz (-) = evil, bad
    *un (-) = (prefix) un-, in-, not (example: *unrastja = unrest)
    *uruz (M) = primaeval, aurochs, U-rune
    *wagaz (M) = wave, flame
    *wagjand (M) = mover, traveller
    *wakraz (-) (wakr, akar, aker) = wake, guard, awake, watchful
    *walahaz (M) (walha, wale, weala) = stranger, foreigner, Celt (think about "Wales" and "Walloon")
    *waldo (M) (wald, walt, wold) = ruler
    *walțuz (M) (wald, walt, wold, woud, wout, old, olt) = woods, wilderness, moor
    *warjaz (M) (werian, ward, wart, werner, war, wer) = warden, warder, protector
    *weljon (M) (wel, wili, wil) = will
    *weniz (M) (wine, win, uin, oin) = friend, loved one
    *werraz (M) (wer, war) = war, confusion, unrest
    *widuz (M) (widu, wit) = wood (forest), wood (building material)
    *wigaz (M) (wig) = fighter, warrior
    *wihaz (M) (wih) = hallowed, holy, holy place
    *wila (-) = wile, trick, deception
    *Wodanaz (M) = the god Wodan ("Raging One")
    *wodaz (M) (wod, wut) = rage
    *wulfaz (M) (wulf, wolf, ulf, olf) = wolf
    *wulțuz (M) = wealth, shine, abundance
    *wurmaz (M) = worm, snake
    *wurmiz (M) = worm, snake

    Last names:
    Our ancestors did not use a static hereditary last name (family name) like we do these days but a dynamic last name where someone named him/herself after his or her father (patronym), from later periods there are also examples known of people who named themselves after their mother (matronym) but this was less usual.
    In most cases a last name consisted of the name of the father with the suffix "son" (*sunuz) or "daughter" (*duhter), this name was hardly used in daily life and only served as specification in case there were two people with the same forename.
    For example someone was named *Alafunsaz ("Always Prepared") and his father was named *Hagiradaz ("Suitable Adviser"); Alafunsaz went on a journey and visited an area where someone else was also named Alafunsaz, in such a case Alafunsaz could identify himself as Alafunsaz Hagiradasunuz (Always-Prepared, son of Suitable-Adviser).
    An alternative for the patronym was the combination of someones personal name with his or her nickname, good examples of this are Erik the Red and Harald Bluetooth, also the homeland or city of birth could be used, examples are Gertrudis of Saxony and Siegfried of Xanten (thé Siegfried yes), people also used to name themselves after a famous relative or ancestor, the Ostrogothic royal family of the Amelungen for instance named themselves after their important ancestor Amals, also the name of Dutch princess Amalia is indirectly derived from this.
    The reason why people incidentally chose not to use the patronym was for instance that a son was named after his father who was on his turn also named after his father, and because of that there were then multiple people with the same name and patronym, sometimes people were also named after where they were known from, just like these days we often refer to people as "Tall Martin", "Hank the cripple", or "Erik from the vegetable store".

    Bracteate from Tjürko, Sweden, with on the right side the personal name Kunimu(n)diu in mirror runes.
    The use of a patronym has remained for a long time and is still visible in the current (hereditary) family names, in Great-Britain it has been custom for a long time that someone whose father was named John named himself John's son (Johnson), a name that is still common today as a family name.
    The first ones who abandoned the patronym and took a family name were the nobility and the clergy, in their eyes the patronym was something for common peasants and they believed that a man of standing should had a hereditary name that separated his family from the commoners, since nobles only chose partners from other noble families they could often add the family name of their partner to their own line so that both noble names could be used to show off with, because of this nobles often had extremely long names in which the most important family names and titles from their family tree were represented, through marriage they also often gained extra titles, for example the Dutch queen is fully called "Beatrix Louise Emma Wilhelmina Armgard of Oranje-Nassau, Queen of the Netherlands, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Oranje-Nassau, and Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld", but unfortunately this didn't fit on the coins so we decided to just call the good woman Beatrix.
    Despite the whims of the nobility the common folk still kept using their patronym for a very long time.

    Although the Romans already used a somewhat hereditary name that referred to their family the first hereditary family names like we know them came into use in the Mediterranean area around approximately the 10th century, especially in Italy and particularly in the city of Venice, which was a big and important trading city with many international contacts.
    From Italy the use of family names has probably spread to France where they were used on an increasingly bigger scale around the 11th and 12th century, from France the family name was quickly introduced in England by the Norman nobility there, although the Anglo-Saxon population didn't start using family names on a bigger scale until about the 14th century.
    When in France and England the use of family names had become more common it also started to become more popular in Germany, the surrounding areas quickly followed though the people in Scandinavia still kept using the patronym for a very long time until they were forced by law to choose a hereditary family name in the 18th and 19th century, the stubborn Frisians also kept using their traditional names until that period.
    In the Netherlands most nobles started using family names after the 13th century, though this happened on a small scale (especially in the large cities), only around the 14th and 15th century family names became more widely used amongst the common people, in the Low Countries this trend was first taking place on a large scale in the southern Netherlands, especially Flanders, Brabant, and Limburg, around the 16th and 17th century the Hollandic provinces (western Netherlands) also transferred to the family name and not until the 18th and 19th century Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe (northern Netherlands) started using family names on a large scale.
    In most cases people used their profession for their familyname (Fisher, Carpenter, Smith, Baker), his title or (in most cases) preferred title (Earl, King), his origins (London, Dutch, Norfolk, of Kent, French) or characteristics (Long, Young), many people also chose their patronym (Johnson, Petersen, Everson) as family name which changed it into a static hereditary name that no longer changed with every new generation.

    Christianity also introduced the rule in which a woman automatically received her husband's name upon marriage, amongst our ancestors is was usual that the woman kept her own name and that only their children named themselves after their father, in the Netherlands and many other countries it is now possible again that the woman keeps her family name after mariage when she wishes.
    One of the few places that has escaped the obligatory transfer to family names is Iceland, where it is still custom to name yourself after your father; so the sons of Sigfrid call themselves Sigfridsson there and his daughters call themselves Sigfridsdóttir, it is also allowed there to choose the name of the mother but in practice most Icelanders choose the name of their father.
    This custom already exists there since the settling of the island by the Vikings and when this tradition became threatened in its existence the Alțingi (the Icelandic parliament) took measures and created namelaws in 1925, 1991, and 1997 to protect this tradition by law, the Icelanders cherish their unique culture and try to protect it at all costs.
    The Icelandic laws go even further; people who request the Icelandic nationalty are obligated to abandon their old last name and use a patronym, exceptions to this rule are only made for people with an internationally famous last name like a popstar or other celebrity, because traditions are here to be preserved.

    Like you have read in this article there is more behind a name than what Shakespeare makes us believe with his words "What's in a name?".

    For those who are interested I have made a list of books that contain more information about the treated subject, the books in this list are primarily Dutch but there are also books in English, Frisian, German, and French between them (I originally wrote this article for Dutch readers so that is why there are so many Dutch books in the list).

    "10 moderne en klassieke voornamen", S. Tyberg

    "A Dictionary of First Names", P. Hanks, F. Hodges

    "De naam is... Over namen en naamgeving", W. Daniëls

    "De namen in de Bijbel; betekenis & concordantie", H.B. Slagter

    "De traditie der voornamen. Een populair-wetenschappelijke studie op grond van enquête-materiaal", K. Sierksma

    "De voornamen van nu. Waarom geven ouders hun kind nu juist die naam? ", P. Roorda

    "Die Deutschen Personennamen", A. Bach

    "Die Deutschen Personennamen", W. Fleischer

    "Die Personennamen im Deutschen", W. Seibicke

    "First Names First", L.A. Dunkling

    "Het nieuwste voornamenboek", G van Berkel, M. Deelstra-Boerhof, S. Horjus

    "List fan Fryske foarnammen", Fryske Akademy

    "Naam en recht: praktische beschrijving van het naamrecht in Nederland", E. Loeb

    "Naming and Identity: A Cross-Cultural Study Of Personal Naming Practices", R.D. Alford

    "Nederlandsche doopnamen naar oorsprong en gebruik", J.J. Graaf

    "Onze voornaamste voornamen", D.P. Blok, J. Kampers, C.J. Wagemans

    "Onze Voornamen. Traditie, betekenis, vorm, herkomst, en een uitgebreid namenregister", J.A. Meijers, J.C. Luitingh

    "Uit de wordingsgeschiedenis der Hollandse doop- en familienamen", J. van der Schaar

    "Un prénom pour toujours", P.G. Besnard

    "Voor- en familienamen in Nederland. Geschiedenis, verspreiding, vorm en gebruik", R.A. Ebeling

    "Voornamen. Hoe komen we eraan? Wat doen we ermee? ", A.J. Bernet Kempers

    "Vornamen", W. Seibicke

    "Zogenaamd zogeheten. Voornamen in het dagelijks leven", R. Damstra