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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Historical Tidbit--Viking Names + Blog Tour Stop

Today's blog tour stop is an Interview at These Flying Pages. Hop on over and check it out!

Historical Tidbit

Did you know...

That names with double consonants that sound like two words (i.e. Johansson) have a Viking origin? In the early middle ages, people didn't have surnames. Last  names developed first as titles given to describe people because even them, many first names were common and it became hard to differentiate people.

So people gained descriptive titles based on their deeds (William the Conqueror), physical attributes (Pepin the Short, who incidentally married Agatha the Bigfoot) or unfortunate circumstances (Ethelred the Unready). 

Obviously among more common people, they soon became distinguished by their sires. Bob-Viking who was Johan's son became Bob-Viking Johansson, and so forth. 

So, next time you see a name with a double consonant that might be divided into two words, you can tell the person bearing the name that their last name has Viking origins. They'll either think you're super cool or just really nerdy. It's okay. Sometimes they're one and the same. :D

Incidentally, the History Channel has recently launched it's first scripted show which centers around a group of Vikings venturing into Europe for the first time. If you're a dark ages nut like me, you might enjoy it. Check out the trailer below.

So, do you know anyone with a Viking name? What do you think of the History Channel's new series?


  1. I'm going to have to start paying more attention! My maiden name is unique and more impossible to pronounce than my married name, but it has strong German roots-- our ancestors were money changers. I like this kind of "nerdy" stuff too!

  2. My manly man is really into vikings and I think the double thing is a great little fact. Thank you for sharing- now maybe I can tell him something. :)

  3. I so need to check out that show. I love this type of stuff!

  4. Names have a fascinating origin to me. I'll have to catch that show, since I do love Viking history.