100 Popular Finnish Last Names or Surnames

100 POPULAR FINNISH LAST NAMES OR SURNAMES

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Surnames act like a bridge to connect us with our ancestors and unravel our family’s past. They also serve as an essential part of our identity by adding themselves to our first names. Finnish names are similar to many Scandinavian titles, whereas Finnish family names are rooted in a historical or linguistic tradition. Varying trends for Western Finnish and Eastern Finnish names and diverse rules for Finnish nobility, clergy, and the military make Finland’s most common last names sound more exotic than their Danish or Swedish counterparts. Read on to find interesting information on Finnish last names that give valuable insight into the Finnish naming tradition.

A surname in Finland has either an ethnic, toponymical, patronymic or occupational origin. Many Finnish surnames can be ornamental, adopted, or inherited, while parents usually choose given names. Finnish surnames ending with -nen indicate a place of belonging. Locals adopted many of these names during the 19th century. The Finnish language is a Uralic language, and Finnish last names are part of the Scandinavian name family. Although the other Scandinavian countries follow the Nordic language as their mother tongues, there may be considerable overlap between Swedish, Finnish, Estonian, and Latvian languages. Therefore, Finnish names often have Eastern European and Nordic influences.

As per the Finnish naming convention, surnames are patrilineal in nature or referred to the family occupation or the place where they lived. The Eastern Finnish surname tradition dates way back to the 13th century but was also adopted in the West in the 1800s and became immensely popular. The Eastern Finnish last names were mostly hereditary by the mid-16th century. New names began to emerge as people combined their current living place with a common suffix in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many families chose surnames made of a natural feature with the suffix –nen in the Finnish national romantic period of the 19th century.

As most Finland was an agrarian society until the 20th century, surnames signified belonging to a farm or a homestead where a family lived. Hence, the last name of a person could change every time someone moved to a different farm. Korhonen, Virtanen, Nieminen, Mäkinen, Hämäläinen, Koskinen, Heikkinen and Järvinen are the most common surnames in Finland. In the absence of a personal surname, one could use their homestead title. Since the inhabitants of a homestead would often include family, farmhands, and other workers, different suffixes or prefixes added to the surname gave them an identity of their own.

In Finland, the given first name is followed by a surname, and one can have up to four given names before their last name. The first national act on names in Finland arrived in 1921 when the usage of surnames became “mandatory.” A Finnish woman needed to adopt the last name of her husband after marriage. Moreover, the Swedish-speaking middle and upper classes used German and Swedish surnames, and Latin titles were often reserved for clergy members. This well-researched inventory of Finnish last names will help identify an individual and trace the place of origin and ancestral profession.

100 Finnish Surnames or Family Names With Meanings

A strong surname can grab immediate attention and establish your child’s identity. If you’re a parent looking for a surname that incorporates a special meaning and honors your ancestral heritage, here are some common Finnish last names to choose from:

1. Aalto

 Deriving its name from the Finnish word “Aalto,” Aalto has an ornamental origin and means “wave.”

2. Aho

 “Aho” is an ornamental name meaning a “forest clearing” or “glade.”

3. Ahonen

Derived from the word “Aho” meaning “glade,” Ahonen is a common Finnish last name meaning “small glade.”

4. Annala

This Finnish name “Anna,” meaning grace, beauty, and favor, is combined with the “la” suffix to form the toponymic surname mainly found in Ostrobothnia.

5. Anttila

The habitational surname is a combination of “Antti” with the “la” suffix representing an individual who either works or resides at a farm called Anttila. Antti means “warrior; man; manly.”

6. Aarnio

Aarnio is a common surname that comes from the word “aarniometsä”, meaning a forest that is untouched by humans.

7. Autio

This Finnish surname means “abandoned; an unused field; an abandoned farm.”

8. Couri

This Finnish habitational surname comes from “Courie,” the name of several small places located in France.

9. Elo

Derived from the word “Elo,” meaning “harvest,” “grain,” or “life,” this surname has an ornamental origin.

10. Erkkila

This habitational surname originates from the farm name “Erkkila.”  It also comes from the personal name “Erkki” combined with the “la” suffix.

11. Eskola

Derived from the name of a farmstead, “Eskola,” this surname is formed by combining “Esko” with the “la” suffix.

12. Heitala

This Finnish surname means “sand,” referring to someone residing at or working at a farmstead with a sandy area.

13. Halla

Halla in Scandinavian means ‘heroine’.

14. Heino

This Finnish surname means “hay.”

15. Honkala

This Finnish surname means “pine tree.”

16. Halonen

This Finnish surname means “from the hall,” referring to someone who lived near the town’s great hall.

17. Hiltunen

This Finnish surname means “of the battle; strife.”

18. Hanninen

This Finnish surname means “from the gracious God,” referring to those from a religious leader’s family or those from a prosperous background.

19. Hamalainen

Hamalainen refers to people from the region of Hame province within central Finland.

20. Heikkinen

Heikkinen means “of the ruler of the estate; home-ruler,” referring to a child or heir of a person named Heikki.

21. Halla

This Finnish surname means “fallow field; frost.”

22. Harju

Harju means ‘ridge’ in Finnish.

23. Heino

This Finnish form of the Germanic personal name Heinrich or Henry is an ornamental name derived from heinä ‘hay’.

24. Jarvi

This Finnish surname means “lake,” referring to an individual who lives along the shore of a lake.

25. Justi

Derived from the Latin ‘iustus,’ Justi means ‘rightful, legal, fair, honest, equal, impartial.’

26. Jutila

Derived from the personal name Jut (t)i, Jutila comes from Johannes or John, the local suffix -la.

27. Jokinen

This Finnish surname means “of the river.”

28. Jarvela

This Finnish surname is a combination of Jarvi, meaning “lake” and ‘-la’ suffix.

29. Jokela

This Finnish surname means “river,” referring to an individual who lives along the banks of a river.

30. Juntunen

This Finnish surname means “from the gracious God;” It is a variant of Johannes.

31. Kalas

Kalas comes from the ethnic Turkic people named Kaliz. Kalas means ‘warrior’ in Sudanese.

32. Koivisto

This habitational name comes from koivu ‘birch tree’ combined with the local suffix-sto, meaning ‘birch wood or forest.’

33. Kotila

This habitational name comes from the Finnish Koti for ‘home’ with the locative suffix -la.

34. Kallio

Derived from the Finnish word “kallio,” meaning “rock,” this toponymic surname may have also been ornamental.

35. Keto

Keto means ‘meadow’ or ‘grassy field’ in Finnish. This habitational name refers to someone from a farmstead.

36. Kylio

Derived from the old Finnish personal name Kyllia, Kylla, Kylloi, Kylio is a shortened form of Kyllonen, a combination of Kyll(i)a/Kyllo and common surname suffix –nen.

37. Kangas

Kangas comes from the Finnish word “Kangas,” meaning “fabric” or “cloth.” The occupational name refers to a family of textile merchants or garment manufacturers.

38. Kantola

Derived from the Finnish word “Kanto,” meaning a “stump.”

39. Kari

Derives from the word “Kari,” meaning “sandbar,” “small island,” or “stony rapids,” this surname has a toponymic and ornamental origin.

40. Karjala

Derived from the Finnish word “Karja” meaning, “cattle,” This occupational surname refers to those who have worked as cattle farmers or herdsmen.

41. Kujala

Finnish surname means “alley,” referring to a family living on a farm or home on a country lane or alley.

42. Kangas

Derived from Finnish kangas, meaning ‘pine heath,’ this habitational name refers to someone from a farmstead.

43. Kumpula

This Finnish surname means “grassy mound.”

44. Kurtti

This Finnish surname means “courteous,” which comes from the name Kurt.

45. Kokko

This Finnish surname comes from the Finnish word “Kotka,” meaning “eagle.”

46. Kuusisto

This Finnish surname means “spruce.”

47. Kivela

This Finnish surname means “stone,” referring to those living at a stony farmstead.

48. Kivi

Kivi means ‘stone’ or ‘rock’ in Finnish.

49. Koskinen

This Koskinen means ‘Small rapids.”

50. Korpi

Derived from the Low German word “Korb,” Korpi means “basket.” Korpi is an occupational surname used for a maker or vendor of baskets.

KANERVA

51. Kanerva

Kanerva means ‘heather’ in Finnish.

52. Lehtonen

This Finnish surname means ‘Small grove’ or ‘forest.’

53. Laakso

“Laakso” in Finnish means a “valley,” referring to those who lived in or along a valley.

54. Lahti

Derived from the Finnish word “lahti,” which means a “bay” or a “cove.”

55. Laine

Derived from the Finnish word “laine,” Laine means “ocean wave.”

56. Laitinen

Laitinen derives from “Laiti,” a Germanic personal name combined with the “nen” surname suffix.

57. Leppanen

This Finnish surname means “alder tree,” referring to someone living or working at a farmstead or who lives on an alder tree forest border.

58. Lassila

Lassila comes from the Swedish personal name Lasse or Lassi, which, when combined with the local suffix -la, means ‘Lasse’s place.’

59. Lehtinen

This ornamental name comes from the Finnish lehti ‘leaf,’ combined with surname suffix –nen form Finland’s twelfth most common family name.

60. Lehto

This habitational surname means ‘grove.’

61. Leino

Derived from some medieval Germanic given name, leino means “sad” or ‘weak.’

62. Lepisto

Combined with the locative ending –sto, Lepisto is a Finnish plural for leppa ‘alder tree’.

63. Linna

Derived from the Scandinavian root, Linna means “lime or linden tree.”

64. Luoma

Luomi means ‘creek,’ or ‘small river’.

65. Leppanen

This Finnish surname means “alder tree,” referring to an individual living or working at a farmstead or who lives on the border of an alder tree forest.

66. Latvala

This Finnish name means ‘top’ or ‘source of a river.’ Added with the local suffix -la, this habitational name refers to someone from a farm or village.

67. Lauri

This name of Latin origin means “laurel or sweet bay tree; the symbol of victory.”

68. Makkara

This Finnish surname means “sausages.”

69. Makela

This Finnish surname of toponymic origin comes from the Finnish word “maki,” meaning “hill.”

70. Maijala

Derived from the Finnish word “maja,” this Finnish surname means “hut “or “cottage.”

71. Manni

This Finnish surname comes from the Icelandic name “Manni,” meaning man.

72. Manner

This Finnish surname means “mainland” or “continent.”

73. Maki

Maki in Finnish means “hill.”

74. Nieminen

Nieminen derives from “Niemi,” a Finnish word meaning “peninsula.”

75. Nikula

Nikula comes from the Finnish name Nikku, derived from Nicholas, meaning ‘victory of the people.’

76. Nurmi

It is the Finnish word for “pasture” or “grassland.”

77. Oja

The Finnish word “oja” means a “dike” or a “ditch.”

78. Peura

This Finnish surname means “creek; stream.”

79. Partanen

Partanen was originally a nickname derived from “parta,” meaning “beard” in Finnish.

80. Peura

Derived from “Puro,” Peura is a Finnish word that means “stream” or a “creek.”

81. Patja

This Finnish surname means “mattress.”

82. Pietila

Derived from the Finnish name “Pieti,” Pietila comes from the personal name “Peter.”

83. Ranta

Derived from the Finnish word “ranta” meaning, “shore” or a “beach,” this surname has a toponymic origin.

84. Rautio

This occupational surname means “smith” or blacksmith in Finnish.

85. Rinnie

Derived from the Finnish word “Rinne,” which means “slope” or “hillside,” Rinnie has a toponymic and ornamental origin.

86. Ruona

Derived from “ruona,” meaning “alluvial land” or “creek,” this surname is a diminutive of Ruonala, Ruonakangas, and Ruonakoski.

87. Ruoho

Ruoho means ‘grass’ in Finnish.

88. Saari

Saari in Finnish means “island,” referring to ‘someone who lived on an island.’

89. Seppala

This Finnish surname means “smith; blacksmith.”

90. Saksa

Saksa derives from “Sachs,” a Germanic word meaning “Saxon.” Saksa likely has an ethnic origin referring to the German traders.

91. Salo

This surname comes from the Finnish word “salo,” meaning “forested wilderness.”

92. Seppanen

Seppanen originates from “Seppa,” which means “smith” in Finnish.

93. Toivonen

This Finnish surname means “hope.”

94. Takala

The surname derives from the Finnish word “taka,” meaning “behind,” “back,” or “rear,” indicative of a distant or faraway farm location.

95. Toivonen

Derived from the Finnish word “toivo,” meaning “hope,” Toivonen is an ornamental surname.

96. Tuomala

Tuomala is a combination of the personal name “Tuomas” and the suffix “la.” It is a variation of Thomas meaning ‘twin’ in Hebrew.

97. Vanhanen

Vanhanen derives from “Vanha,” a Finnish word meaning “old.”

98. Vitta

Vitta comes from the Old German word “vitu,” meaning “forest.”

99. Wirta

A variant of Virtanen, Wirta is a Finnish surname that means “river” or “stream.”

100. Wuollet

A variant of Finnish Vuollet, this ornamental surname comes from vuolle, meaning ‘current.’

This list of authentic Finnish surnames attempts to give information on the historical practices and recommended best practices of recording Finnish last names. Some Finnish immigrants to the United States have maintained all or part of their Finnish names to make it easier for their non-Finnish neighbors and associates to identify them. Siblings could have different surnames while others abbreviated their family names. Regardless of the conventions, understanding surnames is important in understanding the genealogy of a particular family and encourages parents to select one for their beloved child.

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