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Finnish Name Generator

Struggling with a script or a story? Need to name your Finnish character and unsure how to go about it? Our Finnish name generator is here to help!

About Finnish Names

Traditions in Finland are split along an east–west border, between Russia on the east and Swedish territory on the west, and it has often been the case with names. Thanks to this, there are three separate traditions for surnames in Finnish – those of the East Finnish, those of the West Finnish, and those that hail from the Swedish (usually the nobility or the military). Some of these date back centuries – like the East Finnish system, which originated in the thirteenth century, when agrarian farmers were regularly forced to move and thus required to have surnames (these names were eventually made hereditary in the sixteenth century).

East Finnish names would usually be created from the first names of the patriarchs of the family, while West Finnish names would be based on the family's association with a certain area, farm or homestead, meaning that the surname would change whenever the family had to move. This place-based system also entered the East Finnish tradition in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but the Western European tradition of 'First Name, Surname' began to gain more of a foothold. This increased after 1921 when surnames became compulsory for all Finns, and if there was no fixed surname for the family, the name of their current homestead were chosen. Because this new surname would apply to all inhabitants of the homestead or farm, even farmhands and other non-family workers, not everyone with the same surname were guaranteed to be genetically related.

This was all made even more complicated by the Swedish tradition, where Swedish-speaking members of the upper and middle classes would adopt Swedish and German surnames for themselves. This would often happen when they attained positions of status in Finnish society, and they would abandon their previous Finnish name in order to create a new one. This would especially happen in the military, where enlisted soldiers would be forced to adopt Swedish or German surnames whether they liked it or not.

In today's Finland, names follow a structure similar to the German model, and every person is legally obliged to have a first and last name, and couple who get married can choose either of their surnames as their new family name (or they can choose to combine both into a double-barrelled name). Finns can change their name once without any specific reason, but it must be to a specifically Finnish name, and the name can't be currently being used by any person resident in Finland (although there are religious exceptions to this rule). Finnish names are often based on the natural world, and the three most popular current Finnish names are 'Korhonen' (from 'korho', meaning deaf or proud), 'Virtanen' (from 'virta', meaning stream), and 'Mäkinen' (from 'mäki', meaning hill).