Finnish Last Names
If your ancestry includes Finnish, Swedish, or even Scandinavian origins, chances are you may recognize your name on this list. Below are 30 well-known Finnish last names including some of the most popular like “Lehtinen” or “Virtanen.” You will also find some more information and the history of Finnish surnames to give you an idea of how they came to be.
The Origin of Finnish Last Names
When you are researching Finland and its naming history, you will find a wealth of interesting information. First off, Finland wasn’t always an independent country. It had been conquered or a part of several other countries before becoming its own. So it has influences from Russia and Sweden as well as its neighbors like Norway and Denmark.
The way that the Finnish people ended up with their most popular surnames, is by adapting. The first thing you’ll notice is two common suffixes that are often used in Finnish surnames. These are “nen” and “la.” You would typically see the “nen” used as a suffix for a topographic name, such as “Koskinen” which describes someone who lives near a waterfall. A for “la,” it was traditionally used with occupational names and sometimes habitational.
Your surname was usually the same as your father’s. On rare occasions, you would see a child with their mother’s last name or a hyphenated version of the two. The child’s given name was chosen by the parents and there are no real restrictions in place when making your decision. The Finns have adopted the German model for naming and can sometimes have up to four given names.
Image: Helsinki, Finland
Common Finnish Last Names (and Meanings)
- Aalto - A Finnish ornamental name that means “wave.”
- Aho - This Finnish surname means “glade” or “forest clearing.”
- Ahonen - This Finnish family name is a combination of “aho” and the common suffix “nen.”
- Anttila - This is a common farm name in Finland that is a habitational name for someone who lived or worked at a farm.
- Autio - A Finnish topographic name for a farm or field in Finland that had fallen into disuse.
- Hamalainen - A Finnish habitational surname for someone who lives in central Finland in the Hame province, just north of Helsinki.
- Harju - Thie is a topographic name that is derived from the Finnish word that means “ridge.”
- Hanninen - This is a derivative of the German personal name “Johannes.”
- Heikkinen - This is a common Finnish surname that combines the personal name “Heikki” and the suffix “nen.”
- Järvinen - A Finnish topographic surname derived from “Jarvi” which means “lake.”
- Jokela - Finnish habitational name for farmsteads located by the riverside.
- Jokinen - This is a variant of the name “Joki” which means “river” and the suffix “nen.”
- Koskinen - Finnish and Polish surname that is derived from “Koski” which means “waterfall” or “rapids” combined with the suffix “nen.”
- Lahti - A common surname in southwestern Finland that is Finnish for “cove.”
- Lehtinen - This is a common surname where “lehti” means “leaf” and is combined with the often-used suffix “nen.”
- Linna - This is a common farm name that means “castle” or “stony tract of land” in Finnish.
- Kivi - This topographic name means “stone” and was one of the surnames adopted by the Finns with Swedish surnames during the conversion movement in the 19th century.
- Korhonen - A derivative of the Finnish word “kohto” which was used to describe a deaf person, combined with the suffix “nen.”
- Laine - This is a popular Finnish surname that means “wave.”
- Makela - A derived ornamental name where “maki” means “hill” in Finnish and is combined with the suffix “la.”
- Makinen - Similar to “Makela” where “maki” means “hill” and is combined with the suffix “nen.”
- Nieminen - This is a popular Finnish surname that combines “Niemi” which means “small peninsula” combined with the suffix “nen.”
- Nurmi - This was a common Finnish surname that was adopted by foreign people, such as those from Sweden, during the conversion movement in the 19th century. It means “lawn” or “pasture.”
- Oja - This surname means “ditch” in Finnish and is a habitational surname for those who lived on a farm.
- Peura - In Finnish, “Peura” means “deer” or “reindeer.”
- Ranta - This is a Finnish topographic name for someone who lives near a “shore.”
- Saari - This is a topographic name for someone living on or near an island. “Saari” is the Finnish word for “island.”
- Salo - This is a topographic name for someone who lived near a “forested wilderness.”
- Vanhanen - Thie Finnish surname simply means “old.”
- Virtanen - This is one of the most popular Finnish surnames and it refers to the current or flow of a river.
Popular Finnish Last Names on FamilyEducation: Lehtinen, Heikkinen, Karvonen