100 Finnish Last Names with Meanings and History | Kidadl


100 Finnish Last Names with Meanings and History

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The Finnish language itself is a Uralic language, not a Nordic language like the mother tongues of the other Scandinavian countries that surround it. This means that, although there is considerable overlap between Finnish and Nordic languages like Swedish, Finnish is actually closer to languages like Estonian and Latvian (so Old Norse surnames have their own unique origins and conventions compared to Finnish ones).

Therefore, Finnish names often have an Eastern European influence, mixed with Nordic influences. Finland is also a country with a rich history and many of Finnish last names help to tell the story of the nation. The Finnish use the patronymic naming convention, meaning surnames are passed down from the father. Many last names refer to the occupation of the family’s patriarch or the place where they lived.  It's common for Scandinavian countries to use the patronymic naming system, so in this respect, Finnish surnames share similarities with Norse ones.

The interesting thing about Finnish surnames is that they have not changed much over time. Many common Finnish last names have remained the same since medieval times. Some of the most famous Finnish people have last names that go back centuries, like Mika Hakkinen, the racecar driver, or Jarkko Nieminen, the professional tennis players. Finnish is one of the most interesting languages in the world and each surname is rooted in a historic or linguistic tradition.

Here is a look at the oldest, most popular, and most unique Finnish surnames. For more surnames, take a look at these Icelandic surnames or these Viking surnames.

Popular Finnish Last Names

Here are some popular Finnish last names you will commonly find. Some are older and some are more recent, but these are the most popular Finnish names at the moment. Many of these common Finnish surnames follow the patronymic naming system, which means that these names were passed down by the family's patriarch. Other surnames are popular because they refer to a popular place in Finland or refer to a popular job title.

1. Korhonen (Finnish Origin) means “deaf person;” also used to refer to an aloof individual or a clumsy person.

2.    Nieminen (Finnish Origin) means “peninsula”.

3.    Makela (Finnish Origin) a toponymic name that originates from the Finnish word “maki,” meaning “hill".

4.    Hamalainen (Finnish Origin) refers to people from the place name of the region of Hame province within central Finland.

5.    Laine (Finnish Origin) means “ocean wave”.

6.    Heikkinen (Finnish Origin) means "of the ruler of the estate; home-ruler;" probably a child or heir of an individual named Heikki.

7.    Jarvi (Finnish Origin) means “lake;” refers to an individual who lives along the shore of a lake.

8.    Lehtinen (Finnish Origin) means “leaf”.

9.    Saari (Finnish Origin) means “island”.

10. Hanninen (Finnish Origin) means "from the gracious God;" refers to those from a religious leader's family or those from a wealthy background.

11. Halla (Finnish Origin)  means “fallow field; frost”.

12. Seppanen (Finnish Origin) means “smith; blacksmith”.

13. Kivi (Finnish Origin)  means “pebble; stone”.

14. Ranta (Finnish Origin) means “beach; shore”.

15. Nurmi (Finnish Origin) means “field or pasture”.

16. Aalto (Finnish Origin) means “wave”.

17. Peura (Finnish Origin) means “creek; stream”.

18. Vanhanen (Finnish Origin) means “old”.

19. Jokinen (Finnish Origin) means “of the river”.

20. Laakso (Finnish Origin) means “valley;” referring to those living in a valley.

Ancient Finnish Last Names

Although many Finnish surnames are old, some are more ancient than others. The oldest recorded Finnish surnames come from eastern Finland and go back as far as the thirteenth century. Many of these surnames end with the suffixes, -in, -ainen, or -nen. These suffixes denote that the surname refers to the family's place of origin. Finnish surnames have always been patronymic, even in medieval times. So, many of these surnames denote that the family patriarch came from somewhere in Finland.

21. Ahonen (Finnish Origin) means “small glade”.

22. Halonen (Finnish Origin) means "from the hall;" refers to an individual who lived near the town's great hall.

23. Hiltunen, (Finnish Origin) means “of the battle; strife”.

24. Jokinen (Finnish Origin) means “of the river".

25. Kemppainen (Finnish Origin) means “soldier; warrior”.

26. Keranen (Finnish Origin) refers to an individual with a round head; one with a small cropped hair cut.

27. Laitinen (Finnish Origin) derived from the personal name Laiti; also refers to a place name of Lahti in Finland.

28.Leppanen (Finnish Origin) means “alder tree;” refers to an individual living or working at a farmstead by that name or who lives on the border of an alder tree forest.

29. Partanen (Finnish Origin) means “beard”.

30. Toivonen (Finnish Origin) means “hope”.

31. Vanhanen (Finnish Origin) means “old”.

32. Kinnunen (Finnish Origin) means “pelt or hide”.

Unique Finnish Last Names

Wooden map of Europe

These surnames are those that are found in Finland but are not as popularly used.These Finnish surnames are considered unique last names because they originate from words that are less commonly used in Finland and they are names that are less commonly found in Finland today.

33. Anttila (Finnish Origin) derived from the personal name Antti meaning "warrior; man; manly;" an individual who resides at or works at a farm.

34. Couri/Courie (Finnish Origin) refers to one of several place names in France.

35. Heitala (Finnish Origin) means “sand;” refers to an individual residing at or working at a farmstead of the same name usually with a sandy area.

36. Huhta (Finnish Origin) means “glade; forest clearing”.

37. Kyllo (Finnish Origin) means “yes”.

38. Kiimamaa (Finnish Origin) means "land in heat".

39. Patja (Finnish Origin) means “mattress”.

40. Makkara (Finnish Origin) means “sausages”.

41. Kaalinpaa (Finnish Origin) means “cabbage head”.

42. Hikipaa (Finnish Origin) means “sweaty head”.

More Common Finnish Last Names

These Finnish surnames are common in the country; however, they are not among the most popular or the oldest. You will see them often if you visit or live in Finland, but they are not as prominent as some of the other names listed. Every Finnish surname tells its own unique story and this list is no different.

43. Aho (Finnish Origin) means "glade or forest clearing".

44. Annala (Finnish Origin) derived from the personal name Anna, meaning "grace; beautiful; favor".

45. Aro (Finnish Origin) means “hard; somewhat infertile ground; wet meadow”.

46. Autio (Finnish Origin) means “abandoned; an unused field; an abandoned farm”.

47. Elo (Finnish Origin) means “life; harvest; grain”.

48. Eskola (Finnish Origin) means "farmstead"

49. Erkkila (Finnish Origin) derived from the personal name Erkki meaning "eternal ruler;" it also refers to a place name of a farm in Finland.

50. Haapala (Finnish Origin) means “aspen;” refers to an individual residing at or working at a farmstead of the same name.

51. Haataja (Finnish Origin) means “to toil”.

52. Hakala (Finnish Origin)  means “pasture; paddock”.

53. Halko (Finnish Origin) means “piece of wood; split log;” refers to an individual in the occupation of woodcutter.

54. Hannula (Finnish Origin) means "God is gracious;" refers to an individual who lived or worked at a farmstead of the same name.

55. Harju (Finnish Origin) means “a ridge;” refers to an individual who lives on a ridge or on the bank of a river.

56. Hautala (Finnish Origin) means “pit;” an individual living or working at a farmstead with a cooking or charcoal burning pit or a storage pit.

57. Heikkila (Finnish Origin) means "ruler of the estate; home-ruler;"

58. Heino (Finnish Origin) means “hay”.

59. Honkala (Finnish Origin) means “pine tree”.

60. Jarvela (Finnish Origin) means “lake”.

61. Jokela (Finnish Origin) means “river;” refers to an individual who lives along the banks of a river.

62. Jokinen (Finnish Origin) means “of the river".

63. Juntunen (Finnish Origin) means "from the gracious God;" another form of Johannes.

64. Kallio (Finnish Origin) means “rock”.

65. Kangas (Finnish Origin) means “cloth; fabric;” an occupational name for a textile merchant or garment makers.

66. Kantola (Finnish Origin) means “stump”.

67. Kari (Finnish Origin) means “small island; sandbar; stony rapids”.

68. Karjala (Finnish Origin) means “cattle;” an occupational name referring to a cattle herdsmen or cattle farmer.

69. Kaupp (Finnish Origin) means "supplanter;" derived from the personal name Jacob.

70. Keto (Finnish Origin) means “meadow; grassy field”.

71. Kivela (Finnish Origin) means “stone;” of or referring to those living at a stony farmstead.

72. Koivisto (Finnish Origin) means “birch tree;” refers to an individual living along the edge of a birch tree forest.

73. Kokko (Finnish Origin) Kokko has its origin in the Finnish word “kotka,” meaning “eagle”.

74. Korpela (Finnish Origin) means “remote forest”.

75. Koskela (Finnish Origin) means “waterfall; waterway rapids”.

76. Kotila (Finnish Origin) means “home;” referred to the name of a farmstead.

77. Kujala (Finnish Origin) means “alley;” referring to a family living in a farm or home on a country lane or alley.

78. Kumpula (Finnish Origin) means “grassy mound”.

79. Kurtti, (Finnish Origin) means "courteous;" from the personal name Kurt.

80. Kuusisto (Finnish Origin) means “spruce”.

81. Lahti (Finnish Origin) means “cove; bay”.

82. Lampi (Finnish Origin) means “pond”.

83. Lampo (Finnish Origin) means “most splendid”.

84. Lauri (Finnish Origin) means "one who wears a laurel wreath".

85. Lehto (Finnish Origin) means “grove;” referring to an individual who lives along the border of an orchard or grove.

86. Leino (Finnish Origin) means “weak; sad”.

87. Linna (Finnish Origin) Linna is the Finnish word for “castle.” The name may have once been used to denote someone working or living near to a castle.

88. Luoma (Finnish Origin) comes from the Finnish word “luomi,” meaning “mole”. This may have once  been a nickname that has later transformed into a surname.

89. Maijala (Finnish Origin) means Maijala derives from the Finnish word “maja,” meaning “hut “or “cottage".

90. Manner (Finnish Origin) means “mainland” or “continent.”

91. Nikula (Finnish Origin) means "victory of the people".

92. Oja (Finnish Origin) means “ditch”.

93. Peura (Finnish Origin) means “creek; stream”.

94. Rautio (Finnish Origin) means "smith; blacksmith".

95. Rinnie (Finnish Origin) means “hillside; slope”.

96. Ruona (Finnish Origin) means “creek; alluvial land”.

97. Salo (Finnish Origin) means “forested wilderness”.

98. Saska (Germanic Origin) means "Saxon;" from the Germanic people who lived in central and northern Germany during Roman times, this name is now found in Finland.

99. Takala (Finnish Origin) means “rear; back; behind;” used to refer to those residing on a distant farm.

100. Vitta (Finnish Origin) means “forest”.

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Finnish last names then why not take a look at these Greek last names, or for something different these surnames that begin with Z.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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