Iceland Mag

1 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Ask the Expert

Do Icelanders have family names?

By Sara McMahon

  • Icelandic children in the country side. Most Icelandic surnames follow the old Nordic tradition of patronymic and/or matronymic names. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

Some family names are found in Iceland, most are inherited from parents of foreign origin, while others were adopted.  However, most Icelandic surnames follow the old Nordic tradition of patronymic and/or matronymic names. Children take the given name of their father and/or mother with the suffix “son” in the case of a male and “dóttir” in the case of a female.

Jón has two children, a son and a daugther. Their respective surnames are Jónsson (son of Jón) and Jónsdóttir (daughter of Jón). In some cases children are named after their mother or even both parents. 

Editor's Picks