Fennicization (also finnicization, fennicisation, finnicisation) is the changing of one's personal names from other languages (usually Swedish) into Finnish. During the era of National Romanticism in Finland, many people, especially Fennomans, fennicized their previously Swedish family names.
Some of these people were descended from Finnish-speaking farmers, who had previously changed their Finnish names to Swedish ones after climbing society's ladder. This was an understandable stratagem, as official positions (and even many trades) were only open to those speaking Swedish, and a Finnish name would have been an impediment to success.
In the 18th century, Finnish recruits serving in the Swedish army were given short Swedish surnames such as Törn, Malm and Brun. This was because Swedish officers found Finnish names difficult to pronounce. Some of these names were later fennicized to Törni, Malmi, etc.
A notable event in fennicization was the centenary, in 1906, of the birth of the philosopher and statesman Johan Vilhelm Snellman. Author Johannes Linnankoski encouraged Finns to give up their Swedish names on 12 May, Snellman's birthday. During 1906 and 1907 about 70,000 Finns changed their names.
Notable finnicized names
- Johannes Brofeldt changed his name to Juhani Aho
- Tauno Brännäs to Tauno Palo
- Aleksander Filander to Santeri Alkio
- Georg Zacharias Forsman to Yrjö Sakari Yrjö-Koskinen
- Axel Waldemar Gallén to Akseli Gallen-Kallela
- Kalervo Groundstroem to Kalervo Kurkiala
- Johan Gustaf Hellstén to Juho Kusti Paasikivi
- Erik Nikolai Järnefelt to Eero Järnefelt
- Armas Einar Leopold Lönnbohm to Eino Leino
- Renqvist to Reenpää
- Heikki Rydman to Heikki Ritavuori
- Alexis Stenvall to Aleksis Kivi
- Carl Johan Ståhlberg to Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg
- Sukunimien muutokset (List of fennicized names)