Date: 26 Aug 2008
From: Anders Patric Janson, Gothenburg, Sweden
I am a Swedish Janson, no relation to the 15th century captain.
Structurally the name is a patronymic - it presupposes a man by the
name of Jan who then begat a son. In Sweden this naming custom froze
at some point and patronymics became surnames as we know them. In
Iceland however, this usage is alive and well. They would still say:
Jóhannesson is not what I am called, it's what I am. So their last
names vary from generation to generation as they used to do in the Swedish
countryside, making genealogy harder.
The name Jan is a variant of John as is Johannes, Johan, Jens, Jöns,
Jehan, Jean and maybe Ian. In Holland and Estonia I have noted the
The surname exists in France - there is a famous Paris lycée,
academy, named after the donor Alexandre Janson de Sailly. I think
he probably had a Flemish connection, for the name makes no sense
In Sweden the name is usually spelled Jansson with two s's since it
means Jan's son. My grandfather, Captain Carl Janson dropped an s,
to make it more international, I imagine. Then my father, Captain
Patric Janson continued the practice as do I and my children.
Jansson is not the most common name in Sweden but there are over 52,000,
mostly unrelated for the reasons given above. What we have in common
is that we have all these ancestors called Jan. "Janson" spellers
are some 700.
Anders Patric Janson, Gothenburg, Sweden