What is the origin of the last name Gustafson?

The last name Gustafson has its origin in Sweden and is derived from the personal name Gustaf, ultimately derived from the Old Norse name Guðstæf, meaning "staff of God" or "support of God." The addition of the suffix -son indicates "son of Gustaf," signifying descent from an ancestor named Gustaf.

Countries of origin for the last name Gustafson

The last name Gustafson, derived from the Swedish given name Gustaf, is a common patronymic surname. It originated from the Scandinavian tradition of deriving surnames from the names of one’s father or ancestor. In this case, Gustafson signifies “son of Gustaf.”

The given name Gustaf, commonly spelled Gustav, has its roots in the Old Norse name Gudstaf, which consists of the elements “gud” meaning “god” and “staf” meaning “staff” or “support.” The name Gustafson, therefore, carries the connotation of being the son or descendant of someone who is associated with divine or powerful support.

As with most patronymic surnames, the use of Gustafson as a family name became more prevalent during the Middle Ages when hereditary surnames were adopted across Europe. Over time, the “son” suffix was fused with the given name to form a single surname, creating variations like Gustafsson and Gustafsdóttir. Today, Gustafson is a relatively common surname in Sweden and the Swedish diaspora.

The distribution of the surname Gustafson in the United States is primarily attributed to Swedish immigration during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Swedes escaping economic hardships and seeking new opportunities settled in areas such as the Midwest, particularly in states like Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. As a result, these regions have a higher concentration of individuals with the surname Gustafson.

It is worth noting that Gustafson, like many patronymic surnames, has undergone phonetic changes and variations over time. Different regions and individuals may spell and pronounce the name differently. Common alternative spellings include Gustafsen and Gustaveson, reflecting the diverse phonetic interpretations of the original surname.

While researching the Gustafson surname, it is important to acknowledge that individual family histories and genealogical records may provide additional insights and variations. Exploring personal stories and tracing specific Gustafson lineages can uncover unique details and connections that enhance one’s understanding of this surname.

Overall, the last name Gustafson, originating from the Swedish given name Gustaf, embodies a rich history of patronymic naming practices. Its association with divine or powerful support adds depth to its meaning. The widespread use of Gustafson in the United States is a testament to the enduring legacy of Swedish immigration. As with any surname, further exploration and research into individual family histories can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the complexities and unique stories associated with the name Gustafson.

Interesting facts about the last name Gustafson

  • The surname Gustafson is of Swedish origin and is derived from the given name Gustaf, which means “staff of the Goths” or “staff of God” in Old Norse.
  • The Gustafson surname is one of the most common surnames in Sweden, particularly in the southern parts of the country.
  • There are several variations of the Gustafson surname, including Gustafsson, Gustavson, Gustavo, and Gustaffson.
  • The surname Gustafson can also be found in other countries with Swedish immigrant populations, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia.
  • Many notable individuals with the surname Gustafson have made significant contributions in various fields, including art, literature, science, and sports.
  • The Gustafson surname has its roots in the medieval era, and its use as a surname became more common during the 19th century as people started adopting permanent family names.
  • The name Gustafson is often associated with traits such as strength, determination, and leadership, reflecting the historical significance of the given name Gustaf.
  • The Gustafson surname has multiple coat of arms variations, featuring symbols such as lions, crowns, and sheaves of wheat, representing nobility, royalty, and prosperity.
  • Some Gustafsons have traced their ancestry back to prominent historical figures and Swedish noble families, adding to the social and historical significance of the surname.
  • The surname Gustafson continues to be passed down through generations, retaining its cultural and familial importance for individuals of Swedish descent around the world.

Name Rank


There are around 26421 people with the last name Gustafson in the US

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