Friday, June 3, 2016

What's in a name? A dad, a gran or maybe an aunt (Conde Nast Traveller)

When Kjartan Ólafsson applied for an apartment in New York, his application raised a few eyebrows at the co-op board. Ólafsson had just graduated from Harvard Business School and wanted to move to the city with his wife, son and daughter. His financial status was never in doubt—but names on the application raised a few eyebrows.
The application showed Ólafsson’s wife’s last name as Guðmundsdóttir, his son’s as Kjartansson and his daughter’s as Kjartansdóttir. “Here was a woman who had two children with two different men and was now married to a third,” Ólafsson explains the board’s quandary. The confusion was a result of the Icelandic naming convention, whereby the person’s last name is the father’s name suffixed with –sson (‘son of’) or -sdóttir. Thus, the last names in Iceland are not family names but are based on father’s name. As you’d imagine, this often trips the rest of the world and as a result, Icelandic families invite suspicion everywhere, from hotel desks to immigration counters.
(Continue reading on CN's website)


Post a Comment