This Swedish surname of ANDERSSON was originally derived from the Greek Andreas, a name meaning manly. It was the name of the first of Jesus Christ's disciples, which is known in various local forms throughout Christendom. The disciple is the patron saint of Scotland and there is a legend that his relics were brought to Scotland in the 4th century by a certain St. Regulus. He is also the patron saint of Russia. The name was popular in Eastern Europe and in Poland. In the 17th century, so-called 'soldiers' names are found as the earliest kind of hereditary surnames in Sweden. These names were derived from vocabulary words, usually martial-sounding monosyllables such as Rapp (prompt) Rask (bold), or occasionally names of animals and birds. The names were bestowed on soldiers for administrative purposes, and no doubt in some cases derived from pre-existing nicknames. The Swedes have in recent times combined two words together to manufacture family names to take the place of their common patronymics, terminating in BERG (mountain), STROM (stream), ALM (elm), BLAD (leaf), HED (meadow), LUND (grove), SKOG (forest) and WAHL (field), to name but a few. These words are not just any words, but are usually nature words combined for easy pronunciation. This custom has been actively encouraged by the Swedish government and there are some 56,000 combinations of the variants. Most Swedes did not adopt hereditary surnames until late, and the patronymic system was still in use in rural areas until late in the 19th century. In the absence of evidence to the contrary it is thought that people may have adopted their surname from the area in which they lived. A notable member of the name was Daniel ANDERSSON (1888-1920) the Swedish poet and novelist. One of Sweden's foremost writers in his time, he treated religious and metaphysical themes in his novels, like the autobiographical 'De tre hemlosa' (1918), (Three Homeless Ones). His poems about traditional charcoal-burners turned them into national folk-figures. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.