Viking Names

The Vikings have produced some of the most memorable names in history. From Erik Bloodaxe to Harald Bluetooth, they have provided us with colourful and imaginative names which conjure vivid images of their owners in our heads.

NB: If you have booked with Jude in the Northern Region, Jude will send you a list of authentic names for the children to adopt in advance of the visit.

Viking Family Names

Viking family names were assigned by using the formula:

First Name + Father’s first name + Son (for a boy) or Dottir (for a girl)

So if your name is Jane and your father’s name is Derek, you would be Jane Dereksdottir.
If your name is Magnus and your father’s name is also Magnus, then you would be Magnus Magnusson.

You can also use the mother’s name if the father’s is not known or not preferred. In Viking times the child would not be officially named until the father had sat him/her on his knee and officially claimed the baby as his!

Of course this method does not give you the excitement of the Viking Nickname!

Viking Nicknames

Allowing children to choose a Viking nickname encourages creative use of descriptive language, and is also great fun. Children can use their own first name or choose from a list of authentic first names, and then create a nickname. They can either base this on something about themselves (physical attributes or skills) or go for the most outrageous Viking-themed name they can think of.

So you could end up with anything from Joe Great-Goalie, to Thorgrim Head-Hacker.

You can download our free worksheets for Key Stage 1 or 2 here:
What’s Your Viking Name Worksheet KS1

What’s Your Viking Name Worksheet KS2

For some inspiration, check out this brilliant list of names, compiled by Dave Bonta, author of this blog.


Sources: Grettir’s Saga, tr. Denton Fox and Hermann Palsson (University of Toronto Press, 1974); Njal’s Saga, tr. Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson (Penguin, 1960); Eyrbyggja Saga, tr. Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards (Penguin, 1972); The Sagas of Icelanders, ed. Leifur Eriksson (Penguin, 2000).