This surname of LAGER is a Swedish ornamental name from the Old Swedish word 'lager' meaning laurel. It is one of the many surnames derived from a word denoting a natural phenomena that were adopted and also used in forming compound surnames in Sweden in the 18th and 19th century. The name has numerous variant spellings which include LAHGER, LAGERMAN, LAGERBACH, (laurel stream) LAGERCRANTZ, (laurel wreath), LAGERFELD, (laurel field), LAGERFORS, (laurel waterfall), and LAGERLOF, (laurel leaf). 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. Most Swedes did not adopt hereditary surnames until a century or more later, 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 Selma Ottilian Lovisa LAGERLOF (1858-1940) the Swedish novelist, the first woman winner of the Nobel prize for literature (1909) and the first woman member of the Swedish Academy (1914). She taught at Landskrona (1885-95) and first sprang to fame with her novel 'Gosta Berlings Saga', based on traditions and legends of her native Varmland. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
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