The Swedish surname of NYSTROM was a topographical name for someone who lived by a yew tree, or a nickname for a newcomer to an area. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. The name is also spelt NYS, NYGREN, NYBERG, NYHOLM, NYSTEDT and NIESTROM. 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 Ernest NYS (1851-1920) the Belgium jurist. He was the Professor of international law at Brussels, and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. The Swedes have in recent times combined two words together to manufacture family names to take the place of their common patronymics, terminating in - SON. 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.
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