Anders Silfvergrip anders.silfvergrip at NRM.SE
Tue Jan 31 10:13:30 CST 2006

Dear all,

Here is a small excerpt from the The Linnaean Correspondence webpage at on the topic:

"Carl Linnaeus's paternal grandfather, like most Swedish peasants and
farmers of his times, had no surname and was known, in accordance with
the old Scandinavian name system, as Ingemar Bengtsson, being the son of
Bengt Ingemarsson. When his son, Carl's father, Nils Ingemarsson
(1674-1733), went to the university of Lund, he had to provide himself
with a surname for registration purposes. He invented the name
/Linnaeus/ in allusion to a large and ancient tree of the small leaved
linden (/Tilia cordata/ Miller, /T. Europaea/ L. in part), known in the
Småland dialect as a "linn", which grew on the family property known in
the seventeenth century as Linnegard. Other branches of the family took
the names /Lindelius/ and /Tiliander/ from the same famous tree.
Linnaeus himself referred to this when he described /Tilia/ in 1745 as
being /vastissima in pago Stegaryd Sunnerboae Smolandiae unde Tiliandri
et Linnaei dicti/. The name /Linnaeus/ was thus of Latin form from the
beginning. Linnaeus, having been ennobled in 1761, first took the name
of Carl von Linné in 1762, by which time he had published all of his
most important works."

Hope it clarifies,


Anders M. C. Silfvergrip, PhD, Curator
Department of Vertebrate Zoology, FishBase
Swedish Museum of Natural History
POB 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Tel +46-8-51954114 Fax +46-8-51954212
Cellular +46-705-154054

Jan Bosselaers wrote:
> Dear Taxacomers,
> I once read that at some moment in time the Swedish were obliged to
> choose a family name by the administration. Serious as they are, many of
> them chose a latinised name, which was fashionable at the time. This was
> especially the case among clergymen, like Linnaeus' father. The Dutch,
> by the way, thought the new rules would not last long and behaved quite
> differently, a fact which now leaves them with some of the silliest
> family names on the planet. Many Swedish still have these somewhat
> strange latinised names. For example the well known pop composer Bjorn
> Ulvaeus. If he would once be knighted, he will become Bjorn von Ulvé :-)
> Best wishes,
> Jan
>> Dear Richard E. Petit, dear colleagues,
>> At 14:29 04.01.2006, you wrote:
>>> On another server there has been a discussion about whether to credit
>>> authorship of a taxon to Linnaeus (if described in the 10th ed.) or
>>> to Linné
>>> (if described in the 12th ed.).
>>> Most malacologists now use Linnaeus regardless of date, a position I
>>> have
>>> long adopted.  However, I would like to know how his name is handled in
>>> other fields.
>> As Thomas G. Lammers correctly states, Carl Linnaeus was ennobled (in
>> 1761, but antedated 1757) and took the name Carl von Linné. Since/when
>> he published in Latin, he latinised his first name to Carolus. How to
>> cite him is mostly a matter of taste but could easily grow into a
>> heated argument.  At the time he wrote the 10th edition of Systema
>> Naturae, his name was clearly Carl Linnaeus. After 1761, i.e. when the
>> 12th edition appeared, he called himself Carl von Linné (in Latin
>> Carolus a Linné). In order to avoid citing the same person under two
>> different names, one can, of course, decide only to use one of the two
>> versions exclusively.
>> Historically, in Germany the "ennobled" version is in prevalent use,
>> maybe because Germans found (find?) it so attractive and important to
>> get ennobled. Also in Sweden, at least in Uppsala, the ennobled
>> version is used throughout, possibly because the Swedes are so proud
>> of Linnaeus in general and perhaps likewise of his ennoblement.
>> Nevertheless, I prefer the form "Linnaeus", for two reasons: (1) this
>> is his original name, and he wrote the majority of nomenclatural works
>> under this name (if we put aside the antedating of his ennoblement),
>> and (2) in most parts of the world outside Germany and Sweden and in
>> most taxonomic sources - as far as I see - this form is used.
>>                                 Best regards
>>                                   Michael
>> *****************************************************************
>> * Prof.Dr. Michael Schmitt (Zoologischer Anzeiger, Editor-in-   *
>> * Chief; Bonner zoologische Beitraege, Editor-in-Chief)         *
>> * Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig                *
>> * Adenauerallee 160, D-53113 Bonn, Germany                      *
>> * Phone/Fax: +49 228-9122 286, e-mail: m.schmitt at    *
>> *           *
>> *****************************************************************
> --
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dr. Jan Bosselaers
> "Dochterland", R. novarumlaan 2
> B-2340 Beerse, Belgium               tel / fax 32-14-615896
> home: dochterland at  /  hortipes at
> work: jbossela at
> web: or
> "You know I used to lose my mind, but now I'm old, now I'm free...
> I see waves break in foams on my horizons, I'm shining..." The
> Chemical Brothers

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