(Spinoff) What patronymic does an Icelandic foundling have

(Spinoff off this thread)

The project I’m working on right now is a dungeonpunk fantasy novel set in a country that looks a lot like medieval Iceland and Norway and has a plot involving a young cutpurse who’s fostered by a dwarven fence. The narrator’s name is Bjarki Thórinsson. The patronymic is his foster father’s name given to him when he was adopted. He was born in a hospital (in the medieval sense) sent to a nurse and given a first name.

That leads to the question. What patronymic would Bjarki have been given before he was taken into the hospital? Is/was there a generic Icelandic patronymic for a child whose parents are unknown? The fact that he doesn’t have any known relatives is an important plot point.


Linky was noworky, correction.

@Nava: Thanks.

I think in pre-Communist Russia, foundling boys were given the patronymic Abramov (son of Abraham). The same name is given to converts to Judaism – for their Hebrew name, they use Ben Avraham.

Maybe Iceland uses a similar name – Abrahamsson perhaps?

Tangent: “Abramovich” is a generic Russian patronymic? Really?

He likely wouldn’t have had a patronymic name at all. The use of patronymic names among common people didn’t become widespread until after the middle ages. I don’t know about the sagas but if you look at runestones you will see that people are only mentioned by their first name.

Or when you’re trying to distinguish between several Thorfinns–do you mean Thorfinn Erikson or Thorfinn Ivarson?