Friday, April 17, 2015
O is for Olaf
Olaf comes from the Old Norse name Aleifr meaning "ancestor's descendent" and is a popular name in both Norway and Sweden. It is the name of kings (5 kings of Norway) and saints (Saints Olaf I and II). Unlike many other given names, Olaf is found mainly in Scandinavian countries. Variants for Olaf include Olav, Oluf, Ola, and Ole. Interestingly, where Olaf (in variant form) appears in Ireland and Scotland, it takes it spelling from the Old Norse - Amhlaoibh (Irish) and Amhlaidh or Aulay (Scottish). To learn more about the name Olaf check out Behind the Name. My family file has 2 males named Olaf (both Swedish), 6 named Ola (Norwegian), and 7 named Ole (6 Norwegian and 1 American).
To learn more about Olaf II (Olafr Haraldsson, known as Olfa the Stout during his kingship (1016-1030) and Olaf the Holy after he was canonized) check out the Wikipedia article. St. Olaf College, located in Minnesota, was founded in 1874 by a group of Norwegian-American immigrant pastors and farmers and named for Olaf II. St. Olaf College has an excellent Scandinavian program and maintains impressive special collections of Norwegian historical materials gathered from Norway and the United States.
See you back here tomorrow for the letter P.