Recorded in some forty spellings including the basic Berg, Berge, Borg, Borge, Bergmann, Berger, Berglin, and compounds such as Bergendahl, (hill valley), Berggren (hill branch), Bergqvist (hill twig), Bergstrarn (hill shore), Bergstrom (hill river), and Bergvall (hill slope) this is a Swedish - German surname. It is in its various spellings, widespread throughout Europe. Generally speaking in its basic forms it is topographical from residence by a berg, which can either either a hill or mountain or possibly a prehistoric hill fort or fortified settlement. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Scandanavian 'bjarg,'' or the Old High German 'berg'. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. However as a compound and usually a two element name such as Bergstrand, the origination is abstract. In the 18th century there were so few surnames in Sweden, and nearly all patronymics such as Gustafson or Neilson as examples, that people were encouraged to think up their own forms. These 'new' names were arbitrary and picked from words associated with nature, if not each normally other other. The first recording of the surname in anything like a modern form is probably Henne von dem Berge of Kassel in Germany in 1418, and far from home in England in 1792 we have Adam Bergstrom at the church of St Lukes Finsbury, in the city of London, on October 31st of that year.
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