This Scandanavian surname can be from Denmark, Norway or Sweden, but is generally regarded as of early Norwegian origin. It can be either residential from a place called Helstrom, meaning a house (or shelter) by a river, from the pre 7th century Olde Norse "hiamlr- straumr", or it can be ornamental and abstract. These ornamental surnames were generally created in the 18th century, when it was realised by the various governments in Scandanavia that only about twenty surnames were held by an estimated 80% of the population! This made personal identification increasingly difficult at a time of growing industrialisation with its ensuing bureaucracy and opportunity for taxation. As a result the governments actively encouraged people to develop a broader band of surnames, by in effect, inventing their own. In time many abstract compound spellings were developed of which names containing "strom" usually as the prefix, became increasingly popular. These "modern" ornamentals were intended to be pleasant sounding. They usually had no particular relationship to any place, existing or abstract, unlike the German or Polish locational surnames, which with the German "von" or the Polish suffix "-ska or ski," indicated estate ownership and social status. The Scandanavian names included Stromback (river stream), and Stromwall (river bank), and it is estimated that over two hundred and fifty examples were created, too numerous to relate.
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