This is a 19th century Swedish surname. Sweden (along with Norway, Denmark and Finland) was several centuries behind most of Europe in introducing fixed spelling, hereditary, surnames. In fact until the 16th century it does not seem to have had a surname system at all. However into the 17th century Sweden 'punched well above its weight' in military mattters, and under the command of King Gustavus Adolphus 11, held the balance of power in the Baltic region. In that time an attempt to create a surname system was made based largely upon the use of military terms, and hence probably not much use to most people. Examples ncluded names like Rask, meaning 'bold', and Spjut, lance, but as most people were not in the army, they had to muddle along for another century or so with local patronymics of which Andersen and Jansen were the most predominent. Clearly in the long term this paucity of surnames was a pointless exercise, it was essential to find other forms. As it happens the 'ornamenta'l type surname had succeeded in North Germany from about 1550, and the idea very gradually spread, reaching Sweden in about 1800. Quite simply ornamental names were made up of two words arbitarily joined. These 'words' could be chosen or created at will but were based upon pleasant natural objects. Karlqvist is a good example, but makes use of an existing first name Karl to which 'qvist' meaning 'twig' has been added to give 'man -twig There are many surnames that include Karl as the first part and probably even more that include 'qvist' meaning twig as the second part. These include Blomqvist (flower-twig), Lindqvist (lime-twig) being popular examples of the genre. Ornamental names have no meaning or if they do that is a coincidence. They are meant to sound good, - and in our experience they succeed.
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