What’s in a name?

that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.


When I started using the net as a woman I wasn’t out at all to anyone. The first name I chose for myself was Linda. I’m not really sure why and after a year or two I didn’t like it at all, besides it’s not a name that suits a woman of my age and nationality. So after a great deal of pondering I decided on Caisa. Caisa is a name that has a long history in Sweden and is still in use. As an added bonus an ancestor in the early eighteenth century was called Caisa.

So that took care of my first name. As I was coming out more and more I chose Persdotter as my last name, Persdotter means daughter of Per, Per being on of my male names as well as my father’s and maternal grandfather’s. Hence my Gmail name caisap, and on a few other sites where Caisa was already taken I’m known as Caisa Persdotter or variation thereof. But as I came out to everyone that matters I am now Caisa Viksten.

So, what’s the problem with choosing a new legal name? Well, I want a middle name or two as well. I’ve asked my parents if they did have an alternative name if I had been born a girl in body as well as soul and brain. But no, they called me Olle while i was still in the womb.No help there then.

I was for a while considering Vendela Magnona. Strange names yes but there is a romantic legend from the late seventeenth century behind them. According to the story Vendela Magnona Fleming, the daughter of Lars Fleming (a high-ranking Swedish noble man) was supposed to marry a man of similar social status. But Vendela was in love with a common village smith, Ström (first name unknown). On the day his beloved was to marry he turned up at the church with a horse and wagon. He looked at Vendela with tear filled eyes, she turned around on the church steps and saw him. Not hesitating for a second she run to her smith, jumped up beside him and off they went.

Vendela was stricken from all official records but upon her father’s death they found a sort of testament written on calfskin. In it he granted Vendela and her husband the right to the name Flemström and the use of a plot of land at Graninge Bruk in perpetuity. The letter was supposedly destroyed in the mid-nineteenth century but to this day the plot is known as Kalvskinns åkern, the Calfskin Field.

The story is probably not true but I love it. And if it is true I can trace my ancestry, via Flemström and Fleming, back to a knight in twelfth century Germany. In the end I decided against taking the middle names >Vendela Magnona. Too much of stage name I think.

But now I’ve made up my mind. My legal name will be Caisa Katarina Viola Viksten. Katarina after my maternal grandmother and Viola after my paternal grandmother.


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