NOTES ON SURNAMES (HULL) 39
NEQUEST there is no doubt that this surname is of Swedish origin.
Peter and Mary Nequest had children baptised at Holy Trinity, Hull, from 1818 onwards. Peter’s origin is recorded in the 1851 census, viz.
3 Cogan Terrace, Myton [Hull]
Peter Nequest, head, married, 59, ship steward, born Sweden (British subject)
Mary Nequest, wife, 59, born Hull
Peter Nequest, son, unmarried, 29 attorney’s writing clerk, born Hull
Elizabeth Nequest, daughter, unmarried, 21, born Hull
Emma Nequest, daughter, unmarried, 17, born Hull
Eddy Gainer, mother-in-law, 77, born Norfolk, Lynn
Henry Wilkinson, son-in-law, married, 28, born South Cave, Yorkshire
Eden Wilkinson, daughter, married, 26, born Hull
Son Peter, married Betsy Ann Hooton at Holy Trinity in September 1866, and is recorded in the 1871 census –
49 Trinity Street, South Myton
Peter Nequest, head, married, 49, attorney’s managing clerk, born Hull
Betsy Nequest, wife, 29, born Hull
Peter Nequest, son, 1 year old.
Peter senior also had a son, Matthew, not with the family in 1851, who was born in 1826. He and his wife Eliza Jane had son George Edward, baptised at Holy Trinity, September 1861.
Nequest is probably an English spelling of the Swedish surname Nykvist, sometimes spelt Nyqvist, meaning “new twig”. This is a type of name found in Sweden which I call ‘synthetic’. It has no real history but was made up by a method encouraged by the Swedish government. Permanent surnames only became compulsory for Swedes about the year 1800. Prior to this the literal patronymic was used; so if Anders Johansson had a son Per and a daughter Ingrid they would be known as Per Andersson and Ingrid Andersdotter.
Aware that people would simply freeze the patronymic to make an hereditary surname, the government issued a list of words, mostly from nature, and suggested that names could be composed by combining two words from the list. kvist (twig), gren (branch), lund (wood) were examples of such words. Sometimes a name so produced might appear to be a genuine place name; Eklund (oak wood), Sjostrand (seashore). Others did not.
In spite of the the government’s scheme the twenty commonest Swedish surnames are all patronymics; Johansson, Andersson, etc.