Do Mongolians have last names?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

Mongolians do not have traditional last names or surnames like most Western cultures. Instead, they use a system of patronymics known as etsgiin ner, which translates to “name of the father.” This system is similar to the use of patronymics in some other cultures, such as Russian and Icelandic naming conventions.

In Mongolia, a person’s name is composed of three parts: the given name, the patronymic, and the family name. The given name is chosen by the parents and is often based on personal preference or cultural significance. The patronymic is derived from the father’s given name and is used to indicate lineage and family ties.

For example, let’s consider a hypothetical Mongolian person named Bayar. If Bayar’s father’s name is Tuvshin, his full name would be Bayar Tuvshin. The patronymic “Tuvshin” signifies that Bayar is the son of Tuvshin. Similarly, if Bayar has a sibling named Oyun, her full name would be Oyun Tuvshin, indicating that she is also a child of Tuvshin.

It is important to note that the patronymic is not a fixed family name passed down through generations. Instead, it changes with each generation based on the father’s given name. This system emphasizes the importance of lineage and ancestry in Mongolian culture.

During the socialist period in Mongolia, which lasted from the 1920s to the early 1990s, there was an attempt to eliminate the use of patronymics and replace them with fixed surnames. However, this change was not widely accepted by the Mongolian population, and the use of patronymics continued even after the socialist era.

The use of patronymics in Mongolia has both practical and cultural significance. From a practical standpoint, it helps to distinguish individuals with the same given name by indicating their lineage. It also serves as a way to trace family connections and relationships.

From a cultural perspective, the use of patronymics reflects the importance of family and kinship in Mongolian society. It acknowledges the role of the father and the ancestral lineage in shaping a person’s identity. The use of patronymics also reinforces the concept of extended family and the interconnectedness of different generations.

Mongolians do not have traditional last names or surnames. Instead, they use patronymics, known as etsgiin ner, which are based on the father’s given name. This system of naming emphasizes lineage, family ties, and the importance of ancestry in Mongolian culture.