In this article the place-name Ruggstorp, Ryssby parish, Norra Möre county in the province of Småland is scrutinized. At the end of the 1980’s the road signs were replaced and the spelling was changed from Rugstorp to Ruggstorp. Local dwellers were upset and newspaper articles followed, describing the conflict between the inhabitants fighting for the spelling that they were used to and several public institutions that endorsed a change according to agree with the practice in official documents such as maps.
The settlement history of the region shows that the names in this northern, forested part of the parish are all fairly young, none of them likely to date back to a period before the twelfth century. The last element types of the place-names involved concur with this finding. Names in ‑torp can be old but are in this area most probably not.
Ruggstorp almost certainly contains a masculine personal name as its first element. Three records of this place-name in a 1530’s accounting book from the same county, viz. Rugestørp, ruxtørp, and Rwxstorp, are presented. In the same source there are also four bearers of the obviously related personal name Rug(h). This seemingly rich material is not, however, conclusive, and it is therefore impossible to say with any certainty if the records should be interpreted as containing a name with -g(h) or -gg.
The first element of Ruggstorp may in principle be identical to an Old Danish byname Rugh ‘rye’. A better alternative, however, is the Old Norse cognomen Ruggr. It is a deverbative construction with the word rugga ‘to walk with a waddling gait, to shake (something)’ as its basis. The verb is well-known in Scandinavian dialects, and the cognomina Rugga and/or Ruggi (-e), weak declension parallels to Ruggr, are known from all of Scandinavia as well as from several Swedish place-names.
Whereas etymology cannot decide conclusively between the spellings Rugstorp and Ruggstorp the considerations of name planning may do so. Although the spelling of the first element with one g undoubtedly has a longer tradition than the one with gg, the pronunciation of the place-name clearly points to a short vowel. Thus the spelling Ruggstorp is to be preferred, both to preserve the proper pronunciation and better to represent the most probable etymology of the first element, i.e. the genitive of the Old Swedish masculine personal name *Rugger, originally a cognomen.
1998. 56-73 p.
English title: Rugtorp or Ruggstorp? The etymology and the influence of the name planners of a place-name in Småland