The family data was that the name of my grandfather's maternal grandfather was Nicholas Almquist. On researching this I found that his name was Anders Niklasson Almquist. Without the Almquist the family name would have been Anderson. I believe that the name Almquist was his soldier name that he then continued to use and all his children used it as well. His birth and marriage records do not have the name Almquist but all the later records do. "Alm" means elm, the elm tree. "Quist" means branch or twig. So, elm branch or elm twig is the meaning. Because Sweden had relatively few given names and used a Patronymic naming system (the son of John Bergson would be Sven Johnsson not Sven Bergson), many men had the same names. In the army this was too confusing so that when men went into the army they chose a "soldier name." Some men kept the name and some didn't. Their children usually didn't take the soldier name but went by the patronymic. In Anders' case, though, all the children used Almquist.
Anders was born on 17 Jan 1785 at Vallstorp, Barkeryd, Jonkoping, Sweden. This is in the province of Smaland in Southern Sweden. He was the son of Nicholas Christiansson and Christina Jonasdotter. By 1794 the family had moved to Almesakra where Anders lived the rest of his life. On 20 June 1805 he married Ingrid Danielsdotter. They had eight children, six sons and two daughters. My grandfather's grandfather was Nils Johan Almquist, their youngest child.
The family data which my grandfather got when he visited Sweden was that Anders was a senator, "firm, thrifty, capable, big and strong". He was very rich and it was said that "the women didn't wear caps", they were "harskap" or nobility. However I can't find that word in Swedish, "keps" means caps, though. What I do find is that Anders was an "hemanskare" or a free farmer who owned his own farm according to the clerical survey. So this does indicate a position of relative wealth. On his death record he is called a "namndeman" which is a lay judge. This was usually a wealthy man of some political position who was appointed to assist as a judge in various local courts. So he may have been a senator as well. He died on 24 Sep 1839, age 54, of a cold ("forkyining").
When my sister and I visited Sweden last year we wanted to find Almesakra. It wasn't easy to find as it wasn't really a town, just a Church and a community building plus houses around a lake. It was lovely though! We found the places where he had lived, Barkansjo and Hylte. Hylte was his farm where his children were born and where he died. In the Churchyard we found the graves of two of his sons who had remained on Hylte. He was the source of the name Almquist and I think he would be happy to know that he has many descendants today in America as well as Sweden.