"I also have been told that John Erickson and his son got different names because the boy told them he was John's son, (Johnson) so we may have relatives we don't even know exist."
The above is patronymics, a naming custom common in Sweden but also in other countries. Read about "father names" on this site telling about Swedish naming customs.
John "Erickson" would have been the son of an Erik something. That something depends on what his father's given name was.
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