Mystery Monday: Tisvidis

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s mystery name is a lovely little feminine name from 11th C Belgium. The deuterotheme is clearly either Old High German wīt, Old Saxon wīd ‘wide’ or Old Saxon widu, wido, Old High German witu ‘wood’, both of which developed into -widis or -vidis when Latinised. But the prototheme? We have no idea. If you do, please share in the comments!

Tisvidis

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Mystery Monday: Sintarwizzilo

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Some medieval names have retained their popularity throughout the ages, and are still familiar today — and sometimes not only familiar, but ragingly popular.

Some medieval names, on the other hand, have fallen into complete obscurity and even the most hipster of hipsters would balk at giving such a name to their child. Today’s mystery name, recorded in early 9th C Italy in Latin, is one of the latter. For our purposes, we’re merely interested in investigating its etymology and determining whether it was used in any other context — we think it unlikely that anyone today is likely to revive this name. (On the other hand, “Wizzy” is a great nickname. Or maybe not!)

Sintarwizzilo

Do you recognize the name? Have any thoughts about its origin? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Rabela

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

There aren’t many names where we have so little information we don’t even have a guess about gender. One advantage of Latin records is that quite often one can identify the gender of a person from the (linguistic) gender of their name; but this is not a fool-proof process since sometimes you get a man with a name that declines along feminine lines (and much much more rarely, the other way around). Today’s name is one that is linguistically feminine, but from the context it was not otherwise clear that the person bearing the name, recorded in 14th C Genoa, was a woman:

Rabela

Do you have any thoughts? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Palotia

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

One of the reasons we do these Mystery Monday posts is that quite often we have to click through a number of unfinished entries before we find one that counts as a true mystery — sometimes, an unfinished entry is simply an unfinished entry, just awaiting someone to look at it and finish it up. Sometimes it’s a matter of plugging in the right etymological information (Peter-Angel, Peter-Paul, and Paloma, we’re looking at you); sometimes it’s a matter of realizing we’ve got four different entries for what are in fact all variants of the same name (Beto, Betto, Pezzi, and Pezili, we’re looking at you!).

Sometimes, though, we get a name where all we can do is look at it and go “huh. That looks…Latinate?” Which isn’t saying much when it’s a name from 14th C Italy:
Palotia
Do you recognize it? Have any thoughts on its origin? Any other examples of the name? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Ottolengo

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s name is one of those names where it feels like we should recognize it, but we don’t. We’ve got two examples (two different variant spellings) of it from the same collection of Latin records from Genoa in 1376, and a bit of sleuthing around reveals it also as the surname of a German rabbi,
Joseph Ottolengo, who was given permission in 1558 by Cardinal Madruzzo to print Hebrew books in Trento (neat!). The prototheme Otto is well-known; but just what is the deuterotheme?

Ottolengo

If you have any thoughts or ideas, or any other neat stories about German Jewish printers, please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Nivelo/Nevelo

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

It’s always interesting when a particular mystery name has more than one citation (and they’re not just the same person showing up in a collection of related documents). It’s even more interesting when that mystery name appears in different sources. It’s even more interesting when that mystery name appears in different sources and different centuries — and in both Latin and the vernacular. It’s not often that we have that much disparate evidence for a name (albeit all in France and all within a 150 year period) and have no idea what the origin of the name is. Welcome to today’s Mystery Monday name!

Nivelo

Have you seen this name before? Got any guesses for its origin? (This doesn’t seem relevant). Any further examples? (Apparently there was a Bishop of Soissons by this name in 1205; and another Crusader in the First Crusade). Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Mabca

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s name is so mysterious, we’re not even sure what gender it is. Grammatically, it looks to be feminine — it’s recorded in Latin and ends in -a in the nominative, which tips the evidence in favor of a feminine name — but the context provides no clear indication of the gender of the bearer, so we are still listing the gender as “unknown”.

It does appear to be a diminutive, with -ca or -ka being a moderately common feminine diminutive suffix in Slavic contexts, but what the root name might be, we haven’t a clue. Do you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!Mabca

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