Another month, another taking stock

Well, another month has passed beyond our desired for publication date, and yet, it’s hard to feel too sad about the delay when the extra time has meant that we will be able to provide so much more as a result — more entries, more citations, more languages, more countries — the distance that we have come in the last month is astounding.

At the point of writing (it’s only mid-day, so I’m sure things will change), we have 20,750 individual citations (up from 16,030 last month, a 29.5% increase), distributed over 904 entries (the seriously cool mile-marker of 1,000 entries is becoming tantalizingly close), up from 764 entries last month (an increase of about 18%), resulting in an average of about 23 citations per month (this number continues to rise, it was only 21 last month).

There are 563 men’s names, ranging from Aaron (a new front-runner in the alphabetical list, and one extremely unlikely to be displaced) to Zwentibold, and 338 women’s, from Accorsa to Zoete, plus the addition of Hebrew Yael, a name which cannot be confidently assigned to either gender (the name was used by both, and the one citation we have did not indicate one way or the other).

8115 citations are from Latin records, down to 39%. And here’s the graph for all the languages:

Citations per language

And for the top 9 countries:

citations per country
Where you can see that France has made a significant dent into England’s previous lead.

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Turning the delay to our advantage

Normally, a good day is one in which 3 new entries are completed, reviewed, and finalized, allowing us to make slow and steady progress through the ~1700 entries that are not yet finished (the number fluctuates regularly as new individual citations are entered requiring the creation of place-holder files for new header names). This weekend, however, upon learning that our technical guru will soon be released from his current responsibilities and hopes to be able to return to helping us sometime this week, the thought crossed my mind — could we get to 1000 entries before we publish? What an amazing milestone to shoot for, even if it’s but a drip in the entire onomastic pool.

At the beginning of the weekend, we had 807 entries completed. As of this writing, we now have 839 — 32 new entries over roughly 2.5 days! The entries range from Hermanmar, an unusual trithematic Germanic name, to Minerva, a Roman goddess name that came into use in the Italian Renaissance, to the 16th C feminine name Ralphe, proving that the English have used unusual unisex names for centuries.

From Amicus to Zbygniew the names have origins ranging from Latin to German to Slavic and more, and the citations for these names range from the 9th C through to the 16th C, covering most of western, and some of eastern, Europe. As we begin to think again about the publication of the first edition, we certainly can’t regret the delay too much, seeing how the result is to be able to provide a richer, more diverse collection of names.

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20,000 names under review

It was a little under two months ago that we announced the milestone of 10,000 individually citations reviewed and ready for the first edition of the Dictionary.

20,000 citations

You know what this image indicates? We’ve just passed the 20,000 mark! And the magical 20,000th citation is Tevenin, a French diminutive of Stephen found in Paris in 1313.

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Where we’re at

We must apologize for the recent radio silence and the lack of updates since missing our target publication date of the end of January. Unfortunately, the business that took our chief technical guru over to the US for two weeks has not concluded (though at least it did return him back to the correct side of the pond), and since that business is the one that pays his bills, we must continue to be patience. The website is about one day’s worth of work away from being ready, but when that day will come, we are not yet sure. I’d like to say before the middle of this month, but I’d rather not make any promises.

In the meantime, we’re making good use of the extra time to continue reviewing individual citations and also finishing up new entries, so at least the wait will result in a bigger, better first edition.

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Taking stock, February edition

I was going to stop doing these monthly recaps with January, because after that you could see first hand what was new and improved. Alas, we haven’t quite made the Jan. 31 goal, so you get one more month’s worth of stats and graphs. We’re up to 16030 individual citations (up from 10288, an increase of nearly 56%!) distributed over 764 entries (up from 639 last month, a 19.5% increase), resulting in an average of 21 citations per name (up from 16 last month, no doubt due to the completion of the extremely popular names John and Joan, both of which have hundreds of citations.)

There are 463 men’s names and 278 women’s, and, excitingly, for the first time in months, our ‘earliest/latest in the alphabet’ names have changed! The alphabetically foremost masculine name is now Achard, of Germanic origin and with French citations, and the alphabetically hindmost name is now Zwentibold, of Slavic origin but influence, in its Latin form, by Germanic elements.

7174 of the citations are from Latin records, that is, around 44.7%, a significant decrease from last month, due no doubt to the large number of 16th C English parish registers that we’ve been working through. Here’s the breakdown for all the languages:
citations per language
When it comes to citations per country, we’ve now reached the point where we’re constrained by the number of slices we can put into our pie chart (on the free online automatic pie-chart generator we’re using), which means neither Brabant nor Malta show up on the below, despite now having sizeable showings:
citations per country

Lastly, this month the Dictionary welcomed a new assistant to the editorial team: Dr. Mariann Slíz is a member of the Institute of Hungarian Linguistics and Finno-Ugric Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, specializing in Onomastics, Cultural History, Historical Linguistics, Medieval History, Literature, Magical Realism, History of Hungary, Medieval Hungary, Hungarian linguistics, and Anthropology of Personal Names. We are very grateful to have an expert on Hungarian names joining us, in part because it means we can move Hungarian from the second phase to the first phase! So keep a look out for Hungarian citations and citations from Hungary in upcoming editions of the Dictionary.

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The best laid plans…

Alas, we are not quite going to make the January 2015 date as we planned. As alluded to in the previous post, at the beginning of the month our chief technical guru who is putting together the database and the primary search interface got sent on a two-week overseas business trip with 10 days notice (he’ll be back on Monday). There are a few last tweaks that need to be made to the website before it can go live, and they are waiting on him — in particular, right now the test version is only maintained locally, so we need him to do the final upload to the server.

Our sincere apologies: We’ve been working towards a January release date for around 4 months, and it’s of course frustrating to not quite make it. But so long as we rely on the generosity of volunteers who donate their time unpaid to the project, we have to work around delays like this when they arise. We will have things up and running as soon after our tech guy is back as is possible.

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The End is Nigh

The end of the month, that is.

We’ve got one staff member at a conference, another on a last-minute-scheduled business trip in the US, a third caring for a sick child, and a fourth sick herself.

We’ll do our best to get the last finishing touches put on in time!

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