Mystery Monday: Ymatke

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 a masculine name recorded in Latin in Latvia. It has a clearly identifiable Low German diminutive suffix, -ke, but the root name is uncertain. Do you have any guesses? Have you see the name before? Please let us know in the comments.




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5 responses to “Mystery Monday: Ymatke

  1. Jörg Knappen

    I’d take the full -tke as diminutive ending (maybe from a double diminutive -ot-ke), and Ima (a variant of Emma) as the stem.

  2. Klāvs Siliņš. Latviešu personvārdu vārdnīca. Rīga: Zinātne, 1990. (Online at but I can’t figure out how to link directly to it) p. 162 mentions the (modernised) name Imants, which it derives from Livonian “Im” “wonder, marvel” and “and” “a gift”, with a mention in the 13th century. Siliņš doesn’t actually say how the 13th century name was spelled though.

    Pauls Balodis. “Personal Names of Livonian Origin in Latvia: Past and Present.” In Wolfgang Ahrens; Sheila Embleton; André Lapierre (eds.). Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences. 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences. Toronto, Canada: York University, 2009. pp. 105–116. (Online at fills in that gap on p. 112 with:
    “Imants – mentioned in the 13th century in Chronicle of Livonia as Ymaut for the first time).”

    Could it be possible that Ymatke is a diminutive of Ymaut/Imants?

    • Jörg Knappen

      Interesting alternative, ut what happened to the letter “n”? Maybe it is worth checking the source again for a mark above the letter a (like ã).

    • Brian M. Scott

      According Hermann Hildebrand, Das Rigische Schuldbuch (1286-1352), the name appears both as Ymatke (in Nr. 371) and as Ymake (en Nrs. 599, 1677, and 1826). On p. 109 Balodis has an entry for Imake (female, male) citing Nr. 599 from 1290 and deriving the name from Livonian im ‘miracle’. He mentions a surname Imake and a Latvian surname Imaks as well. He appears to distinguish the name from Imants. He says nothing about the -a(t)ke. (Hildebrand also considered the name to be probably Livonian.)

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