Mystery Monday: Advoye

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 Middle French feminine name from the 16th C. It occurs once (in the data we’ve transcribed so far) in the baptismal registers of the Protestant church at Caen.


We have discussed the names found in these registers here on the blog in the past in the context of general discussion of Protestant names, from which we’ve seen a number of interesting trends arising, including the rise of virtue names, and the increasing influence of the Old Testament and the New Testament on the naming pools.

It’s not clear that any of these trends will get us very far with the current name, however. Advoye doesn’t appear to be the name of a virtue (and virtue names seem to be much rarer in the French Protestant data than the English and Dutch); neither is it a Biblical name that we are familiar with. There is, of course, the possibility that it is a traditional French name with no Protestant influence; if this is the case, we would love to see more examples of it! If you are familiar with any, or have any thoughts on the origin of the name, please share in the comments.


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

2 responses to “Mystery Monday: Advoye

  1. onomastodon

    French morphology is not my thing at all, but I’ll stumble through…

    Could it be a form of Avoye? St Avoye (or Aure/ Auré) of Sicily apparently had a Breton mother and died in Boulogne-sur-Mer. There’s a village of Sainte-Avoye in Brittany (which contains a 16th-century chapel dedicated to the saint) and a quarter by the same name in Paris. Kathleen Chesney mentions four separate Stes Avoye*. The name could therefore be after the saint or a place name. If Advoye is related to Avoye (I do not know enough about French morphology to answer that), it is not a (uniquely) protestant name. This Geanet page turns up quite a few women named Avoye, including an Avoye de Clare born in the 11th century and a 12th-century Avoye, Dame de Saint-Maure:
    The surname D’Avoye pops up quite a bit on genealogical sites too (I can’t access more info without subscribing)
    That doesn’t answer the question of etymology, but perhaps someone else will know that.

    The only etymological possibilities I can think of are a connection to avoué, a legal officer, related to latin advocatus. Planta notes this ‘ought properly be written avoyé or advoyé’**, which could make Advoye an occupational surname (passed on to a daughter…?), or (I would guess more likely) connected to the modern French avouer (from OF avoue, cf. Latin advoco, advocare), relating it to confess, avow or, perhaps, console.
    Or, perhaps, related to voie (cg. Latin vita), as in modern French avoyer?

    * K. Chesney. ‘A fifteenth-Century miscellany (Notes on Ms. Douce 252)’, in Studies in French language and mediaeval literature presented to Professor Mildred K. Pope, pp.61-70, at p.67.
    Besides the Avoye who died ‘near Boulogne some time after 450’, Chesney mentions a prioress of a premonstratensian in the diocese of Cologne, a C6th martyr and a virgin martyr.
    ** Joseph Planta, Planta, J. (1800). The History of the Helvetic Confederacy: J. Stockdale. p. 256

  2. Brian M. Scott

    Another late example of the name is found in a notarial deed from Saint Omer dated 14 June 1611: one of the parties was Advoye de Longueval. (Vente n° 35, Gros de Saint-Omer, Année 1611, Extraits de la liasse 4E5/92, Bernard Chovaux [PDF].) Note that this, like all of the examples that I’ve found, is from the north of France.

    A Germanic etymology is possible. The wife of Nivelon II de Pierrefonds (late 11th century) appears in secondary and tertiary sources as Advoye, Hadwide, and Havoise. I don’t know the sources of these variants, but in a charter c. 1102 (in Fac-simile de quatre chartes du XIIe siècle (1102–1110–1153–1187), Peigné-Delacourt, ed., Paris, 1864) they and their four sons, Petrus, Anscullus, Nivelo, and Drogo give the church of Saint Maxime (Saint Mesme) to the abbey of Marmoutier; her name appears as Hadvisa, Advisa (acc.), and Hadvisę (gen.). This is much earlier, and it’s not clear why she is sometimes called Advoye, but it is in the north and may indicate the origin of the name.

    Hadvisa would appear to be Morlet’s Hadewisa (Hadvisa, Hatuisa, Havisa); if so, it has the same origin as OFr Hauis. The prototheme is then PGmc *haþuz ‘battle’, and the deuterotheme is either *wīdaz ‘wide, broad’ or *widuz ‘wood’.

    Another possible origin of the later names is Morlet’s Adois (Aduys, Adhuidis), with the same deuterotheme and a prototheme that may be a reduced form of Adal- (from *aþalaz).

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