Mystery Monday: Valdrus

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.

Certain naming pools are uniform enough that if an unusual or unexpected name shows up in it, there’s a couple of straightforward places to look for its origin. Amongst 16th C Protestants, that’s generally the Bible: Got a slightly weird looking name? Probably an obscure Biblical person. (When working through Protestant naming pools, we spend a lot of time searching the Wycliffite translation of the Bible into Middle English in 1395.) So when we find a name which is (a) from Protestant contexts, (b) unusual/unidentifiable, and (c) not Biblical, we often find ourselves a bit at a loss!

And that’s precisely the context with today’s name, which occurs in the registers of the Protestant Church at Caen:


The name Valdrus is clearly feminine: in the entry referenced above, Valdrus is the name of the mother of the child being baptised:

Pierre, fils de Maître Loys Turgot, seigneur des Tourailles et de Valdrus, sa femme.

She shows up again, in an entry we haven’t yet transcribed, in a context which makes it clear that Valdrus is her given name:

Le fils de noble homme Maître Loys Turgot, écuyer sieur des Tourailles, conseiller pour le Roi…et de demoiselle Valdrus de Troley, sa femme.

(This entry is from 1572).

But what is this name?? Not only is it not any Biblical name that we can find, we haven’t found it — as a name or as a word — in any other context. Have you come across this name? Have any thoughts on its origins? Please share in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

3 responses to “Mystery Monday: Valdrus

  1. Brian M. Scott

    I did manage to find a few more instances of the name, some in variant forms. From Lassy, Calvados, Normandy, Vaudrus Besongnet 1603, Vaudrus Guillemette 1669, and Vauldrus. This page apparently shows the forenames as they actually appear in the documents in question and also shows a Valdrus(e) 1589 from La Chapelle-Engerbold, Calvados.

    This may be a later French form of the Germanic name of St. Waltrude, French Sainte Wautru, German Sankt Waltraud, from PGmc. *waldą ‘might, power, authority’ and *þrūþiþō ‘strength’ or *trut- ‘maiden’.


    Je n’ai pas retrouvé l’étymologie du nom mais il est peu probable qu’il s’agisse d’un personnage biblique. L’épouse de Louis Turgot est généralement connue sous le nom de Valdrine, forme féminisée probable du nom Valdrin.
    Bien cordialement,
    Pierre Yves Quémener

  3. Clare Green

    Based on nothing, could it be streamlined from Germanic wald + trudis, like

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