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 probably not all that mysterious, but we’d love to have some corroboration before we go ahead and confidently assign a canonical name form.
Parsing this mid 13th-C name found in a Low German speaking area, the -ke is a common diminutive suffix, which means we’re looking for a root name that could plausibly be rendered Yen-. The obvious candidate is a German form of John, which became Jen in the north. The shift from J- to Y- is uncommon, but not totally unheard of. But we’d love to see any concrete evidence that others have connecting forms like Yeneke directly back to the root name John. If you’ve got any, please share in the comments!