Category Archives: crowd-sourcing

Mystery Monday: Uideal

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.

We figure the odds are pretty high that if you were presented with the name “Uideal”, you’d have no guess about it’s gender, language/culture, or time period; it is a remarkably peculiar little name.

Uideal

To answer those questions exhausts what we know about this name: It’s the name of a man, recorded in a document written in Italy, in 827.

Early Italian names are remarkably recalcitrant to identify; often, they’re too late to show a clear connection with Latin vocabulary, but too early to reflect the influence of the Germanic naming practices. That’s exactly where this name falls: There’s nothing about it that gives us an “in” into understanding it.

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? Have you seen this name — or something like it — before? Please share in the comments if you have!

Leave a comment

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Mystery Monday: Teagaton

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.

The hardest of names are those that are from one language, rendered into another, often by a scribe that doesn’t know anything about the original language.

One source that we’ve been working through for awhile (it’s one that has to be taken in small chunks, due to the heavy nature of the subject matter) is a register of enslaved people in Florence in the middle of the 14th century. This is a fascinating source from an onomastic point of view because so many of the people were renamed when they were enslaved — and yet, despite this, the notarial records relating to them often include their previous name, as well as the “language” it was in. I put “language” in scare-quotes because most of the time, the recording simply gives the person’s name “in the Tartar language”, and this is not really a single language at all.

So this means we have a large number of likely-Turkic-origin names being rendered in Latin by an Italian speaker — that’s many many layers of obscurity to poke through.

A lot of these names, we’ll probably never known what their actual origin is. But that makes them perfect candidates for Mystery Monday, and it’s why we’ve chosen one such name for today’s post:

Teagaton

We know that Teagaton was of Tartar descent, and that this is a representation of her name in her original language/culture. We haven’t the faintest idea what that original name might have been, and would love to know if you have any thoughts or suggestions. Please share in the comments if you do!

Leave a comment

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Solution Saturday: Bulrebecca

Every Saturday, we will revisit one of our Mystery Monday names that we have solved. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and expertise, whether commenting here or on twitter or via email. You’ve all helped solve a mystery!

Today’s name is Bulrebecca, and it highlights one of the difficulties we face when going through medieval documents, and that’s: How do you identify a given name as a given name? When faced with a bunch of words, there are a number of clues one can use to identify what kind of a word it is (noun, verb; Latin, German, English; given name, not a name) — clues from semantics, syntax, morphology, grammar, context, etc. Because personal names don’t function in the same way that significative nouns and adjectives do, we often have fewer clues, which means that even if you can confidently identify a word as part of a name, it’s not always clear whether it’s a given name or part of a byname.

In the case of this particular name, we were mislead by the superficial similarity between -rebeke and the personal name Rebecca, and thus originally identified Bulrebeke as a given name (the context not making it clear which it was). However, the origin of this mysterious name is solved by noting that it’s actually a place name, not a personal name. Alas, this means we’ll remove this record from our database (flagging up why, of course, so that the information isn’t lost forever!) and you’ll see no entry for Bulrebeke or Bulrebecca in future editions of the Dictionary.

Leave a comment

Filed under crowd-sourcing, events, solution saturday

Mystery Monday: Stenent

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.

Sometimes it feels like obscure 16th C English names are the most obscure of all, their obscurity magnified by our familiarity with the language and context in which they occur. Such a name is today’s mystery name:

Stenent

Just, what, uh, hmm? Is it a scribal error? An editorial error? A weird made-up name? A transferred surname? (would be very odd, that). We have zero idea, which makes this a perfect mystery to include in our list. If you have any thoughts, please share in the comments! We’d love to know.

3 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Solution Saturday: Dywa

Every Saturday, we will revisit one of our Mystery Monday names that we have solved. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and expertise, whether commenting here or on twitter or via email. You’ve all helped solve a mystery!

Today’s name is one that we’d originally identified as feminine, but turns out to be masculine! The name is Dywa, and our thanks to Brian M. Scott who connected the dots from Dywa to Tiva to Protiva, a name which we also had an entry for, under the less-Latin/more-Czech spelling Protywa.

So there we have a part-solution, at least — we can combine the entries for Dywa and Protywa. In the comments on the post linked above, a suggestion is given for the origin of Protiva, which we will file away and follow up on and hopefully in the future an entry for Protiva will debut on the Dictionary.

Leave a comment

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, solution saturday

Mystery Monday: Raczko

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 diminutive found in the Czech Republic:
Raczko

But what is it a diminutive of? One possibility is Radoslav, a moderately popular name throughout Eastern Europe. But perhaps something else that we haven’t thought of — do you have a suggestion? Please share in the comments!

3 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Mystery Monday: Perteiza

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 mystery is from late 16th C Somerset, and is as far as we can tell a hapax legomenon: We’ve found three records of the name, all to the same person. Perteiza Batten, daughter of Launcellott was christened in Bruton in 1592 (that’s the instance we have in our data). She married Willm. Harlidg in 1608/9, and then in 1638, Wm son of Wm. and Perteza Harledg was buried.

A search of google returns no use of this as a name other than by this woman.

Where on earth did Launcellott Batten find this name? We searched the rest of the register to see if the names of his family members could provide any clue, but didn’t find much. He married Agnes Beastley in 1588, and their first daughter, Joan, was born a year later. Then came Perteiza, Mary in 1594, and Edith 1596. A fifth daughter, Elizabeth, was born and buried in 1599, and he himself died in 1608/9, a month after Perteiza’s marriage.

All the rest of the names are utterly unexceptional in 16th C England. Whither Perteiza? This may be one mystery we never crack.

8 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Solution Saturday: Liawiso

Every Saturday, we will revisit one of our Mystery Monday names that we have solved. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and expertise, whether commenting here or on twitter or via email. You’ve all helped solve a mystery!

Today’s solved mystery is the name Liawiso.

Many thanks to those who tracked down variants of this name (including a connection to the Latin Libentius!) and independently identified it with Gothic liufs, Old High German liob, liab ‘dear, loved’. This name will appear in the next edition, under the header Liebizo!

Leave a comment

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, solution saturday

Mystery Monday: Omelki

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 16th C Swedish masculine name recorded in Finland:

Omelki

This one is a true mystery: We don’t have any names that resemble it, no clue what it’s origin might be, and even searching for the string on google gets nothing useful. We know the chances that one of our readers will know something about the name are small, but we’re not going to pass up the opportunity to ask! If you have any thoughts at all, please share them in the comments!

2 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

Mystery Monday: Nizul

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 13th C German name:

Nizul

One of the things we often do when faced with a name that doesn’t provide us with any easy starting points is to just plug it into google and see what comes up.

Well! That was certainly an interesting exercise with this name. Google certainly thinks it’s a name, as many of the first page of hits were to various name related websites, none of which had any information about the name at all (some of them didn’t even know if it was masculine name or a feminine name!) but our favorite was a website dedicated to Kabalarians, who have this to say about the name:

Nizul

(For the record, absolutely none of this is true).

Sometimes, when dealing with an unknown name, providing no information is better than providing false information. But perhaps one of you recognise the name and can help us identify it? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

2 Comments

Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday