Category Archives: crowd-sourcing

Solution Saturday: Iesmonda/Jesmonda

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 solution is for a 16th C Italian feminine name that we had two variants of. As it turned out, we actually had a third — but hidden under a different header name! But Gismonda, Gismunda, and Iesmonda are all variants of the same name, Gismunda, and all the citations will be together in the same entry in the next edition.

The name gained its popularity in Italy as the result of Boccaccio’s Decameron. If you haven’t ever read the Decameron, what better time than during a modern-day plague to read it?

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Mystery Monday: Mermer

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.

Most of our mystery names are mysterious because we have no idea what their origin might be. Today’s name is the opposite: We have two equally plausible options, and are looking for assistance in discriminating between them!

The name is a 14th-15th C masculine name found in Switzerland:
Mermer

Normally, a name found in a German influenced part of Europe containing the element mar or mer would be easy: We’d identify it as coming from Old English mære, Old High German, Old Saxon māri all from Proto-Germanic *mērijaz ‘famous’. Doublets — where a name is composed by duplicating an element — are rare, but not unheard of in Germanic names (our personal favorite is Bertbert, which will appear in the next edition), so ordinarily this would be a straightforward identification.

But! There is also a Greek name, rendered in Latin as Mermerus, found in mythology as the name of a centaur, of the grandson of Jason and Medea, a host of Odysseus, and of a Trojan in the Trojan war. The 14th-15th C is on the early end for the revival of classical Greek names in the Renaissance, but we don’t have a previous date for this occurrence, and Switzerland is close enough to Italy that this etymology cannot be discounted.

So we turn to you: What do you think? Do you have any evidence that ways in favor of one alternative over the other? Or any alternative etymologies to suggest? Please share in the comments!

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Solution Saturday: Trauta

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 Trauta. Our suspicion that the name was Germanic in origin, despite it’s appearance in 14th C Italy, was corrected! It is a variant of the name Druda, and the examples we found will be incorporated into that entry in the next edition.

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Mystery Monday: Lyssence

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 one that we came across quite recently, in the 16th C registers of the parish of Bath.

Lyssence

It’s clearly masculine from context, and also clearly a given name (gotta love parish registers for making both of these things often crystal clear!), but beyond that, we haven’t a clue. It’s a name that nibbles at you and makes you think “surely there’s got to be a straightforward explanation”, the sort of name that sounds like it’s just a word, but there’s no word like “lyssence” or “lissence” in any dictionary we’ve checked, and plugging the word into google gets modern social media handles and nothing more.

Do you recognise the name? Have any thought as to its origin? We’d love to know! Please share in the comments.

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Mystery Monday: Kineke & Kyne

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.

You’d think that with as few names beginning with “K-” that there were in the Middle Ages, we’d have them all solved by now. And yet! More of our K-names are mysterious than not:

Not, not all of these are real mysteries; some of them are just “entries we haven’t gotten to you” or “things that were mysteries when we first created the entry but we’ve learned more since then and now we know what it is (oh, hello there Kerold, given our solution to Kermunt, this must be a form of Gerald, we can quick combine those two entries…; oh, and Kislolt has got to be Gislold, and, look, we haven’t finalized THAT entry yet, so let’s pause to do that…; oh, hunh, Kotabert is clearly a variant of Godbert, so let’s combine those entries…and now you know what preparing a Mystery Monday post ends up looking like! For every one Mystery we write about, we often solved another 2-3 along the way.)

But let’s move on to today’s actual mystery, a feminine diminutive recorded in late 13th C Latvia:
Kineke
Context makes it clear that it’s feminine, the -ke suffix makes it clearly a pet form, so the only question remains: What is the root name? Hack off the -ke and what you’ve got left is Kine- (oh, wait, that looks an awful lot like Kyne, which is a Low German feminine name also found in Latvia!

Kyne

So we should probably combine these two entries into one). Interestingly, our draft entry for Kyne has a note “Cuna?” in it, i.e., possibly they’re both pet forms of Cunigunde.

What do you, dear readers, think? Are we on the right track? We’d love a little bit more corroborative evidence before we confidently ascribe both Kineke and Kyne to Cunigunde.

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Mystery Monday: Jarand

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 we have a Polish masculine name from the early 15th century:

Jarand

There’s a (modern) Polish city called Jarandowo, which is likely related, etymologically, to the given name, but this doesn’t tell us anything about what their shared etymology might be.

Do you have any thoughts? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Idosia/Ydozia

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 lovely 14th C feminine name from Picardy. Our single record of it is a Latin genitive form, and involves two of the rare letters of the alphabet — y and z!

Ydosia

We have hypothesized Idosia as a normalized nominative form — we haven’t actually found any instance of this spelling. We would love to have other instances/variants of this name. Do you know of any? Please share in the comments! We also don’t have even the first guess as to what it’s origins might be; if you have any thoughts, we’d love to hear them!

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Mystery Monday: Hleb

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 found in a record that comes from a place in modern day Ukraine, and turns up as a rarish surname and given name in modern Belarusian:

Hleb

This is definitely something of Slavic origin, which means most of the info out there is in the Cyrillic alphabet…which none of the DMNES staff are experts in.

Do you have any pointers for our research? Any insider intel? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Gluscudilum

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 an early Germano-Gothic name from Iberia:

Gluscudilum

For such a strange name — a name unlike any other name we’ve ever seen — it turns up quite a few hits on google! But that’s because of the context it occurs in, a document from 10th C Gallicia important for all the other names it contains:

manuscript

Image from one of the cartularies of the monastery of Sobrado (Galicia), which contains copies of documents dated in the 8th-13th centuries.

(Isn’t that beautiful…)

Many of the other names in this document already occur in DMNES entries; we’d love to be able to add Gluscudilum — if we can figure out its origins! Do you have any thoughts? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Fogueta

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 Catalan feminine name found in Valencia in 1510:

Fogueta

We’re not sure if this is a given name or a byname — the entry simply reads na Fogueta, vídua (V sous). The masculine form Foguet is a modern Catalonian byname, and foguet as a word is the 3rd person preterite of the word “to be” in Occitan. So, a lot of interesting hints, but no clear story. Anyone care to weight in with their thoughts? Please share them in the comments!

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