Category Archives: mystery monday

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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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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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