Category Archives: publicity

The DMNES goes (went) to Luxembourg!


Yesterday our editor-in-chief gave a talk in the Digital History and Hermeneutics colloquium series hosted by the Center for Contemporary and Digital History at the University of Luxembourg. There, to a diverse audience of digital historians, digital humanities, computer scientists, onomasts, argumentation theorists, and more, she gave a talk on “Digital Humanities, Medieval History, and Lexicography: The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources, about the DMNES both as a project and as a representative of wider issues that face the development of DH projects — issues that we have discussed on this blog before. It’s hard to know what solutions can be found to some of these issues, but the first step towards solving the problems is articulating and discussing them: We cannot know how to solve a problem until we first recognise it as a problem.

We are grateful for the opportunity to talk to such a diverse, interested, and inspiring audience, and have already made some connections towards potential future collaborations. Watch this space! We’ll keep people informed of any new developments here.

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The DMNES at Dublin 2019 An Irish WorldCon

Our editor in chief, Dr. Sara L. Uckelman, is currently at Dublin 2019 An Irish WorldCon, where this morning she gave a talk on “Names: Form and Function in Worldbuilding and Conlangs”, with a specific focus on medieval-ish/oid European fantasies and alternate medieval European histories. Much of the talk drew on a couple of posts on this blog from a few years ago, but you can also check out the slides if you’re interested!

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DMNES EiC on the radio

Our editor-in-chief was on the radio again this morning. BBC Radio Newcastle’s “Alfie and Charlie at Breakfast” discussed the history of names and chatted with Dr. Uckelman about Gaelic clan bynames, why you don’t know anyone named Wigbald, and names people think are medieval but are not.

Edit: You can now access the episode online; the discussion begins around 2:40:00.

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Publication of Edition 2016, no. 2

We are pleased to announce the publication of Edition 2016, no. 2, which is now available at

This edition adds 77 new entries, many of them names found in the Old and New Testaments, researched and finalized as a result of our monthly topic on Protestant names. We have added 5,000 new citations since the previous edition, and in doing so deepened our coverage of Wales, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Italy, with many new sources from each of these places.

This edition marks one year since the publication of our first edition, and we’re very pleased to have come so far in such a short time.

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2015 wrap-up

For the full fireworks regarding the blog, you can read the Annual Report generated by WordPress; but in this post we’ll reflect on 2015 as it unfolded for the Dictionary.

Happy Birthday to us!

The most important milestone happened April 27, when we published Edition 2015 Number 1, our inaugural edition. Since then, we’ve published two more editions, and expect to have the first one of 2016 out within the next few days.

Most popular blog posts

The most popular post on the blog was on Digital humanities, medievalism, and the importance of errors, which had 573 views. In this post, we discussed how important it is — especially for any project whose subject matter is historical — to keep the “unclean” historical record, a record of all the errors, mistakes, emendations, changes, etc., as well as to properly credit all those who contribute to a project, not just the PIs or the people who bring the money in.

Our next two most popular posts involved made-up and “medieval” names: Gwendolyn, Rowena, Rhiannon, and Morgana: Medieval vs. ‘Medieval’ Names (563 views), where we discuss names that many people think are medieval are not, and why, and “Made-Up” Names (526 views), where we look at names many people think are made-up, but aren’t.


Members of the editorial team went to conferences in Lincoln, England; Leeds, England; and Bolzano, Italy. You can read more about the presentations here. This year, we have a double billing lined up for the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in July 2017, as well as more events that are not yet settled.


Two important media events are worth highlighting. In March, our Editor-in-Chief was interviewed on BBC Radio Newcastle, and you can still listen to the interview if you wish. In early September, the Dictionary was mentioned in a Metafilter thread, which caused a huge spike in our blog visits. It was so much fun to see everyone posting their favorite name finds in the comments!

Around the house

Over on twitter we’ve been doing an onomastic #OnThisDay since September, and in October we started having monthly topics on the blog; so far we’ve covered color names, advice for writers of historical fiction, and nicknames, the latter of which we have by no means investigated. Planned future topics include Protestant names, virtue names, mystery names, and more nicknames — plus any other topic our readers suggest!

It’s been a fun year for us; we hope you’ve had fun too, and will stick around for another year of medieval onomastics.

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Call for Paper Proposals: Leeds IMC 2016

The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources is pleased to announce its intention to organize sessions on medieval cross-linguistic/cross-cultural onomastics at the Leeds International Medieval Congress 2016, July 4-7, 2016. Please distribute the following Call for Proposals to any of your colleagues that would be interested, and consider submitting a proposal of your own!

Call for Paper Proposals

Does your research involve names (of people, of places, of things)? Does this research have a cross-cultural or cross-linguistic element? Do you want to present at one of the largest, most exciting medievalist conferences in the world? The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources,, is organizing sessions for the 2016 Leeds International Medieval Congress (July 4-6, 2016, Leeds, England) with a focus on cross-linguistic onomastics. Many onomastic studies focus on a single time and place, providing a detailed linguistic and social analysis of the names from a narrow data set. While there is no doubt these studies provide valuable information, in our sessions we seek to go beyond a narrow, mono-cultural approach. We stress the importance of looking beyond a single social/cultural/linguistic context in conducting onomastic research and are looking for paper proposals on any aspect of onomastics — place-name studies, anthroponymy, names of organizations, buildings, ships, guilds, etc. — which includes an emphasis on the comparison of data across linguistic, social, geographical, and temporal boundaries.

Please submit proposals to no later than September 10, 2015. Proposals should include the following information:

  • Title of presentation
  • Language of delivery (Deutsch, English, Español, Français, Italiano, or Latina)
  • Name and title of presenter
  • Affiliation
  • Full address
  • 100-200 word abstract

Authors will be notified whether their proposal will be included in the DMNES’s proposal to the IMC by September 20, 2015.

Any questions may also be directed to

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The Launch of the DMNES at IMC2015

Monday afternoon saw the official launch of the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources to a packed audience at the International Medieval Congress 2015 in Leeds.

DMNES launch

Photo courtesy of Rob Briggs (@SurreyMedieval)

The editor-in-chief, Dr. Sara L. Uckelman, gave an introduction to the Dictionary, providing a brief overview of the who-what-when-where-why-how (see her slides here), and then editorial assistant Dr. Nina Shiel showed how data from the Dictionary can be used — even by non-medievalists — to answer questions such as “How medieval were the names in Sir Walter Scott’s novels?” These two talks were followed up by an extremely lively and productive half hour of discussion.

It was so exciting to present our project to such an interested and enthusiastic audience. We’d like to thank everyone for coming, and encourage everyone to share news of the Dictionary with all their friends, whether medievalists or not:

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DMNES is “Feature of the Month”

We’re pleased to be the May “Feature of the Month” at Check it out!

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DMNES EiC on the radio

This morning at 10:10 GMT the Dictionary‘s editor-in-chief, Dr. Sara L. Uckelman, was interviewed by Jonathan Miles on BBC Radio Newcastle about the falling popularity of names like Gary, in a discussion inspired by this article in the Independent.

Those of you in the UK will be able to listen to the interview online here sometime later today.


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Why the DMNES? Part 3: For genealogists, re-enactors, and parents

In Part 2 of this series, we offered some reflections on reasons why what we could call the “professionals” might be interested in the Dictionary. In this instalment, we talk why the Dictionary should appeal to lay-people, to non-academics, to people who don’t devote their lives to research, to everyone who has at some point in their lives either named someone or been named themselves. (I.e., everyone!)

Genealogists: Amateur genealogists would benefit from the Dictionary for many of the same reasons that historians would. Genealogists are generally not trained in onomastics and thus do not always recognize when one name is a variant of another, and thus could refer to the same person, or are familiar with the various ways that names have switched genders over the years. A person who is familiar only with modern names could perhaps be mislead into thinking that John was only used as a masculine name.

In addition, genealogists—and indeed the general population—are often interested in the linguistic origins of their names. There is much data out there which is unreliable if not downright incorrect (witness the number of baby-name books that describe names as being ‘Teutonic’ or ‘Celtic’, or which have incorrect etymologies). The Dictionary will bring together scholarly research on the etymology of names making it a one-stop shop for those who are interested in reliable origin information.

Re-enactors: Historical re-enactors are often charged with the task of developing a name which is authentic for a particular time and location; and those who are not trained in onomastics can find this a daunting task, not even knowing what makes a good source or where to find such sources. The Dictionary, bringing together examples of common and uncommon names from many different contexts into a single source, will be an invaluable resource.

Parents: Of course, many parents could come to the Dictionary merely to satiate curiosity about the historical origins of the names they’re considering for their children. However, there is a role the Dictionary can play beyond this satisfaction. In many European countries, there are strict rules about what you can name your child, both with regard to the name pool itself and to allowable variant spellings. Members of the editorial staff have in the past been consulted by parents looking for evidence to prove the acceptability of their choices, and the Dictionary has the potential to become an incredibly useful tool for demonstrating that variant spellings which would otherwise be considered problematic are legitimate alternatives, and thus used in support of governmental petitions regarding children’s names.

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