Mystery Monday: Nodia

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.

16th C English mystery names are loads of fun, because they are the most rare. Today’s name is found in a parish register from St. Antholin, so we have clear gender information — masculine — but no other clue as to the origin, and it’s certainly not a name we’ve found in any other context!

Nodia

Do you have any thoughts as to the origin of this name? Or found any other examples of it in your own research? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Mieszko / Mikso

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’ve got two entries which we’re pretty sure are ultimately one entry. It’s a masculine name with examples found in Poland and the Czech Republic, in Latin and in Middle High German.

Mikso

Mieszko

One reason that these haven’t yet been combined into a single entry is because it’s not clear what the canonical name form should be, if we did. And the reason why it’s not clear what the CNF would be is because this is pretty clearly a diminutive — so it shouldn’t be in an entry of its own, but instead these citations should all be folded into the entry for the full form of the name. The question is: What is that form? What is this name a nickname of? Michael? Nicholas? Something else? This mystery should be pretty straightforward to solve, and we’d love your assistance! Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Mystery Monday: Liawiso

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 Germanic name found in Hamburg which is unusual in that we have a number of different examples of it in the same source, including one variant (Liebizo) which we aren’t entirely sure is the same name.

Liawiso

In fact, we aren’t sure anything about this name — is it dithematic? Is it a nickname? Have we guessed a good normalised form? — except that it is Germanic, and masculine.

If you’ve got any thoughts about the origin of this name, please share in the comments! We’d love to know.

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Mystery Monday: Komana/Komemka

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 double-barrelled mystery, two names which we suspect might be related to each other, but where we aren’t sure:

Komana

Komemka

Both names are masculine names found in 16th-century Finland, in Swedish-language records. The -ka suffix of Komemka makes us wonder if it’s a diminutive, and that in turn makes a connection with Komana likely — but this is just linguistic guessery at this point. We’d love to know more about the origin of this name/these names, and any other information you might have that would confirm or deny a connection. Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Josiere

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 registers of the Walloon church in Canterbury in the second half of the sixteenth century are full of wonderful names — names reflecting the Protestant sensibilities of the immigrant community, names that reflect the specifics of the Walloon dialect, names that show how the immigrants integrated with the local community (many of the baptismal witnesses are local Englishmen and women). They are also full of names that we haven’t come across before, and can’t easily identify, such as today’s mystery monday name:

Josiere

It’s a feminine name, both from its grammatical form and from the fact that it shows up in a baptismal record where the gender of the child is indicated explicitly. It has the form of a femininization of a masculine name, with the hypothetical masculine name being Josier, but this is not a name we’ve come across before. Have you, either the feminine or the hypothetical masculine form? Have any thoughts about its origin? Please share in the comments!

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Mystery Monday: Inoffio

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 Italian, from late 14th century Genoa.

Inoffio

It sort of feels like a variant of Onofrio (one of the coolest names in the DMNES — it’s of ancient Egyptian origin!), but “sort of feels like” doesn’t explain where the \r\ has gone, or the change in initial vowel. We’d love to have something more reliable than “sort of feels like”! Do you have any info on the origin of this name? Other examples of it? Please share in the comments!

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Looking into history: Unexpected finds

In this post, we take a look at some of the names in the ONS girls’ names data from England and Wales (up through the first 300) which may surprise some people by turning up in the Middle Ages.

First up is no. 41 Imogen — historically thought to have first appeared post-1600 as a typo in a Shakespearean play, the name has an alternative history, dating back to medieval Germany.

Ancient Greek name Penelope (no. 48) came into use in England in the 16th, part of a fad for classical names. (Nickname Penny (no. 198) is more modern, though.)

No. 65 Ada has an old-fashioned feel to it — but did you know it’s roots go back at least to the 9th C in France?

Biblical names Lydia (no. 130), Leah (no. 136), Esther (no. 173), Naomi (no. 178), Rebecca (no. 186), Tabitha (no. 204), Lois (no. 215), and Rachel (no. 323) became popular amongst French, Dutch, and English Protestants in the 16th C, as did virtue names like Faith (no. 135). Interestingly, Hope (no. 139) is a virtue name that we haven’t yet found any pre-1600 examples of, though Esperanza from Latin sperantia ‘hope’ is found in 15th-16h C Spain and Italy (but not in the ONS data!)

Modern name Ottilie (no. 164) is a variant of medieval Odile, popular in France especially in the diminutive form Odelina.

No. 169 Laura first became popular after Petrarch as the poetic name for his love; it spread from Italy to France, Italy, and England over the 14th and 15th centuries.

Here’s a surprising one: Maia (no. 176). The DMNES entry is still in draft form, but we have two Low German examples from the 16th century; variant Maja (no. 192) is not an unreasonable alternative medieval spelling.

French-origin name Amy (no. 189) was popular in England from the 14th C onwards.

No. 196 Alba occurs in Catalan in the early 16th C.

Golden name Aurelia (no. 212) was used in Renaissance Italy. While name no. 361 Sapphire is generally interpreted as a gem name, when the medieval form Sapphira was used in 16th C England, it was more likely in reference to the New Testament character.

Did you know that Alana (no. 216) is a medieval name? It’s the Latin feminine form of Alan, and appears rarely. (Variants that add extra ls or ns or hs, such as Alannah (no. 472), Alanna (no. 650), Allana (no. 1788), Alanah (no. 1887), and Allanah (no. 3178) and compounds like Alana-Rose (no. 2901) and Alana-Rae (no. 5666) are not generally medieval.)

Nickname Effie (no. 236), usually a pet form of Euphemia (no. 4684), shows up in 16th C England (as does the full name itself) — a rare instance of an -ie or -y diminutive ending in medieval England!

Name no. 243, Talia we have examples of in 13th and 16th C Italy; there’s no entry for the name yet, as the etymological origin of the name is uncertain.

Names of classical gods and goddesses became popular in the Renaissance, including Diana (no. 275) found in both England and Italy (Diane (no. 3178) is a French form; Dianna (no. 3985) and Dyana (no. 48684) are modern forms). In general, the Latin names were preferred over the Greek — which means while we don’t have Athena (no. 239), Atene (no. 5666), Athene (no. 5666) (or the compound Athena-Rose, no. 4684) in the DMNES data, we do have Minerva (no. 2187). (The compound Diana-Elena (no. 5666) is also modern.)

Modern-day Melody (no. 312) is found in the Latin form Melodia in England during the fad for fanciful Latinate names in the 13th C. It’s during this period that we also find Amanda (no. 602).

Name no. 213 Remi shows up in medieval France — but as a masculine name, not a feminine name. Similarly, Alexis (no. 323) can be found right across Europe, but only as a man’s name.

The roots of Christmas name Natalie (no. 354) go all the way back to the early Middle Ages — it shows up multiple times in the 9th C, which makes it an incredibly well-witnessed early French feminine name!

We’ll tackle names from no. 400 down in a future post.

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