One thing that’s really fun about baptismal registers is seeing the incidence of twins being baptised, and what their names are. (A friend once did a study of a number of Welsh registers, and found that male twins were disproportionately baptised Thomas, which is an interesting comment on the transparency of the meaning to ordinary people at that time.) Because readers of this blog are likely to also be iterested in what twinsets are being named, we thought we’d do a short post on the names of twins found in the Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, parish register.
Between 1558 and 1600, 26 pairs of twins were baptised: 7 were both girls, 7 were both boys, and 12 were mixed. The pairs were named:
Those who know their literary history will spot a famous pair of twins in the list…
We’re pleased to announce the publication of our first edition of 2018, now available (well, available since last night, but we’ve been traveling since then!) at www.dmnes.org. This edition has 21 new masculine names and 14 new feminine names (the full list of new entries in this edition is below), as well as many revised and updated entries – a total of 2267 entries with 56889 citations between them.
We haven’t pushed the temporal boundaries at all – no new citations earlier than our current earliest citation – but we’ve pushed the geographical ones: This edition is the first one to have any examples of European names from North Africa! (We talked about them in a post here). We’ve also increased our representation of names from Switzerland, with a selection of 15th century charters in Latin, French, and German, showing the same count of Gruyère being recorded variously as Franciscus, Francey, and Frantz. The French form is particularly interesting, because it is not a typical French spelling (that would be Francois); it clearly is showing the influence of the Swiss German diminutive construction in -i.
Thanks to the dedication of our Hungarian expert, we’ve added many more citations from Hungary, including many interesting diminutive forms, while another of our editorial team has been working through the registers of the Walloon Church at Canterbury, providing another dimension to the multiculuturalism of 16th century England.
So here are the new names in this edition! Have a fun browsing them, and the rest of the names, here. Let us know in the comments which of the new names is your favorite!
There’s a meme (due to www.abbeytournament.com) that’s been circulating around Facebook sporadically recently, allowing people to generate their “medieval name” according to their birthday. You’ve probably seen it:
The first time it came up in a group that a couple DMNES staff are members of — a group not devoted to either the Middle Ages or to names — one editorial assistant put out a cry for “HALP”, and another swooped in with documentation. Now every time that meme comes around, we’re reminded of that thread, and finally decided to make a blog post out of it!
So, how medieval is “Your Medieval Name”? Actually, pretty medieval!
The feminine names are almost all good solid choices for late medieval England or France:
- Milicent – Yes, medieval!
- Alianor – Yes, medieval!
- Ellyn – Yes, medieval!
- Sybbyl – Yes, medieval!
- Jacquelyn – Yes, medieval!
- Catherine – Yes, medieval!
- Elizabeth – Yes, medieval!
- Thea – Possibly medieval but we’ve not found any evidence for it yet.
- Lucilla – Sort of medieval: R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain I: Inscriptions on Stone — Epigraphic Indexes (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1983), RIB 1288 and 1271, note one Iulia Lucilla in a first- to fourth-century British inscription (in this name, Lucilla appears as a cognomen), and another Romano-British inscription mentioning a woman known only as [L]ucilla.
- Mary – Yes, medieval!
- Arabella – Yes, medieval: E.G. Withycombe, The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988). s.n. Arabel(la) has a 13th C Latin example of the name.
- Muriel – Yes, medieval: A variety of forms can be found in P.H. Reaney & R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames (London: Routledge, 1991).
- Isabel – Yes, medieval!
- Angmar – Um, no.
- Isolde – Yes, medieval!
- Eleanor – Yes, medieval!
- Josselyn – Yes, medieval, but not as a feminine name.
- Margaret – Yes, medieval!
- Luanda – Um, no.
- Ariana – Not medieval: It’s a modern Italian form of the Greek name Ariadne, found in mythology, and in the Greek and Byzantine empires.
- Clarice – Yes, medieval!
- Idla – Possibly medieval. It appears that this googlebook has a Polish example of the name, but we have not been able to get more than a snippet view, to be able to confirm the date and context.
- Claire – Yes, medieval!
- Rya – Um, no.
- Joan – Yes, medieval!
- Clemence – Yes, medieval!
- Morgaine – Yes, medieval, but only used in literature, and not by real people.
- Edith – Yes, medieval!
- Nerida – Definitely not.
- Ysmay – Yes, medieval: Withycombe (op. cit.) has an example of this spelling.
The masculine names don’t fare quite so well.
- Ulric – Yes, medieval!
- Baird – Yes, medieval, but only as a surname, not as a given name. It is derived from Old French baiard or baiard ‘bay-colored’.
- Henry – Yes, medieval!
- Oliver – Yes, medieval
- Fraden – Possibly medieval, but only as a surname, not as a given name.
- John – Yes, medieval!
- Geoffrey – Yes, medieval!
- Francis – Yes, medieval!
- Simon – Yes, medieval!
- Fendel – Not medieval to my knowledge, either as a given name or a surname.
- Frederick – Yes, medieval!
- Thomas – Yes, medieval!
- Arthur – Yes, medieval!
- Cassius – More Roman than medieval.
- Richard – Yes, medieval!
- Matthew – Yes, medieval!
- Charles – Yes, medieval!
- Reynard – Yes, medieval!
- Favian – Sort of medieval, if you take it as a variant of Fabian.
- Philip – Yes, medieval!
- Zoricus – Not medieval to our knowledge, but it could possibly turn up at some point in future research.
- Carac – Not medieval
- Sadon – Not medieval
- Alistair – Medieval, but not as the nominative form of the name, only as the genitive.
- Caine – Yes, medieval, but only as a surname, not as a given name.
- Gawain – Yes, medieval!
- Godfrey – Yes, medieval!
- Mericus – More Roman than medieval.
- Rowley – Yes, medieval, but only as a surname, not as a given name.
- Brom – Yes, medieval, but only as a surname, not as a given name.
- Cornell – Yes, medieval, but only as a surname, not as a given name.
All the surnames are fine for 14th-16th C English, except these:
- Cabrera – This is Spanish, and would only have been used by women; the masculine form is Cabrero.
- Coastillon – Not quite sure what this is but it looks like a misspelling of some French place name.
- April 1: Eleanor of Aquitaine died in 1204.
- April 2: Baldwin I of Jerusalem died in 1118.
- April 3: Edward the Confessor was crowned king of England in 1042.
- April 4: Francis Drake was knight for circumnavigating the world in 1581.
- April 5: Isabella of Hainault, queen of France, was born in 1170.
- April 6: Raphael, the Italian painter, died in 1520.
- April 7: Empress Mathilda becomes Lady of the English in 1141.
- April 8: Barbara of Hesse, Duchess of Württemberg-Mömpelgard, was born in 1536.
- April 9: Lorenzo dei Medici died in 1492.
- April 10: Gabrielle d’Estrées, mistress of Henry IV of France, died in 1599.
- April 11: Stephen IV of Hungary died in 1165.
- April 12: Antonio de Sangallo, Italian architect, was born in 1485.
- April 13: Paul the Deacon, monk and historian, died in 799.
- April 14: Abraham Ortelius, cartographer, was born in 1527.
- April 15: Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452.
- April 16: Adelaide del Vasto, queen consort of Jerusalem, died in 1118.
- April 17: Bernard, king of the Lombards, died in 818.
- April 18: Lucrezia Borgia was born in 1480.
- April 19: Pope Leo IX died in 1054.
- April 20: Pope Boniface VIII founded Sapienza Universita Roma in 1303.
- April 21: Saint Anselm of Canterbury died in 1109.
- April 22: Our editor in chief, Sara Uckelman, was born.
- April 23: Dagobert III was crowned king of the Franks in 711.
- April 24: William the Silent was born in 1533.
- April 25: Sancho IV the Brave, king of Castille, died in 1295.
- April 26: Simonetta Vespucci died in 1476.
- April 27: Ferdinand Magellan died in 1521.
- April 28: Edward IV of England was born in 1442.
- April 29: Saint Catherine of Siena died in 1380.
- April 30: Amalasuntha, queen of the Ostrogoths, died in 534/535.
- March 1: Louis the Pious was restored as Holy Roman Emperor in 834.
- March 2: Dirk VI becomes count of Holland in 1121.
- March 3: Dutch theologian Gijsbert Voet was born in 1589.
- March 4: Saint Adrian of Nicomedia was martyred in 306.
- March 5: David II of Scotland was born in 1324.
- March 6: Ferdinand Magellan arrives in Guam in 1521.
- March 7: Emperor Constantine declares Sunday a day of rest i n321.
- March 8: Urraca of León and Castile died in 1126.
- March 9: Saint Frances of Rome died in 1440.
- March 10: Agnes Blannbekin, Austrian mystic, died in 1315.
- March 11: Marie de France, Countess of Champagne, died in 1198.
- March 12: Cesare Borgia died in 1507.
- March 13: The bones of St Nicephorus were interred in Constantinople in 874.
- March 14: Catherine Cornaro, queen of Cyprus, sold Cyrpus to Venice in 1489.
- March 15: On this day in 44BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March.
- March 16: On this day in 1485, Anne Neville, queen consort of England, died.
- March 17: The feast of Saint Patrick.
- March 18: Edward the Martyr, king of the English, died in 978.
- March 19: Alexander III of Scotland died in 1286.
- March 20: Cecily of York, daughter of Edward IV, was born in 1469.
- March 21: St. Angela Merici was born in 1474.
- March 22: Ferdinand II commissioned Amerigo Vespucci in 1508.
- March 23: Margaret d’Anjou was born in 1430.
- March 24: Harun al-Rashid died in 809.
- March 25: Blanche of Lancaster was born in 1345.
- March 26: Conrad II was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1027.
- March 27: Rachel Akerman, Austrian poet, was born in 1522.
- March 28: Saint Theresa of Ávila was born in 1515.
- March 29: Arthur I of Brittany was born in 1187.
- March 30: Saint Quirinus of Neuss died in 116.
- March 31: Francis I of France died in 1547.
- October 1: Edgar I was crowned King of the English in 959.
- October 2: Athalaric, king of the Ostrogoths, died in 543.
- October 3: Saint Francis of Assisi died in 1226.
- October 4: Saint Theresa of Avila died in 1582
- October 5: Alexios III of Trebizond was born in 1338.
- October 6: Samuel Tsar of Bulgaria died in 1014.
- October 7: Frederick I of Norway and Denmark was born in 1471.
- October 8: Demetrius Zvonimir was crowned king of Croatia in 1076.
- October 9: Denis, the Poet King of Portugal, was born in 1261.
- October 10: Pope Valentine died in 827.
- October 11: Pope Boniface died in 1303.
- October 12: Edwin King of Northumbria was killed in battle in 632/633.
- October 13: Eleanor, Queen of Castile, was born in 1162.
- October 14: William the Bastard won the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
- October 15: Pope Gregory XIII’s calendrical reform came into use in 1582.
- October 16: Jadwiga was crowned King of Poland in 1384.
- October 17: St. Ivo of Kermartin was born in 1253.
- October 18: Dagobert I was crowned king of the Franks in 629.
- October 19: St. Frideswide died in 727.
- October 20: Henry X of Bavaria died in 1139.
- October 21: Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Straits of Magellan in 1520.
- October 22: Charles Martel, king of the Franks, died in 741.
- October 23: Sweyn III of Denmark is killed in 1157.
- October 24: (DMNES team was out of town w/o internet access).
- October 25: Henry V of England defeated the French at Agincourt in 1415.
- October 26: Feast day of St Demetrius of Thessaloniki, who died in 306.
- October 27: Emperor Constantine had his Vision of the Cross in 312.
- October 28: Margaret I of Denmark died in 1412.
- October 29: Conradin, king of Sicily and Jerusalem, died in 1268.
- October 30: Cesare Borgia hosted the Banquet of Chestnuts in 1501.
- October 31: Nikephoros I became Byzantine emperor in 802.
Onomastic purists often shake their weary heads at the modern trend of taking place names as given names, scoffing at names such as Brittany, Dakota, Paris, Savannah, or London. “Naming a child after a place, those aren’t real names,” they mutter to themselves (forgetting, of course, that many surnames transferred to given names such as Courtney, Lindsay, Lesley, etc., were themselves originally place names). But is such a tradition all the strange or objectionable? In today’s post, we’re going to look at a very similar tradition that can be found throughout Western Europe: names deriving from words of ethnic or geographical origin. Some of these names are still in use today, some of them so common that they are no longer immediately connected with their origin.
- Dan (m.) (available in the next edition) is sometimes an example of the Biblical name Dan, but when found in Scandinavia is most often from Proto-Germanic *daniz ‘Danish’.
- Anglicus (m.) derives from a Latin word meaning ‘Angle, man from England’.
- English (f.) (available in the next edition) is an unusual quite-literal descriptive given name found in the second half of the 16th C.
- Francis (m.) and Frances (f.) both derive from a Latin word meaning ‘Frankish, French’.
- The same origin gave rise to the names Frank (m.) and Franka (f.) (available in the next edition).
- Paris (m.) and Parisa (f.) may derive either from the ancient Greek hero or the French city. (I’ve always thought the parents of one Paris de Troyes I found in Paris in 1292 had an amusing sense of humor).
- Tedesco (m.) and Tedesca (f.) both derive from a Proto-Germanic word originally meaning simply ‘of the people, folk’, but which came to mean ‘of the German people’, and is the root of modern Deutsch. The related names Theudo (m.) and Theuda (f.) (both appearing in the next edition) are also derivatives of the same word.
- Alamand (m.) and Alamanda (f.) (both to be available in the next edition) derive from the Latin name for Germany, Allemania.
Ethnic or geographical given names are fairly common in Italian (cf. Herlihy, D. (1988). “Tuscon names, 1200–1530”, Renaissance Quarterly 41 (4), 561–582).
- Lombard (m.) (available in the next edition) derives from the region of Lombardy in northern Italy.
- Scott (m.) and Scotta (f.) (both to appear in the next edition) are derived from a Latin word meaning ‘man/woman’ from Scotland’.
- Scotland itself occurs as a given name in England and France in the 11th and 12th C (see Reaney & Wilson’s Dictionary of English Surnames s.n. Scotland.)
- Alban (m.) derives from a Latin word meaning ‘of Alba’, the ancient name of Britain/Scotland.
This is by no means an exhaustive survey of all possibilities, much less of all the names the DMNES currently has (or will shortly have), but it shows a wide variety of ethnic and geographical references which have made their way into the given name pool. Geography has proved a fruitful source for given names for centuries, making the modern pattern of names taken from cities, states, and regions thoroughly in keeping with historical naming practices.
And what do these reflections have to do with Father’s Day? The Editor-in-Chief’s father’s name is Scott, and it was finding an instance of Scot in early 12th C Scotland this morning that sparked the reflections that led to this post.