Tag Archives: Gislold

Announcing Edition 2020!

With about 40 minutes to spare, we did manage to get a new edition out in 2020!

2020 was a tough year for everyone, and things have been alternating really quiet and super productive here at DMNES central. If there’s one thing that was a pure, unalloyed joy and benefit of the upheaval of the pandemic, it was joining Mt. Holyoke’s internship scheme which facilitated the joining of four interns on our staff over summer, with one continuing on through the fall term as well. Much of what’s in this new edition — new names, new citations, updated info on Biblical and literary forms — is due to their hard work; and while some of their other work isn’t yet reflected in published editions, it’s laid the foundations for some exciting projects in the future.

So, on to some stats! The new edition has 2592 entries, with 77,248 citations distributed across those entries. (The entry with the most citations remains John, 4533 citations! That’s nearly 6% of all citations in the Dictionary in that single entry.) (Hah, as I was writing this up, our technical guru asked whether the numbers for Mary were comparable. I laughed, and said “no way, that name was never as popular, and he wanted to know the details. So: we have 832 citations for Mary, accounting for 1% of our data. Compare this to three other popular feminine names — Katherine, with 775 citations; Elizabeth, with 1159; and Margaret, with 1281 citations.)

This edition has a total of 931 distinct feminine names, 1658 masculine names, and 3 where the gender is uncertain. Of these, 44 of the feminine entries are new to this edition:

Women’s names
Agtrude
Albina
Ansilde
Aurofina
Baltrude
Bellabona
Benenata
Berna
Bernswith
Bernwara
Bertlinde
Desideria
Dominilde
Durande
Dutberta
Ermenalda
Fortuna
Gendrada
Godberg
Grimberg
Gundberg
Heilsinde
Lautrude
Lea
Lefhild
Liutwarde
Lodberta
Madalgarde
Maga
Maira
Meinfrida
Merberta
Novella
Odelrada
Oteria
Othilde
Percipia
Polemia
Radwise
Rolande
Sighilde
Warntrude
Wendelbalda
Zenobia

And there’s 98 new masculine names in this edition:

Men’s names
Adald
Adebert
Adegrim
Aitfrid
Aldebert
Amaro
Andger
Arner
Arno
Austrulf
Bago
Baldrad
Baldwald
Benenat
Benno
Bernulf
Bertbert
Bertmar
Bertram-Robert
Bertrick
Bodo
Bonald
Charles-Emmanuel
Cuthred
Dadmar
Daghard
Dodbert
Dominic-Amicus
Drutrich
Eckbald
Erchambert
Ermenald
Ermo
Everald
Folobert
Fortune
Fredebald
Gardulf
Gardwin
Gelbald
Gerhard
Gislold
Gordian
Hartnich
Helmger
Hemlwich
Hemlwin
Herger
Hildegrim
Hundolf
Hungrim
Isenbald
Isenbern
Isengrim
John-Andrew
John-Angel
John-Charles
John-Peter
Lantgrim
Liberat
Liebizo
Liutgard
Liutrad
Lodbald
Lodwin
Madaler
Madalrich
Marcrad
Marcrich
Merard
Merbod
Nantwin
Norwin
Noto
Odelrad
Otbald
Otgisl
Otrad
Peter-Andrew
Polydorus
Radger
Reinrich
Richbert
Richbod
Richsind
Rother
Sigwald
Sinbald
Sinbert
Theodeger
Waldemar
Waldemund
Wendelbald
Wilbald
Wildrad
Wineger
Witbert
Witrich

May your 2021 be filled with wonderful names! (Like Bertbert. Bertbert is such a great name.)

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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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Monthly topic: Why did medieval people choose the names they did?

Things have been rather quiet over at DMNES central over the summer as our staff members have been busy going to conferences, enjoying their holidays, and working on research papers. Now the summer sun is gone and the fall days are coming, and we’re hoping to get more active here on the blog again.

There are many interesting aspects of historical naming practices that one can study, and one of the most difficult ones is the question of motivation — why did medieval parents (or parish priests in some cases!) choose the names they did for their children? Very rarely in the records that we have to hand are explicit reasons given; sometimes, strong implicit evidence can be deduced from context, such as a child baptized by the same name as an elder, already deceased, sibling. General trends can also be identified, such as rises and falls in the popularity of saint’s names (I have long since wondered if the reason why Thomas is the most popular male name in the 16th C parish registers of Ormskirk, Lancashire, while in every other contemporary data set, the most popular name is John, is because of some connection with Saint Thomas in the town; however, I’ve been unable to find any such connection), or the rise of virtue names, which we’ve discussed before.

But information at the specific level is generally incredibly rare. This is what makes the Polyptyque d’Irminon such an amazing resource. The document was compiled around 823 by Irminon, abbot of Saint-Germain-des-PrĂ©s, and was a catalogue of the lands owned by the abbey between the rivers Seine and Eure. As part of the catalogue, the names of the tenants are recorded — and not only the tenants, but also the names of their wives, and their children. This makes the polyptyque a treasure trove of 9th C names which is almost unparalleled — among other things, it is one of our best witnesses for Frankish/Old French feminine names.

Entries are formulaic, and tend to repeat the same information. Here is a representative example:

Giroldus servus et uxor ejus colona, nomine Dominica, homines sancti Germani, habent secum infantes II, his nominibus, Gisloldus, Gerardus. Tenet mansum ingenuilem I, habentem de terra arabili bunuaria IIII, de vinea aripennum I, de prato dimidium aripennum. Cetera similiter.

Girold slave and his tenant wife, by name Dominica, people of Saint Germain, have by themselves two children, by name Gislold, Gerard. He holds 1 free farm having 4 bunuaria of arable land, 2 arpents of vineyards, and half an arpent of pasture land. The rest is similar.

(From this you can see that the source is an amazing trove of information about medieval farm culture, if that’s your thing.) This example was picked at random, but also for a purpose: Take a look at the men’s names, and you’ll see that the names of the sons both reflect the names of their father! Gislold shares the deuterotheme with Girold, while Gerard shares the prototheme — Gir is a common French variant while Ger is a more typically German form.

Examples of similar patterns — including women’s names, and combinations of both parents names, especially when the number of children grows — can be found on pretty much every page, and we’ll spend some time this month looking at some of the examples. They show a fascinating glimpse into the reasons and motivations behind the names!

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