Every Saturday, we will revisit one of our Mystery Monday names that we have solved. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and expertise, whether commenting here or on twitter or via email. You’ve all helped solve a mystery!
Today’s solution is for a 16th C Italian feminine name that we had two variants of. As it turned out, we actually had a third — but hidden under a different header name! But Gismonda, Gismunda, and Iesmonda are all variants of the same name, Gismunda, and all the citations will be together in the same entry in the next edition.
The name gained its popularity in Italy as the result of Boccaccio’s Decameron. If you haven’t ever read the Decameron, what better time than during a modern-day plague to read it?
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 found in early 16th C Italy, in a taxation record for one “Faustina cortesana in casa di madona Iesmonda”:
It’s a particularly vexing name, because for more than a year now there has been some clue about its origin hovering just outside of ready access memory, and no matter how ingenious we’ve been in our searching, we just can’t figure it out. So we’re tapping in to the collective knowledge of the internet: What is the very-similar-but-not-quite identical word that we haven’t been able to think of that is the likely candidate for this name’s origin? If you know, or have a thought, please share in the comments!