A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  Recent ActivityRecent Activity  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 What's in a name?

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: What's in a name?   Tue 18 Jun 2013, 15:11

Surnames from the British Isles and Ireland are devised normally according to one of three general principles - they can have originated with a progenitor's own physical characteristics (O'Sullivan - derived from someone with one eye "Súil Amháin"), a physical characteristic of the locality from which the family came (Huxley - derived from Hucc's Leah "wood or copse"), or a profession pursued by some early family member (Archer, Smith, Fletcher, Thatcher etc). Often however a name bucks the trend and reveals a rather less prosaic origin. Simms, for example, is derived ultimately from the Biblical first name Simon, yet appears to have become a surname only after the derivative "simmes" had already been coined to indicate a person who was a good listener. Tyson, rather appropriately given one of its more recently famous bearers, is derived from the Old french "tison" - quite literally a firebrand and meant as no great compliment when applied to someone quick to anger. Other surnames have apparently obvious origins that prove to be no such thing upon researching them. The name Quick, for example, could understandably be assumed to have been coined with the modern interpretation in mind (cwic- was a Saxon word for "lively" then as now). However etymologically it has been traced back to "cu" and "wic", in combination meaning an outlying settlement populated by cows.



As the "son of a Viking" myself I have always been fascinated with particular origins for family names, and find myself often aghast when someone freely admits that they neither know nor care where their own name came from. Our appellations are in no small measure a time capsule of sorts, linking us directly, often over a thousand years or more, back to a time when importance was placed on identity in a manner no longer true, in which it was not enough to simply distinguish one person from another but actually unite a whole series of blood relations under one common descriptive banner. The nature of that banner reflected the nature of its bearers, or so it would seem was the prevailing thought at the time.

How does your own surname fare under scrutiny? How far back can you trace its origin and why do you think it originated in that form at all?
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Islanddawn
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2091
Join date : 2012-01-05
Location : Greece

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Tue 18 Jun 2013, 19:22

Ha, my maiden name is English but no-one seems to know the exact origins. It has one meaning in Norse and another in Anglo Saxon, so there is an aproximate timeframe but I don't know which it is. It has been a source of constant frustration over the years. 

The Irish side is more straightforward in that sense thankfully, but Maguire is so bloody common in N. Ireland that it is almost impossible to work out which one's we were. Though I'm sure we would have been the lowley pooper scoopers in the stable and not related to the big chief, nothing grand like that.
Back to top Go down
Gran
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 193
Join date : 2012-03-27
Location : Auckland New Zealand

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Tue 18 Jun 2013, 21:25

My Maiden name was Packer, apparently meaning wool packer and it hails from Gloucestershire, we had not strayed from GLS but I have wandered somewhat now.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2812
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Tue 18 Jun 2013, 21:42

Nordmann wrote:
How does your own surname fare under scrutiny? How far back can you trace its origin and why do you think it originated in that form at all?

Ummm ... it's going to be a bit difficult to discuss these in detail isn't it since one is advised never to give one's real name online? silent

Personally I don't think I'm that worried ... if anyone really wants to find out my identity I'm sure it's fairly easily hacked ... I have a French company registered in my surname, and the central register (accessible online) will give you my full name, current address, place and date of birth etc ... I also have a company website, with loads of photos (although none of me), many of which have appeared online here.

But returning to the OP ... having spent nearly three decades tracing my family tree, and having a rather unusual surname, I do have some thoughts concerning the origin of my name which I would indeed like to share with all the intelligent people here to see if my reasoning is at least sensible if not plausible..... though I hesitate before "baring my all" in case I am in all innocence about to commit some sort of online seppuku! affraid

Advice please, oh wise one .....


Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 18 Jun 2013, 22:25; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Tue 18 Jun 2013, 22:18

People also say that if you're going to put you opinions online you should also have the gumption to put your name to them, like in Letters to the Editor.  I put my name on things when I fancy. [So far no one has banged on my door with an axe or stolen my identity. Though that is a sore point at the moment - our government just yesterday, in the name of preventing money laundering, has ordained that anyone sending over $1000 (less than five hundred pounds) will have that transaction sent to the police. I can't send my sons $1000 without the police being informed.  I am not happy.]  

Anyway my married name is Deverson and we have spent some time trying to work out its origins for no real definite answer.  It seems to have come from France with the Huguenots in the 17th century, but even then people aren't sure if it derived from a place or a person.  But also people have talked of its original being Dubessis, also from France.

My maiden name was Dykes, and I saw just the other day where the house my grandfather lived in had Dikys in it in the 17th century, so that was interesting.  My grandmother's name was Hamilton, and I have written somewhere that she used to say she was descended from the Dukes of Hamilton, but I don't specifically now remember her saying that.  And my other grandmother was a Clive, which means 'cliff' and I suppose could have come from any cliff-dweller.  My family all seem to have a long line of Scottish ancestry, though one set of great-grandparents came from Ireland.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Wed 19 Jun 2013, 09:20

I can understand people being reticent about divulging their own names - sorry, that was not my intention.

However we can of course broaden the scope of the thread by inviting people to submit surnames they have found to be interesting for any reason related to their origins, be it their own name or not.

One that I remember (and here's a bit of name-dropping) was in conversation with Phil Lynnot's wife Caroline in their house many years ago and after some severe imbibing. She was the daughter of Leslie Crowther, a TV personality of the 70s, and in those pre-internet days the sudden drunken need to determine the roots of their surname had to be tackled by ringing anyone who we thought might know (at some ungodly hour of the night). Amazingly we got an answer - and a polite one at that - from a cousin of mine who was into folk music and old musical instruments. The Welsh "crowd" was the origin of the name, he could tell us, a "Crowder" or "Crowther" being the person who played it. A "crowd" was a sort of rudimentary violin.

That sobered us up.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Wed 19 Jun 2013, 10:38

Have found a mention of the instrument in Wycliffe's bible - it pops up during the story of the prodigal son according to Luke:

But his eldre sone was in the feeld, and whanne he cam and neighede to the hous he herde a synfonye and a crowde.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Thu 20 Jun 2013, 01:15

Rather a lot of names round here are of the mundane variety, basically Anderson or Johnson. Or there are those ones which sound as if you must have aristocratic forebears but which don't mean that at all - King, Duke, Prince etc.  Though perhaps Fitzroy might be more useful in this respect.

I have a book mostly about first names from rolls in the 14th century.  But he has one part talking of an influx of working immigrants from the continent, especially the Dutch and Bretons and Flemish people.  They were given names or descriptions like Hatmaker, Stolemaker, Clokmaker, Goldsmith, Webbe (weaver)and Shoemaker.  Also Chef, Croche and Gres, either occupational or from placenames of Brittany.  And Braban, Brabiner, Fleming and Douchman show Low Countries ancestry.
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 806
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Thu 20 Jun 2013, 23:50

Caro wrote:
the mundane variety, basically Anderson
That was my maternal grandmother's maiden name. She'd be mortified to think it was considered mundane.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 00:14

My mother's maiden name.  She died too early for me to know what might possibly mortify her. 

It must be mundane if half the people on this board have near relatives with it!
Back to top Go down
ferval
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2545
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 08:05

Anderson - my husband's maternal granny's maiden name too so clearly common as muck. Of course my pedigree on my mother's side being Stewart/Burns positively reeks of heritage, unlike the paternal Smiths.
Back to top Go down
Priscilla
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1884
Join date : 2012-01-16

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 11:10

Well, good heavens! I have never been that much interested in the father family name origins because they are proven in a straight llne back to the early 17th C. Anyway, on seeing this thread I did a casual browse on line and found a wealth of earler stuff that stuns me - with casual mention of the familt starting point with estates dating back to the 12C in parts west - with places and several buildings still using the family name. And reading on I learned that a main and important heiress in the 16C was one named Priscilla! So I stopped there. I really don't think the immediate family will be that much interested though -I wonder? In truth does it matter much that they should?
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 806
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 13:22

ferval wrote:
Anderson - my husband's maternal granny's maiden name too so clearly common as muck.
Maybe common in Scotland and the South Island of New Zealand but not at all common in Kent where I'm from.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 13:37

It is said (by Wikipedia) that it owes its early popularity to Scotland. However in Scandinavia the place is rather teeming with them too though I am not aware of any great affiliation between Scandinavians and St Andrew. Most of them couldn't tell the difference between a golf club and a fringe-toothed marmoset.

In my OP I was however trying to get at the etymological root of certain names. Even with "son of Andrew" there must have been a first use of the term, probably in relation to one specific person, and it would be lovely if that first association could be determined. Difficult with Anderson, I know, but at least with a name like Broadhead there is some rather juicy speculation that can be undertaken regarding the first incumbent of the family crest (and they have one too!). Apparently this could either have derived in Saxon times from someone with - literally - a broad head or maybe a broad hood (though I imagine that also points to a broad head beneath it).

Flatman, on the other hand, indicates no such physical abnormality. It apparently indicates a person who operated a "fleot" and can be traced back to the 5th century in the Fen District. In that part of the world a member of that family was a very important member of the community indeed!
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 806
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 17:53

nordmann wrote:
it owes its early popularity to Scotland. However in Scandinavia the place is rather teeming with them too
Yes the name Anderson definitely conjures up images more of Stirling or Stockholm rather than Sandwich.

That said - there was a kid at my school in east Kent who had the unusual name of Knought - pronounced 'coot' with a silent 'n'. He said that his father was from Fife. Never worked out what the origin of that name was though. Does anyone know?
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Fri 21 Jun 2013, 22:44

Rather oddly, at our historical society's mid-winter dinner last night people started talking about the origins of surnames (a discussion not initiated by me).  They decided they had heard there were five reasons behind them - from a first name (Wilson, Perkins), from occupations (Smith), from places - I don't know if that one category includes both specific places like France and generic ones like Field -, from personal attributes - Cruickshank.  We couldn't think of the fifth reason.  I have a book on surnames and where they came from originally, but don't know where it is at the moment. 

I think Anderson would have cropped up in too many different places more or less at once to be able to place a definite first one.  In the 14th century it was the 28th most popular name - though that didn't mean it was used all that often. 

Last night my husband reminded me that his mother's mother was a Turtle and his father's mother was a Fowle.  Someone at the table had been a Finger.  (Someone at the table said it was a shame a Finger hadn't married a Dykes.) I don't think Finger or Turtle would come from the words that seem obvious, but we haven't checked the etymology of Turtle as a name.  I see a site saying:

firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, from a nickname for a mild and gentle or affectionate person, deriving from the Middle English "turtel", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "turtle, turtla", meaning turtle dove. Secondly, it may be of Old French origin, from a nickname for a crippled person, from the Old French "tourtel", a diminutive of "tourt" meaning crooked. Thirdly, it may be of Old Norse origin, from the Old Norse personal name Thorkell, a contracted form of the name composed of the divine name "Thor", the name of the God of Thunder in Scandinavian mythology, plus "ketill" cauldron. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below).
Back to top Go down
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 330
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Sun 30 Jun 2013, 07:07

My sons have the surname Thirkill in their ancestory, of Scandanavian origin.  A Thirkill is recorded as fighting on the English side at Sandlake (Hastings) - one of the few recorded names on the English side.  Although they cannot trace back their ancestory to him I like to hope that they were descended from him.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 01:54

Perhaps they go right back to Thor, Tim!

I’ve found my surnames book (two of them actually). They both talk of four reasons for surnames – occupational, from first names, nicknames and from places. Many names overlap these or are uncertain which they came from first. I mentioned earlier that what might sound obvious often isn’t the case and they give a lot more examples of that. A name like Death or D’eath may come from a player of death in morality plays or may be from Aeth, a place in Flanders, but P.H.Reaney (pronounced Rainey, though not by many people to his distress) thinks it is real origin is in a rare Essex occupational name "Dethewright", a maker of tinder, which survives as Deathridge. Deether and Deetman have the same origin.
Two that interested me were Quarrell and Pottipher (in various forms). They are both linked to weapons and fighting. Quarrell is not a person who is quarrelsome but is a short, heavy, square-headed arrow or bolt for a cross-bow or arbalest, or is an arbalester, the person who makes a quarrell. Thus it is an occupational name (as are Kidgell, Hansard, Harness, Springall, though there is an argument for thinking of them as from nicknames for people who used them).
Pottiphar, Pettiver, Pettiford was interesting to me. The explanation for it is rather long, and links to Champion as a surname too. Champion from a combatant in a water of battle. My book says that in the ordeal by battle in criminal cases the accuser and accused took the field themselves, but in land disputes people were represented by champions "in theory their free tenants, but in practice hired men, professional champions, and very well paid". They were used by very high-up people, but also for more ordinary folk. In the land disputes the champion was supposed to be a witness who could swear they or their fathers saw the seisin (legal possession of the property – I suppose that means they needed to have seen the paperwork for this) but often people didn’t. They quote Elias Pugin who swore he had sold an animal to a defendant, but was accused of being a hired man with a fertile imagination and condemned to lose a foot and a fist. With this punishment relatively common people were known by the names of Handelesse and Stelfot which names have not survived. But the French equivalent of Ironfoot has and is seen in Pettifer, Pettiford and Pottiphar.
This page and the next couple are very interesting on fencing and fighting, and perhaps I might start a thread for anyone who knows more about its history. Mine is rather confined to the Regency period of duels.
Back to top Go down
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 330
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 08:44

Hi Caro

Quote :

Perhaps they go right back to Thor, Tim!

Thirkill at Sandlake is quite alright for me, he did exist.

regards

Tim
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 09:47

The name is rather more common in Sweden than in Norway (these days normally suffixed with "sen" or "son") and derives from "Thor" and "kjetil" ("helmet"). This was most likely the meaning intended when coining the surname - though the word was later also used for a specific type of iron pot used for boiling water, leading in turn to the English "kettle" and subsequent confusion in English regarding the name's meaning ("cauldron", "sacrificial cauldron" etc).
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Tim of Aclea
Consulatus
avatar

Posts : 330
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 12:12

Thanks for the information on Thirkill Nordmann
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1700
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 21:06

Caro wrote:
People also say that if you're going to put you opinions online you should also have the gumption to put your name to them, like in Letters to the Editor.  I put my name on things when I fancy. [So far no one has banged on my door with an axe or stolen my identity. Though that is a sore point at the moment - our government just yesterday, in the name of preventing money laundering, has ordained that anyone sending over $1000 (less than five hundred pounds) will have that transaction sent to the police. I can't send my sons $1000 without the police being informed.  I am not happy.]  

Anyway my married name is Deverson and we have spent some time trying to work out its origins for no real definite answer.  It seems to have come from France with the Huguenots in the 17th century, but even then people aren't sure if it derived from a place or a person.  But also people have talked of its original being Dubessis, also from France.

My maiden name was Dykes, and I saw just the other day where the house my grandfather lived in had Dikys in it in the 17th century, so that was interesting.  My grandmother's name was Hamilton, and I have written somewhere that she used to say she was descended from the Dukes of Hamilton, but I don't specifically now remember her saying that.  And my other grandmother was a Clive, which means 'cliff' and I suppose could have come from any cliff-dweller.  My family all seem to have a long line of Scottish ancestry, though one set of great-grandparents came from Ireland.

Caro
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1700
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 01 Jul 2013, 21:39

Caro and Meles,

lost my message.

"People also say that if you're going to put you opinions online you should also have the gumption to put your name to them, like in Letters to the Editor.  I put my name on things when I fancy. [So far no one has banged on my door with an axe or stolen my identity. Though that is a sore point at the moment - our government just yesterday, in the name of preventing money laundering, has ordained that anyone sending over $1000 (less than five hundred pounds) will have that transaction sent to the police. I can't send my sons $1000 without the police being informed.  I am not happy."

yes, for instance on the French messageboards, writing under my real name, I don't always say what I really think, especially on islamic subjects. For instance such innocent subjects as Al Andaluz can lead to very hot and acerbic discussions. And you never know even in Belgium... Wink 

Anyway for my surname and about my forebear Wink

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richarius

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Riquier

http://www.genealogie.com/nom-de-famille/RIQUIER.html

From this site:
Signification du patronyme RIQUIER

Origine : riquier est une forme normande et picarde de richier, variante de richer, nom de personne d'origine germanique richari, compose de ric qui signifie puissant et hari qui signifie armée.

the name is composed of "ric" signifying powerful, as in Vergincetorix, latin "rex", French "riche", indian "Radja" but also "rijk" (empire, land) and so on
and of "hari" Dutch "heer", "heir" signifying army, but from a Belgian etymologist (professor De Brabandere) I found also "crowd" so that
it could also mean powerful crowd, people or land of that people...

Kind regards,

Paul.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Tue 02 Jul 2013, 16:00

A dear friend of mine in Germany had a surname "Eidt" (Oath). It is still a common enough name, especially in Bayern. But it pained me that no one bearing the name I met could provide me with an explanation for its origin. The romantic in me presumed that therein lay a great story. That the story had been forgotten, and that no one seemed to care either, was heartbreaking.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Thu 24 Oct 2013, 10:04

We were in a historical church cemetery in Castleton in the Peak District on Wednesday and I noticed there someone called Thomas Wildgoose, which wasn't a name I had ever come across before.  I haven't got access to names books and find the internet not the most reliable place to search for etymology of names, but it seems to have used in much the same way with the same meaning since surnames began.  I see there is uncertainty about whether it came from a keeper of geese or someone with the shy, reticent, suspicious attitudes of a goose.  About 30 spelling variations have been noted, with the earliest uses Wildegus or similar.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Wed 19 Mar 2014, 23:54

An article in our paper recently reminded me of this thread.  A Trade Me (NZ equivalent of EBay) television ad said, "There was once a time when the name of your family defined your job. Cooks were born to cook. Smiths were born to work with metal.  And the Ramsbottoms? Well, the name says it all."  And there was a picture of a little girl with the surname Ramsbottom being handed a glove while a close-up of a bleating ram was shown.

Someone complained to the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds this was defamatory.  "The name has nothing to do with 'rams' in any form, the derivaton being from the pre-7th century Olde English word 'hramsa' meaning garlic and 'bopm' which strictly speaking means land at the bottom of a valley suitable for agriculture." However the authority said there reference didn't meet the threshold to be considered to have portrayed people with that name in a manner that was reasonably likely to cause serious or widespread offence or widespread hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule."  They didn't say "get a life" though they may have been what they thought, as it must be with lots of the complaints they get.

Though I do wonder why some names, like Ramsbottom or Cocksedge or Woodhead, haven't been quietly redesignated over the years. I can't see Ramsbottom in my Origins of English Surnames but Hegenbotham and others support his derivation of valley for the Bottom part.
Back to top Go down
LadyinRetirement
Decemviratus Legibus Scribundis
avatar

Posts : 711
Join date : 2013-09-16

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Fri 28 Mar 2014, 10:44

Without stating my forename directly, it is a feminine form of St Patrick's name.  I can remember when I was much younger consulting a book of names which said my name designated a noble Roman.  Some bright spark said I had a noble Roman nose roamin' all over my face to match my name.  My Dad's side of the family were from Liverpool (or strictly speaking the Liverpuddlian suburbs) and had a sharp sense of humour.  The only thing to do was develop one myself (i.e. a little vinegar in my comments - not develop an even larger nose) when we went to visit family in that city.  Now it's true I don't have a cute little turned-up nose but it doesn't roam all over my face either  - honestly, it doesn't!!!
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Tue 15 Apr 2014, 04:24

I was reading our neurological foundation magazine the other day and the research fellows included some quite unusual names (I can cope with the people's names and designations - what they are studying is a different matter.  Dr Maggie-Lee Huckabee for instance was given a grant for Incidence, aetiology, and pathophysiology of pharyngeal mis-sequencing in dysphagic patients with neurologic impairment.

Hers was one of the names I noticed, and though I would consider it likely to be an American name, I see its etymology stems from place-name elements in Britain (though the specifics of this seem to be arguable).

But the one I specially noticed was Professor Byblow. I can't find anything to tell me where that comes from so am assuming it is just what it says.  And the other one that I had never heard before was Dr Searchfield. It seems quite a relevant name for a researcher. A surname website says: This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place believed to have been situated in the south west of England, especially Dorset and Somerset, because of the high incidence of early surname recordings from that area. The component elements of the placename are believed to be the Olde English pre 7th Century male given name "Saeric", sea-ruler, found in Middle English as "Sarc, Serc", and later as "Sarch" and "Search", with "feld", open country, land free from wood, plain
Back to top Go down
Islanddawn
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2091
Join date : 2012-01-05
Location : Greece

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Thu 17 Apr 2014, 18:53

The data base of Uk surnames has reached 45,000 entries dating back to the middle ages.

The ‘Family Names of the United Kingdom Project’, which is being carried out by a team at University of the West of England – Bristol, has reached a key milestone with the completion of the first phase of the database with 45,000 surnames researched and explained. The full dictionary of surnames is due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2016.

Surnames covered in the research range from the very common to less well-known names with unusual origins.

The colourful name of Threadgold, with 730 bearers has its origins in the old English words for ‘thread’ and ‘gold’ for an embroiderer who used golden thread. It was first recorded in 1166 and now has numerous variants including the Norfolk name Trudgill. Most English surnames have several variant spellings. The Family Names project has tracked these down and explained them.

A far more common name, Parkin (Perkin, Parkyn, Parken, Perkins) first recorded in 1309, derives from Middle English Pere(s), from Norman French P(i)ere(s). The name has a wide geographical spread across Great Britain with 12,220 bearers of the name. Parkin is also the name of a popular cake common in Northern England.

The study included not only names of English and Scots origin but also names of Irish, Gaelic, Welsh, and Cornish origin as well as Huguenot and Jewish. Special procedures were developed to study recent immigrant names (i.e. those appearing after 1881) such as Indian, Chinese and a range of Muslim names, with the cooperation of overseas consultants.

The main product of the research will be a database accessible like an online dictionary, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2016, who also intend to publish it in book form. Each entry has separate fields which include: the meaning of the surname, the linguistic origin, the geographical origin, the distribution at the time of the 1881 census, and the modern numbers and distribution.

http://www.medievalists.net/2014/04/14/database-uk-surnames-reached-45000-entries-dating-back-middle-ages/
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1700
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Thu 17 Apr 2014, 20:01

Islanddawn,

we have here in Belgium a professor, who made the same study for about 150,000 origins of names from Belgium and the North of France....
I had the honour to met the man in the local library of Bruges Belgium.
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frans_Debrabandere
Licenciate in Germanic philology at the Catholic University of Louvain, Ph.D in 1965.
http://www.boekenbron.nl/boek/debrabandere-frans/verklarend-woordenboek-van-de-familienamen-in-belgie-en-noord-frankrijk-9789050661249/
Etymological dictionary of the surnames in Belgium and Northern France.
Dictionary for m Dr. Frans Debrabandere.
More than 150,000 surnames. Not only Dutch but also Walloon, Picardian and German ones. Goes back to the medieval form.
Each surname is concisely explained and if possible with historical evidence illustrated, from which the explanation and origin can be derived. Also references to publications on a particular surname.
There are also translations of the terms in French, German and English.
There is a new print available from 2003.

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2966
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Thu 24 Apr 2014, 13:20

"Surely you can't be serious?"

"I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

A line from the film Airplane. The name Shirley, as a forename, was originally a male name, and occasionally still appears as one, as in the case of the wrestler Shirley Crabtree aka "Big Daddy". All of this changed thanks to the publication of this book in 1849; 




After which, Shirley became a predominantly female name, popularised in the 1930s by Shirley Temple.
Back to top Go down
MadNan
Praetor
avatar

Posts : 135
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Saudi Arabia/UK

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Thu 24 Apr 2014, 13:52

My mothers maiden name was Fisken which I thought was quite exotic until discovering it was extremely common in Norway.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Thu 24 Apr 2014, 14:34

It's not at all common in Norway as a surname. However it is very commonly said by people as it means "the fish".
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
MadNan
Praetor
avatar

Posts : 135
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Saudi Arabia/UK

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 28 Apr 2014, 12:46

Oh well there goes another family story - I must be honest even the minimum of research online has destroyed many of our family legends.  My mother thought she must be descended from Vikings and instead it is just a name for fish!!
Back to top Go down
LadyinRetirement
Decemviratus Legibus Scribundis
avatar

Posts : 711
Join date : 2013-09-16

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 28 Apr 2014, 13:46

Something similar happened recently to me on the Crucifixion thread, Nan; I had thought from what had been told to me that one of my grand-dads had suffered field punishment tied to the gun while it was in action but according to Gilgamesh the recoil from the gun would have broken anybody's neck.  Still field punishment even on a still gun was not very pleasant.  Mind you, your Mum could still have been descended from Vikings because quite a lot of Scandinavians must be thus descended, albeit a long way back.  Perhaps "Fiskar" denotes that your ancestors had something to do with the fishing trade, much of which does take place by the sea and I imagine it was likely coastal Scandinavians that used to go "viking" (this is just me surmising).  But there could be some truth in your family story.
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 28 Apr 2014, 14:00

Clarification:
Guns of that era actually moved to the rear on recoil to an extent that the wheels turned at least half a revolution, thus the unfortunate sufferer would be inverted, and his neck broken, as the wheel went round, if his head protruded above the upper circumference when in battery.

FWIW - I thought the general idea was that you went a-viking after the harvest was in - like much mediaeval warfare, farming came first.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 28 Apr 2014, 14:24

Viking wasn't linked to the harvest, no, though I have often read that too. The current thinking now in Norway is that it never really existed as portrayed in common English tradition and what became the generic term in English was simply on the basis that a viking party or parties were the first to be identified on British soil, possibly long before the first recorded aggressive raid. In Norwegian "viking" is a rather benign term meaning simply "harbour hopping" and was rarely associated with aggression. It was seasonal only in that it corresponded with weather conditions permitting long distance trading etc to take place. It is possible therefore that the first "Vikings" in Britain were in fact simply traders or small-time raiders who had been operating at a low level for quite a while before the full realisation struck them of what could be gained from a more systematic and aggressive approach aimed primarily at lucrative church holdings. For all the sudden surprise the British monks registered when first they were raided they were amazingly quick at giving these raiders that name, suggesting that it was already the one in circulation in English-speaking areas.

In Ireland they were never called Vikings, though they were raided by the same parties in the beginning. Likewise in other European lands they acquired different generic names (vis present day Russia, Normandy etc).

Of course once the systematic raiding began and was being controlled by the "høvdinger" back home then some management of human resources allowing for agriculture and raiding to both reap maximum profits would have been intelligent. We just don't have any records - documentary or archaeological - confirming a link between raiding activity and harvest collection. They appear to be have been quite independent, suggesting the thralls took up the slack at home while the family members were off on their jollies..
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Islanddawn
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2091
Join date : 2012-01-05
Location : Greece

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Wed 30 Apr 2014, 05:12

Apparently it has become popular to choose a name for a child that has some historical significance these days. Here are 10 Medieval female suggestions from London taken from the records

http://www.medievalists.net/2014/04/29/girls-names-medieval-london-usual-ones/

Dionysia (feminine form of Dionysos) from the god of the wine harvest, and Diamanda meaning invincible or untamed. Both are Greek names, their parents must have enjoyed reading Ancient Greek writings? Or why not just call Dionysia by the English equivalent of Denise? But Diamanda would have been really really unusual outside Greece, still is in fact.
Back to top Go down
LadyinRetirement
Decemviratus Legibus Scribundis
avatar

Posts : 711
Join date : 2013-09-16

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Wed 30 Apr 2014, 11:16

I've heard of a few Letitias (not with the spelling Leticia) though I would not say it was a common name.  I suppose the best known would be the actress, Letitia Dean, who has played "Sharon" in Eastenders off and on over the years (a bit like the way I've watched the said series).  I have heard of the name Sabine but for German ladies (my knowledge of German is limited to "das ist der kugelschreiber" - I did an elementary course many years ago and have forgotten most of my learning there).  Island D's post intrigued me and I did some searching online and came across this. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2610995/Milicent-Elvina-Alfred-Olde-English-names-making-comeback-Game-Thrones-effect.html  So apparently a faux-medieval fantasy series (which I have watched sometimes) has something to do with the phenomenon of a revival in medieval names. A teacher friend of mine taught a little girl called "Madonna" when the singer Madonna was at the height of her fame; the child's name was shortened to "Donna" though which isn't so bad.  Alluding to the "Game of Thrones" effect apparently some folks in America are calling their girl babies "Khaleesi" though that would be a different link.  I don't think I'd lumber a child with that moniker.  But then calling children after characters in books is not terribly unusual.  "Jancis" after the character in Mary Webb's "Precious Bane" and "Pamela" after the eponymous novel spring to mind. The Mail link lists "Audrey" as a ye olde Englisshe name that is making a revival but I have known a few Audreys in my time and some of them would have been pre-Audrey Hepburn so they could not all have been named for her.  I wondered if the ye-olde worlde name "Ankaret" was an Anglo-Saxon variant of the Welsh name "Angharad" but that is just me surmising - I may be way off course.
Back to top Go down
FrederickLouis
Aediles
avatar

Posts : 71
Join date : 2016-12-13

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Sat 17 Dec 2016, 22:44

One of my great-grandmothers  had the maiden name of Fazekas. Fazekas is Hungarian. It means a potter. Fazék is Hungarian for pot.
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 806
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Sun 18 Dec 2016, 11:32

A Hungarian potter certainly makes a difference from a Czech serf which had been suggested as a possibility on the Ghost of Christmas Past thread.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5635
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: What's in a name?   Mon 20 Mar 2017, 13:37

Ages ago on this thread I expressed my dismay that the family name of a dear departed friend in Bayern "Eidt" (Oath) seemingly had no origin story, or at least one that any Eidts I asked had ever bothered to think about. Imagine my delight therefore when quite by happenstance (or even happy stance) I met another Eidt on Saturday here in Oslo. Not only had she traced the name back to get to the roots of her family but she could tell me that it arose from the first Saxon emperor of what had been the Carolingian empire but by his time was falling apart.

Henry the Fowler, while not setting up a buffer state of Danes "Dann Marke" between him and some rather aggressive ex-Carolingians further west and south, also tried to implement a rudimentary feudal system with other German counts and the like whereby they and their subjects swore fealty to him as top dog. The counts refused to play ball with Henry, so there was a constant hassle throughout his reign trying to figure out who was onside and who wasn't. When people incidentally migrated into his Saxon territory from these places they therefore adopted the name "Oath" to readily display that they were on Henry's side, at least as long as they were making a living in his patch. All sounds very plausible to me - I can die happy now ...

In the same conversation the question of Trump came up. Undoubtedly a German name from Bayrisch "trumpe" (drum), though not now a very widely used name in modern Bavaria - and in fact probably will do the equivalent in the nomenclature stakes as "Adolf" the way things are going. However - like Eidt - no Trump apparently has figured out yet why they should be called after a percussion instrument, something that seems to have started around the early 18th century.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
 

What's in a name?

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of expression ... :: Language-