Christian Names in Local and Family History by George Redmonds

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By George Redmonds

Surnames have continuously supplied key hyperlinks in ancient study. This groundbreaking new paintings indicates that first names is also hugely major for these tracing genealogies or learning groups. ordinary works on first names have constantly focused on etymology. George Redmonds is going a lot additional: he believes that each identify has an exact starting place and background of enlargement, which are neighborhood or perhaps neighborhood; as much as c. 1700 it could possibly also have concentrated on one family members. this article absolutely explores the consequences of this trust for neighborhood and kin heritage, and demanding situations many released assumptions at the old frequency of first names.

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In fact the Norman influence is evident almost everywhere, most obviously in the frequency of names with a Germanic origin, that is William, Richard, Robert, Henry, Roger, Walter, Hugh, Geoffrey and Ralph. It is evident also in less-frequent names such as Gilbert and Reginald, and the Breton Alan. The influence of the Church is apparent in Adam, from the Old Testament, and the names of the apostles and saints, especially John, Thomas, Simon and Peter. Stephen, Philip, James, Matthew and Andrew were much less prominent, as were the names of the archangel Michael and the non-scriptural saints Denis and Laurence.

The population may have been small, and in some regions scattered, but our ancestors would have expected to meet people on a regular basis at the town well, at the corn mill, at market, at church, at the manorial court, and in those towns where the assizes and quarter sessions were held. 5 Popular male names Jor the period 1377-81 We are accustomed to thinking of our first name as something that identifies us personally, chosen as a distinguishing characteristic, so the overwhelming frequency of just a few names in 1377-81 raises fascinating questions about how distinctive John, William and two or three more were and what the motivation of the name-givers might have been.

These lists can be commented on individually or combined to give a total of 10,000 (see Appendix i), allowing us to say whether a name was popular locally or generally. It was thought desirable to have lists from different regions but because fewer women's names are given it was not always possible to find 1,000 names in a specific county. The Dorset list had therefore to be supplemented with a very few names from neighbouring Hampshire, and to find 1,000 names in north-west England it was necessary to combine the territories that make up modern Cumbria.

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