By George Redmonds
Surnames have continuously supplied key hyperlinks in historic study. This groundbreaking new paintings exhibits that first names is also hugely major for these tracing genealogies or learning groups. general works on first names have constantly targeting etymology. George Redmonds is going a lot additional: he believes that each identify has an actual foundation and background of growth, which might be local or perhaps neighborhood; as much as c. 1700 it might probably also have concentrated on one relations. this article totally explores the consequences of this trust for neighborhood and kinfolk heritage, and demanding situations many released assumptions at the historic frequency of first names.
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The popularity of parallel names, like Iain in Scotland and leuan in Wales, also testifies to its success. Moreover, its overwhelming frequency as surnames were stabilising means that we have scores of names across England and Wales that can be interpreted as 'son of John', notably Jones and Johnson. However, some Johnsons were from continental Europe, immigrants who arrived in this country without a surname and whose fathers were called John. 9 First name sources after the Conquest The lists for 1377-81 confirm what was said earlier about the dramatic change in naming habits in the post-Conquest period: for only Edmund was among the top 30 names that had an Old English origin.
That was true of Withycombe in English Christian Names, and she was also apt to describe a name as 'a favourite', or to say that it was 'used a great deal', or was 'not uncommon'. Although she occasionally commented on regional usage, she actually provides us with little insight into the local popularity of most first names, and I am not alone in thinking that her views about the popularity of names in the past seem to have been based more on impression than on statistical data. It is true that she occasionally used statistics, for she did so in the introduction to her dictionary, mainly to demonstrate that from the thirteenth century 'a comparatively small number [of names] were borne by an increasingly large THE POPULARITY OF C H R I S T I A N NAMES 2/ proportion of the population'.
Dionisius' and 'Dionisia', our modern Denis and Denise, were almost equally popular in the fourteenth century and either of them might have given rise to the surnames Denison and Dennison. 4 The diminutive Diot produced the unfortunate combination Diot Coke in 1379. Quite often it is the similarity between a present-day name and its latinised spelling that can be misleading, for the modern pronunciation may have been influenced quite recently by an equivalent name introduced here from the Continent.
Christian Names in Local and Family History by George Redmonds