Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present): - Matronymic Bynames (Southern) -
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Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna and Lillia de Vaux

- Matronymic Bynames (Southern) -

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September 2012 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

Last month, we discussed matronymic bynames from northern Europe. This month we're continuing the tour. We'll continue this discussion with matronymic bynames in southern Europe, the Middle East, and the little we know about Eastern Europe.

On the Iberian Peninsula, there are a few relatively early examples of literal matronymics in Spanish and Catalan. They are found either as unmarked name elements like Maria Teresa or as descriptions like Johan, fijo de Toda Soriana. However, these names did not survive to create family names. In sixteenth century Portuguese, on the other hand, unmarked matronymics like Lianor, Maria, and Antonia (all from Aryanhwy merch Catmael "Portuguese Names from Lisbon, 1565." Literal matronymics are also found in Basque country, in forms like those found elsewhere in the Iberian Peninsula. Karen Larsdatter (in "Basque Onomastics of the Eighth to Sixteenth Centuries") reports a c. 1200 Urraquarena that may be an inherited matronymic byname; other examples follow Spanish or Catalan patterns.

Literal matronymic bynames are found in Italian, taking the form di Francesca or di Monna Angela. A few of them become family names: Giovannella or Pera. However, they are not common.

Matronymic bynames are rare in Arabic, but we have found dozens of examples. The information we have is found in "Son of the Hot-Tempered Woman" (http://medievalscotland.org/jes/ArabicMatronymics/). The notable thing is that these matronymics are found only alone or as family names which can follow a literal patronymic byname.

Our data from Eastern Europe is scanty, which means that lack of data for matronymic bynames is not conclusive. We know that there are matronymic bynames in late period Hungary; details can be found in the Academy of Saint Gabriel report 2956 (http://www.s-gabriel.org/2956). Matronymic bynames are also found in Russian (see Paul Wickenden's Dictionary of Russian Names http://heraldry.sca.org/paul/zgrammar.html for more details). I do not currently know of matronymic bynames in other Eastern European languages, but that may be due to a lack of data.

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