Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present): - Culturally Mixed Names -
Articles > Names

Collected Name Resources from LoARs (2010-present)

Articles from Juliana de Luna and Lillia de Vaux

- Culturally Mixed Names -

Back to Collected Name Resources from LoARs

January 2012 - Juliana de Luna Link to LoAR Cover Letter

Submitters are often interested in persona stories (and names) that involve culturally mixed backgrounds. We allow the registration of certain language mixes, but that's not what I want to deal with today. Instead, I want to talk about what the documented cultural mixes look like.

The first occasion when we see "culturally mixed" names is when people move from one part of Europe to another. There are a handful of famous examples. The English mercenary John Hawkwood was known in France as Jehan Haccoude and in Latinized Italian as Johannes Acutus (Giovanni Acuto). The Spanish princess Catalina de Aragon was known in English as Katharine of Aragon. Note that in each case, the name is written following the standards of a single language, with the given name "translated" into the local equivalent. The bynames are dealt with differently: sometimes translated, but also sometimes rendered phonetically.

We see the same thing in the Gaelic-speaking areas of Ireland and Scotland. Names are rendered either completely in Gaelic or completely in Anglicized forms. An amazing collection of Anglicized forms of Gaelic names can be found in Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada's "Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents" (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnglicizedIrish/). You can see the opposite - English family names rendered in Gaelic - at http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/Feminine/DescriptiveBynames.shtml (in the section labeled "Hereditary Surnames found in Feminine Names").

So, while we allow a name to be registered that mixes a given name written in Gaelic and a byname that's Anglicized, that's not how they would have been written down in period. Instead, the name would exist in two forms, one completely Gaelic and the other completely Anglicized.

The same is true of these other language mixes: while people moved from one place to another, their names changed as they went. So, while we allow names to be registered that mix certain languages, it's not the period way to solve the problem.

Back to Collected Name Resources from LoARs