|German Names from Nünberg, 1497|
Articles > Names
Women's Surnames in 15th- and 16th-Century Germany
by Sara L. Uckelman
|genitive in -s||140||42.4%|
|feminine in -in||95||28.7%|
|genitive in -en||35||10.6%|
|locative (von + <place name>)||19||5.8%|
|genitive in -z||8||2.4%|
|genitive in -s + locative||3||.9%|
|unmodified + locative||2||.6%|
|genitive in -en + locative||2||.6%|
|genitive in -en + mu[o]ter||1||.3%|
|feminine in -in + locative||1||.3%|
This data set contained a large number of women's names, but only 62 of the women were identified with any type of byname. Of these 62, their byname patterns mirror the type and distribution found above pretty closely:
|feminine in -in||35||56.5%|
|alt or allt 'old' + feminine in -in||12||19.4%||Used almost exclusively by widows.|
|genitive in -s||5||8.1%|
|genitive in -en||1||1.6%|
The dataset from Nürnberg 1497 and the surrounding areas has, in my opinion, the neatest way of forming these relational bynames: The woman uses both her husband's or father's given name and his surname in the feminine or possessive form, e.g.
In addition to this construction, you also find the standard construction of just using the husband's or father's surname feminized:
In the 1497 data from cities surrounding Nürnberg, I have also found example where the feminine form was formed by adding -yn instead of -in:
In the data from Nürnberg alone, there were 235 women mentioned, and in the data from the surrounding cities, 358 women were mentioned, for a total of 593 women. The byname type frequencies are as follows:
|feminine in -in||393||66.3%|
|masc. given name + surname feminized in -in||105||17.7%|
|genitive in -i||13||2.2%|
|feminine in -yn||8||1.3%|
|masc. given name + unmodified surname||5||0.8%|
|locative (von + <place name>)||4||0.6%|
|masc. given name + surname feminized in -yn||2||0.3%|
|genitive in -y||2||0.3%|
|masc. given name + possessive surname in -i||2||0.3%|
|masc. given name + possessive surname in -s||1||0.1%|
The data from Hamburg is distinctly different from the other data sets; the dialect spoken in Hamburg during this time was a Low German dialect, whereas the Bavarian dialects spoken in the areas discussed above are High German dialects. Despite this fairly dramatic lingual difference, the patterns of surnames are almost identical. Most of the women mentioned in my source documents were listed without surnames; for the discussion below, I have only considered those which were.
Virtually all of the women recorded with surnames in this source used the possessive form, either in -s or -en; I found no examples of feminized surnames. Some examples are as follows:
|genitive in -s||10||45.4%|
|genitive in -en||9||40.9%|
|von + <placename>||1||4.5%|
|<father's name + s> + dochter 'daughter'||1||4.5%|
Academy of S. Gabriel Report #2391 also briefly discusses feminized surnames in Low German:
Their information comes from Zoder's Familiennamen in Ostfalen.
Baden-Württemberg 1495: Schmid, Peter. Der Deutsche Orden und die Reichssteuer des Gemeinen Pfennigs von 1495: Die Grundherrschaft des Deutschen Ordens im Reich an der Wende vom 15. zum 16 Jahrhundert. (Neustadt: Degener in Kommission, 2000.)
"German Given Names from 1495"
Rottweil (also in Baden-Württemberg) 1441: Mack, Eugen, Das Rottweiler Steuerbuch von 1441. Königsfestgabe des Rottweiler Geschichts und Altertumsvereins unter der Schirmherrschaft Seiner Majestät König Wilhelms II von Württemberg. (Tübingen, H. Laupp, 1917.), pp. 126-151
"German Names from Rottweil, Baden-Württemberg, 1441"
Nürnberg 1497: Fleischmann, Peter, Reichssteuerregister von 1497 der Reichsstadt Nürnberg (und der Reichspflege Weissenburg), (Nürnberg: Gesellschaft für Familienforschung in Franken, 1993.)
"German Names from Nürnberg, 1497"
Zoder, R., Familiennamen in Ostfalen. 2 vols. (Hildesheim: 1968)
The original article can be found at: http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/german/womenssurnames.html