Names from Lallaing 1384 - 1600
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Names from Lallaing 1384 - 1600

by Domhnall na Moicheirghe (Donald Campbell, [email protected])


The data is taken from Numérisation des archives de Lallaing by Grégory Joseph (, an online archive of documents concerning the commune of Lallaing (a town in the north of France near the Belgian border) from the archives of the Nord Department and from the mayor of Lallaing. High resolution photographs of a 1933 inventory were taken and transcribed into HTML by the website's author. I have checked the website data against the photographs and removed typographical errors for this transcription, but any errors made in the 1933 transcription will remain.

The names have not been standardised or modernised in the transcriptions, although there is a modernised index of bynames for genealogical purposes available at the website.

I have retained accents where found in the online data. Given that names can be found in the data both accented and unaccented (e.g. Helaine and Hélaine), it is unclear whether accents in the online data were taken from the original documents or added inconsistently in the 1933 transcription.

The data is commonly in the form <Given name><Byname>, <spouse/child of> <Relative's given name><Relative's byname when different>. This format has made it easier to identify the gender of uncommon names and spelling variants for the same name.

The data consisted of over 7,500 name entries for approximately 2,500 different people dating from 1384 to 1600. Although the online data extended into the 19th century, I limited the data used for this index strictly to the SCA’s period of interest.

As the entries were official records for the commune, the names of mayors and clerks are found repeated many times, whereas other residents may have only one or two entries.

Name Structure

The vast majority of names (over 95%) were of the form <Given name><Byname>. The remaining names included one or more ekenames in addition to the given name and byname.

Throughout the archives, all bynames were inherited from the father. People did not change byname after marriage. Rarely, women are recorded using a marked feminine version of their father’s byname – these marked feminine names are noted in the bynames index.

Ekename(s) almost always come after the byname. Only two name entries included the ekename(s) before the byname and both used parentheses: Adrien (alias:Andrieu) du Castillon and Ysabiel (Belote) Descaries.


The most common type of ekename was age based. 42% of ekenames used mean either “the elder” l’Aine/le Maisnet/l’Aisnet or “the younger” le Jeune/le Jone/le Josne.

Non-age-related ekenames are almost always marked with dit, but some other markers and unmarked ekenames can be found in the ekenames index.

Ekenames can be either a given name (e.g. Alavaine, Hottu) or a byname (e.g. du Bacque, du Bois). Some people are recorded using both alternates - Jehan de Robaix dit Telu is also recorded as Telu de Robaix.

Most ekenames are personal, but a few ekenames run in familes – 5 different individuals have the pair of bynames Bauchant dit Fierabras.

Of the approximately 5% of entries that included one or more ekenames, the following statistics were noted:

  • 64% of male name entries with an ekename had the given name Jehan (or variant spelling). As the most popular name in period France, men named Jehan were in most need of a differentiating ekename.
  • 38% had a byname from the 10 most common bynames in Lallaing: Thiremont, Bauchant, de Robaix, de Marcquettes, Fourdin, de Wambrechies, Flocquet, de Rastenghien, Vaix and Mabille.
  • Only 9% were female – the proportion of the total female names in the data that include an ekename is 1.4%.

I have divided ekenames between masculine and feminine based on the gender of the bearer, but ekenames based on bynames could be used by either gender.

The Indexes

There are five indexes taken from the data:

  • Masculine given names
  • Feminine given names
  • Bynames
  • Masculine ekenames
  • Feminine ekenames

Each index lists spelling variants under the most common variant, except where a spelling variant was common enough to justify its own entry. Spelling variants were determined by identifying the same person in more than one entry using variant spellings. The most different spellings was for Ysembart de Marcquettes, a mayor of Lallaing, with 40 different spellings of his name from 109 entries.

I and Y are often interchangeable, particularly initially. I have listed all names of this type under the Y variant although in some cases the I spelling is more prevalent. All I spellings have an equivalent Y spelling, but the converse is not true.

I have included single instances of odd spellings of common names, but I suspect they may be scribal errors in the original or in the 1933 transcription (Narcq for Marcq, Nauconvent for Mauconvent).

For most given names, there were sufficient markers (husband, wife, son, daughter, etc.) to identify the gender. In the indexes, I have included notes next to names which were used by both genders or where I had to guess the gender to allocate it to the masculine or feminine index.

The indexes include the earliest and latest dates for each name. I have not included all the dates for each name as there is no evidence to suggest names were not popular throughout their respective date ranges.

As some residents of Lallaing appear frequently in the archives, high frequency counts are not necessarily indicators of popular names. However, the relative frequency counts within each header form are a good indication of the popularity of each spelling variant.

The top 10 most frequent given names are:

Rank Male given names Female given names
1 Jehan Jehenne
2 Pierre Marie
3 Anthoine Jehanne
4 Jacques Marguerite
5 Jehans Jenne
6 Jacquemart Catherine
7 Simon Anthoinette
8 Robert Katherine
9 Martin Jacqueline
10 Loys Pieronne

Lallaing is close to the French border with German-speaking states, so it is unsurprising to find some Germanic spellings (Jan, Mary, Mathias, Willame). I have listed them under the French equivalent header. They are found throughout the data but are concentrated in the entries between 1484 to 1503 and after 1550, possibly due to German-speaking scribes or influences at those times.

There is only one two word given name in the data: Petit Jehan, also found as Petitjehan. Excluding prepositions and articles, there are a few two word bynames, some with a one word variant: Verde Avaine (Verdavaine), Frère Menut (Frèremenut), Corache Huvet, Longhe Espee, and du Mont Bernenchon.

Masculine Given Names in Alphabetical Order

Masculine Ekenames Names in Alphabetical Order

Feminine Given Names in Alphabetical Order

Feminine Ekenames Names in Alphabetical Order

Bynames in Alphabetical Order