Mitchell O'Sionnach

What's in a Name?

20 posts in this topic

What were common names/naming traditions during the GAOP?

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ummm, people, boats, places???? sorry mate kind of vague question. what ya looking for?

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If you're talking about given names I can tell you that we've discussed the fact that middle names were virtually non-existent until later in the 18th century. The best way to research names from any specific country or area is to search birth records by city, county, etc.

Example: The most popular given names taken from church records in the greater Boston area from 1635 to 1680* were:

1. Mary

2. Sarah

3. Elizabeth

4. Abigail

5. Hanna

6. Rebecca

7. Ann/Anna

8. Deborah

9. Joanna

10. Martha

1. John

2. Samuel

3. Thomas

4. Nathaniel

5. Joseph

6. Josiah

7. Benjamin

8. Jonathan

9. Isaac

10. Daniel

The top baby names in 1710** in Boston show some repeats:

1. Mary

2. Elizabeth

3. Sarah

4. Abigail

5. Susanna

6. Hannah

7. Ann/Anna

8. Rebecca

9. Lydia

10. Jane

1. John

2. William

3. Thomas

4. James

5. Samuel

6. Joseph

7. Nathaniel

8. Jonathan

9. Richard

10. Henry

* Names taken from the Windsor Church Records, sample size: 478 girls, 533 boys. Research by Caitlin GD Hopkins

**This list is based on the Boston Birth Records for 1710, so it is not applicable to the colonies as a whole. The Boston Birth Records generally include children of all races born within the city limits, but it is possible that births to enslaved Africans and Indians may have been under reported. The sample includes 140 girls and 129 boys.

 Research by Caitlin GD Hopkins

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Names for People, And thank ye very much for yer swift replies, What about last names?

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Are you looking for a name for yourself? If so, you may already have a pirate name. For example, my given name is William, and William is in the top 20 for popular boys names throughout the GAoP, so I simply hung on to it. In hindsight, I might have kept my surname as well, since the Pace family came to Jamestown in 1611, but I went with a an older family name. Brand. Coincidentally, I've actually found a few William Brands on registries around the colonies. There are no hard and fast rules for surnames, but you should follow names of the period from whatever region your particular pirate would come from.

Another quote from the research of Caitlin GD Hopkins.

"There are plenty of unusual names in the 1710 Boston Birth Records. My favorite is Cumby Mires, with honorable mention honors going to Pool Varney, Beamsly Perkins, Palsgrove Hunt, and Gammon Stevens."

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Don't forget the other nations present in North America, too - the French, Spanish, Dutch, Basque and Huguenot. When I decided to keep my totally rad mustache, I decided on a French impression. In my character bio, 'Matty Bottles" isn't my given name - that is Jacques Bataille*. "Matty Bottles" is just what my English, Scottish and Irish shipmates call me, because I signed the articles as Matelot Bataille (Seaman Bataille), and they couldn't read French. I would also accept 'Matty Batty', 'Jack Batty', and 'Jock Batty'. Looking back, it's sort of too cute a story than I prefer, but I found there was a Bataille in Lousiana in 1719 and one in Michilimackinac a generation later, so I am reluctant to change it now, even if no one knows that is why I go as Matty Bottles.

And don't forget a good nickname, too. You could choose a non-descript name like "John Smith" and spice it up by calling yourself Scabby Jack, for example. I'd hang out with a pirate name Scabby Jack for sure, dude. Ot, if your first name is Matt, and you drink too much, you could call yourself Matty Bottles, for example. :D

*Although I tend to find transgressive literature tedious and reactionary, but I suppose that is not pertinent to the discussion.

Edited by Matty Bottles

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Thank ye all, kind sirs. And Matty, though it not be pertinent, It was interesting, thank ye fer sharin'. I'll have to let ye all know what I decide on. I'm leaning toward Samuel, However I shall have to ponder the surname. Or I suppose my persona may have never known his surname, and never saw a need for one. Haha.

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My surname is based on a misspelling. (Seriously.)

The first name I chose out of a list of period French names, looking for one that had something to do with medicine.

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If it helps, I have a list of period English names on my blog, including surnames. It's not an exhaustive list, and I can't vouch for how common most of them are, though it might be possible to take a good guess. Other helpful sites are the Medieval Names Archieve (they have names from the early 1600s), British History Online, or a really good genealogy site (for example, Alliance-Généalogie was a great help for finding French Names).

Don't forget the other nations present in North America, too - the French, Spanish, Dutch, Basque and Huguenot.

I'm starting to regret dragging my feet on putting up my other name lists. They need a lot of work, though, before they're ready for the internet.

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Oh, and I forget the Swedes, anyway. And the Spanish, of course, OBVIOUSLY the Spanish.

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How about some Puritan names? Names like "God Willing", "Wisdom", and "Charity"? After the return of the monarch plenty of the once powerful Puritans fled to the colonies.

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Check perid obituaries. Names that come with a backstory. My first name is James and my middle name is Warren. So I did an internet search for that name, found a Capt. James Warren who lived in New England at exactly the right time, dying in 1719. Turns out he was a militia Captain, not a maritime captain.

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If you're searching for names by emigration from one country to another you might check 'passenger lists' and 'convict lists' as well

Examples:

http://web.archive.org/web/20021224140828/http://members.aol.com/dcurtin1/gene/passent.htm

http://www.genealogy-quest.com/collections/allconvicts.html

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An Irish passenger list of the St. George, which sailed from Waterford in London on Cotober 7th 1677 bound for Maryland.

http://members.tripod.com/~Data_Mate/irish/Stgeor1.txt

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Not to keep flogging a dead horse, but we have a list of about 2000 pirates by name, sorted by nationality in this thread. (Nobody loves my thread. Even Foxe bitches about it despite the fact that he was instrumental in creating it.)

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Not to keep flogging a dead horse, but we have a list of about 2000 pirates by name, sorted by nationality in this thread. (Nobody loves my thread. Even Foxe bitches about it despite the fact that he was instrumental in creating it.)

Whoa - I've never seen that before. That's a great thread! Good job!

*hands Mission a cookie*

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Cookies?

I want one!

As for names:

Personal names where largely biblical at the time for Christians, which the Boston names mentioned in the first part reflects. Eunice is the name of the mother of Timothy (the young man who worked under Paul in evangelism), as mentioned in the Epistle of Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5).

The same us true across Europe, each in the appropriate language translation. For example, Jahannan (Hebrew for "God is Gracious) became: John, Sean, Ian, Jean, Juan, Ivan, Johann (German, with Hans and Jan as variations), Giovanni, Jovan, and many more. (out of curiousity, I typed "John Language variations" in google just now-> this wiki showed by that illustrates my point: http://en.wikipedia....hn_(given_name) )

In the 1500s-1700s, John was so common in Scotland that it spawned the switch of "Jack" (derived from Jacob) into a nickname for John and the usage of "Jock" for Scots (there is a bit of history involving the James-line of kings in that too, but not needed here).

Other names come from past kings and heroes that pasted into common usage, like Charles (from Charlemagne), Arthur (from the KIng Arthur legends, which was probably a title rather than an actual name-> like ***** the Arthur, originally based on a real person's exploits, as it appeared suddenly and commonly in the 500s as s given name), Edward, Richard, William and many, many more.

Last names are largely the same as in the US, just much, much more isolated in place-of-usage. From a surname, one could often tell where a person was from. If you go or are from a place with deep roots, the surnames around you are also common in the early 1700s. In my small town and the one just below it, the most common surnames are:

Cooper, Bishop, Jacobs, Rogers, Musgrove, Hall, Vaughn, Stewart, Kitchens, Suber (a HUGE extended African-American family), Todd, Wilson, Neel, Banks, Wallace, Renwick, Allan, and others of Scottish or English origin. The Scottish part was an Associate Presbyterian group moving together from Antrim Co, Ireland around 1770 (and some that came just afterwards) I also know folks with the name Parr, Bland, Young, King, Moore, and others. There was also a HUGE German Lutheran settlement from Saxony in the 1760s, bringing the names Boozer, Bedenbaugh, Halfacre, Shealy, and a bunch more that pretty much ID one from a particular county in South Carolina, but are common enough here that most think nothing of it. Not far was a large French Huguenot settlement, so there French-rooted names are extremely common- even if they think they are English or "Scotch-Irish" in origin.

My own roots include a number of those family names. The names also now overlap and seem "common" where I live, even if many are rather odd and "unique" elsewhere.

So, picking a name for literature or a persona, look into settlement areas and specific towns-of-origin for surnames. Also, remember that in trading cities, people were almost just as mixed as today, as people DID move around in the period and travel and settle far from home. That said, settlers often moved in-clump to areas, so the names of an area often reflected where they came from.

Edited by Tartan Jack

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For places, many names were rooted in something.

In the Colonies, towns were named after:

Physical traits: Long Cane, White Point, Oyster Point (where Charleston, SC's Battery is today), Little River, Leveland

Variations of native names: Saluda, Cataba, Pee Dee, Jalapa

Named after specific people, often ruling monarchs: Jamestown, Charles Towne/Charleston, Williamstown, Williamsburg, Georgetown (post period)

Named after a hoped for blessed future or prosaic: Port Royal, Providence, Hope, Pleasure, LightTown, Prosperity, Columbia, Mount Pleasant, PromisedLand, Greenwood (derived from the RobinHood stories)

After a specific place "Back home" or a variation: Plymouth, Tidmouth, Birmingham, Darlington, New Sterling, New Perth, Newberry, Dublin, Loundon, Jedburg, Abbeville, Beaufort

Some are cryptic to outsiders, but are based directly on the specific history of that town: Six-Mile, Union, Ninety-Six, North, Due West, Corner, Frog Level

ALL of those are all actual places in South Carolina, founded between 1680 and 1770, mostly in the early 1700s. Naming convention didn't change that much between 1700 and the American Revolution, so that is a good representation.

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Ships:

Best to look at ship lists, as there are MANY on this site in the Capt Twill section

The names are too varied to list any conventions . . .

Hoped for results

Hoped for blessing or safety

A person, place, or combination

Animal

Poetic

Mythical or legendary allusion

Political or social message

Some are seemingly random . . . the meaning lost in time

I'll have to let someone else add meat to those bones.

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I have a small book with the name: "Piraten encyclopedie" (pirates encyclopedia), it's dutch and it contains a long list of 1000 Dutch (pirate like) people with their names and known surnames and their history (if that exists). the ISBN is 90-5911-273-3. So if your into dutch pirates and your able to read a little dutch, I guess it would be a nice addition to your bookshelf..

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