Beowulf before Beowulf: Anglo-Saxon Anthroponymy and Heroic Legend

Since the inception of Beowulf scholarship approximately two hundred years ago, debate has persisted concerning the nature of the poem’s eponymous hero. Is he a historical Geatish prince or is he a fictional character inserted into a historico-legendary world?

Naming Particulars: A Thirteenth-Century Debate on Whether Individuals Have Proper Names

This dissertation is about a debate that occurred in thirteenth-century philosophy over an apparently bizarre question: Can individuals really have proper names?

New Database of 45,600 Family Names Dating Back to the Middle Ages

A new book and database of family names has been released this month, allowing users to learn about over 45,600 of the most frequent surnames in Great Britain and Ireland, many of which date back to the Middle Ages.

Excavating Past Population Structures by Surname-Based Sampling: The Genetic Legacy of the Vikings in Northwest England

The method of historical surname-based ascertainment promises to allow investigation of the influence of migration and drift over the last few centuries in changing the population structure of Britain and will have general utility in other regions where surnames are patrilineal and suitable historical records survive.

The most popular boys’ names in Tudor England

What were the most popular names for boys in England during the 16th century?

The most popular girls’ names in Tudor England

What were the most popular names for girls in England during the 16th century?

Epic (and Not-So-Epic) Names from Mallory

Looking for a name for your avatar? Look no further! Everyone knows Lancelot and Gawain, but here are some lesser-known names from one of my favourite books: Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.

The Multilingual Origins of Medieval Irish Surnames

Surnames came into widespread use in Ireland at a time where five vernacular languages were in operation – Irish, English, Norse, Welsh and Norman French.

Ten Great Anglo-Saxon Girls’ Names

We’ve come up with our ten favourite girls’ names – if you are considering a different type of baby name, perhaps you will pick one of these!

Boys’ Names from Medieval London (not the usual ones!)

Looking to go back to the Middle Ages to name your newborn son? But you don’t want to go with the names everyone knows. Try these ten names!

Girls’ Names from Medieval London (not the usual ones!)

Looking for that great ‘medieval’ name for your newborn daughter? Here are ten names from medieval London that you may never had heard of!

Database of UK surnames has reached 45,000 entries dating back to the Middle Ages

The ‘Family Names of the United Kingdom Project’, which is being carried out by a team at University of the West of England – Bristol, has reached a key milestone with the completion of the first phase of the database with 45,000 surnames researched and explained.

Medieval Pet Names

What did people in the Middle Ages name their dogs and cats?

If the name fits: names in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fiction

The nomenclature within Tolkien’s novels is very carefully done, taking into consideration attributes such as etymology, symbolism, and onomatopoeia. In some instances the author has drawn from Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse, but most of his creations emerged from his own invented languages Quenya and Sindarin, the two main tongues spoken by elves.

Old Norse Nicknames

What role do nicknames play in expressing cultural sensitivities and ambiguities in medieval Icelandic and Scandinavian society? How did they develop and become so common especially during the medieval period?

On the Origin of the Name of Lithuania

Lithuania’s name was first mentioned as Lituae (the genitive form of the Latin word Litua) in the entry for March 9, 1009 AD in the Annals of Quedlinburg recording the martyrdom of St. Bruno.

Regional variation in Finnish lake and hill names

Regional variation in Finnish lake and hill names By Antti Leino Nordiske navnes centralitet og regionalitet (2007) Abstract: The Finnish basic map, and the database used by the National Land Survey to produce it, contains over 300 000 dicerent toponyms and over double that amount of named places. It is impossible to study the distributions […]

Name Change as a Consequence of Monastic Ownership

Name Change as a Consequence of Monastic Ownership By Jan Agertz Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences (2009) Abstract: The normal assumption is that old Swedish habitation names are original, and the first recorded for a farm or hamlet. There are however other examples – even medieval. The most common reason for […]

William, Agnes, among the most common names in medieval England

A study of personal names recorded in a major English medieval record source has revealed that ‘William’ was by far the most common name among the men listed in it. Meanwhile, ‘Alice’ and ‘Matilda’ are almost tied for most common female name. Beth Hartland, one of the Research Fellows on the AHRC-funded Henry III Fine […]

The Naming Patterns of the Inhabitants of Frankish Acre

The Naming Patterns of the Inhabitants of Frankish Acre By Iris Shagrir Crusades, Vol.4 (2005) Introduction: The anthroponymic method and analyses that have been developed and used in medieval studies in recent decades perceive the personal name as one of the means by which a social group may express itself. These methods enable researchers to […]

Geoffrey Plantagenet: surname inspirer

The nickname Plante Genest of Geffrey, count of Anjou is generally taken to have inspired Plantagenet even though this is not in evidence as a royal surname until three hundred years after his death.

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