Author Topic: Unusual first names in Cornwall  (Read 1342 times)

Offline dtcoulson

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Unusual first names in Cornwall
« on: Saturday 03 March 18 11:41 GMT (UK) »
Hello people,

Having spent countless hours examining my ancestry in the north of England I have observed that about twenty first-names account for most of the people in the nineteenth century: Elizabeth, Isabella, James, Thomas, Joseph etc. You can probably guess the names I mean.

But now I am studying a line of ancestors in Cornwall and I am coming up against names that I have not seen before (in the early 1800s that is): Nicholas, Joanne, Susanna, Simon, Matilda....
Am I seeing evidence of some minor religion at play, or perhaps some migration from the Continent, or something else? Or are these names more widespread across England than I have observed?

Keen to hear you opinions.

-David C

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Offline KGarrad

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Re: Unusual first names in Cornwall
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 03 March 18 12:17 GMT (UK) »
A survey of the Chin/Ching family of North Cornwall, from the Protestation Rolls (1641) shows:
Richard, Roger, Nicholas, Francis, Emanuell, William, Cheren, Theophilus, Phillip, Thomas, Samuel, Anthonie and Abraham.

Cornish forenames include: Demelza, Lamorna, Loveday, Lowella, Morwenna, Tamzin, Tegen, Kenwyn, Conan, Denzel, Jago, Jowan, Kevern, Kitto, Pesco, Perran, Tremayne, Trystan and Veryan.

Cornwall is very different to the rest of England! ;D

Indeed, I once overheard a conversation in a pub:
"Where you going Saturday?"
"Going to England, shopping." - He was going to Plymouth! ;D ;D
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Offline dtcoulson

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Re: Unusual first names in Cornwall
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 03 March 18 18:44 GMT (UK) »
But is there a faith-based explanation for these unusual names?

If these people have their own church community then they would be missing from Parish BMD data.

Can we recognise a faith by the names of its members?

-DC

Offline KGarrad

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Re: Unusual first names in Cornwall
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 03 March 18 19:52 GMT (UK) »
Cornwall was always it's own community, and consider themselves separate to England.
There is a history of Methodism - in particular Bible Christians (of which some of my family were members).
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Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Unusual first names in Cornwall
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 03 March 18 21:51 GMT (UK) »
Simon and Matilda were names in England almost 1000 years ago. Matilda was sometimes Maud. Most famous was Empress Matilda/Maud, daughter of King Henry 1st who fought a civil war against King Stephen for the throne of England. Simon de Montfort was one of the most important figures in English history. Both of them were Anglo-Norman.
If it was a religious connection such as Methodism wouldn't the names be more likely to be Biblical or virtues?
There were a lot of women called Agnes among the community of one of my Catholic lines in the Fylde region of Lancashire, among them my 4xGGM b.1765. Isabella appears several times in another of my Catholic lines from that region and in neighbouring families. A son of my Agnes married a woman from a Catholic family from County Durham. She had a brother Ferdinando which was a name passed down through her mother's family. So far I've identified 5 Ferdinandos/ Ferdinands in the family, 1st born 1705. Rest of men in family have common names.

Offline dtcoulson

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Re: Unusual first names in Cornwall
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 04 March 18 08:12 GMT (UK) »
Thanks all

-DC

Offline Little Nell

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Re: Unusual first names in Cornwall
« Reply #6 on: Monday 05 March 18 22:05 GMT (UK) »
I don't think of the names you mention as particularly unusual.  From my own research I note a different group of commonly used names in different counties and even different families.  One family line in Sussex uses Susanna frequently for over four centuries.  Some of them were also fond of Philadelphia.

I've also seen plenty of men named Nicholas in both Sussex and in Lancashire.

Nell
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Offline dtcoulson

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Re: Unusual first names in Cornwall
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 06 March 18 10:27 GMT (UK) »
I have just been looking at another branch of my history, in Wiltshire and I notice those same first names popping up on-screen as I noticed in Cornwall: Susan, Rebecca, Joanna, etc. Therefore these names are not special to Cornwall, as you all have pointed out. I had not noticed this previously.

My Coulson ancestors up in Durham seemed to recycle the same twenty names over and over, giving me the impression that this was standard practice nationwide.

Anyway, thanks for the discussion, everybody. I am ready to close this topic.

-DC




Offline KGarrad

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Re: Unusual first names in Cornwall
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 06 March 18 10:54 GMT (UK) »
I think it's just a family thing?

My Vanstone family, in 1881, have few forenames:
Ann, Elizabeth, Ellen, James, John, Mary, Richard, Samuel, William being the most common.

My Garrad line used Abraham for many years - usually the eldest son - although staunchly CofE.
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)