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Migrants in Medieval England, c. 500-c. 1500$
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W. Mark Ormrod, Joanna Story, and Elizabeth M. Tyler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266724

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266724.001.0001

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Personal Names as Evidence for Migrants and Migration in Medieval England

Personal Names as Evidence for Migrants and Migration in Medieval England

(p.120) 5 Personal Names as Evidence for Migrants and Migration in Medieval England
Migrants in Medieval England, c. 500-c. 1500

Peter McClure

British Academy

This chapter examines the extent to which given names (birth names) and second names (bynames and hereditary surnames) can reliably indicate the origins or ethnicity of individual migrants between the ninth and the fifteen centuries, and how such names may be used en masse to reveal migration patterns, whether they reflect military conquest, international trade or population movements within England itself. Particular attention is given to the names of Vikings, Normans, Flemings and Jews, among others, and to questions of social class and gender. A central theme is the sometimes complex, ambiguous or incomplete nature of the data and the need for a discriminating methodology in which onomastics(the study of names),historical linguistics and prosopography (the collective study of individuals’ lives) are seen as complementary disciplines, acting as checks and balances on each other’s conclusions.

Keywords:   Given name, Byname, Surname, Ethnicity, Social class, Gender, Linguistics, Prosopography

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