Discussion:
OT - help with a female personal name
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Bronwen Edwards
2018-11-08 22:45:39 UTC
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In the late 18th and early 19th century my Evans ancestors had arrived in the US. For several generations there were Evans women in that line whose personal names were "Wilmoth". I have never seen this anywhere else as a woman's personal name. Is this a common name among, for example, Welsh folks? Or people in the Carolinas at that time? Thank you in advance for your time.
taf
2018-11-09 02:01:42 UTC
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Post by Bronwen Edwards
In the late 18th and early 19th century my Evans ancestors had arrived
in the US. For several generations there were Evans women in that line
whose personal names were "Wilmoth". I have never seen this anywhere
else as a woman's personal name. Is this a common name among, for
example, Welsh folks? Or people in the Carolinas at that time? Thank
you in advance for your time.
Doing a search for Wilmot in Vivian's Devon Visitations turns up dozens of women with this given name. I quick scan of the matches shows the overwhelming majority of them date from the second half of the 16th century but I see a few more recent, one in the 19th century. While uncommon, the name was not exactly rare among the Devon gentry at least.

taf
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2018-11-10 17:43:33 UTC
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Post by Bronwen Edwards
In the late 18th and early 19th century my Evans ancestors had arrived in the US. For several generations there were Evans women in that line whose personal names were "Wilmoth". I have never seen this anywhere else as a woman's personal name. Is this a common name among, for example, Welsh folks? Or people in the Carolinas at that time? Thank you in advance for your time.
I don't know about Welsh custom, but it was a fairly common practice in the northwest for boys to be baptised with a surname as a forename. Not nearly so common for girls. The best known example is Fletcher Christian - the Christians being gentry originally from the Isle of Man and the Fletchers being merchant gentry in the area around Cockermouth in Cumberland (perhaps most famous for looking after Mary Queen of Scots on the first stage of her exile in England).

I don't think that the practice necessarily indicates a blood relationship. In Lamplugh, for instance, a number of Pickerings appear - Pickering Bowman an example - among the upper yeomanry in the mid/late 17th century. They are undoubtedly named after the then much respected curate of the parish, Pickering Hewer.

Chris
taf
2018-11-10 19:22:01 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
I don't know about Welsh custom, but it was a fairly common practice in
the northwest for boys to be baptised with a surname as a forename. Not
nearly so common for girls
I suspect that most instances of Wilmot as a boys name would result from this, given Wilmott. Willimot, etc. as a surname, but that the female name is only coincidentally similar. For all the girls named Wilmot in Devon, there wasn't anyone with it as a surname. I see one online site (dubious quality) relating it to Willamette, i.e. a feminine diminutive of William.

In 1775 there was a book published in Exeter entitled: 'An Exmoor scolding, in the propriety and decency of Exmoor language, between two sisters, Wilmot Moreman & Thomasin Moreman, as they were spinning'.

https://archive.org/details/exmoorscoldingin00lond/page/n5

taf
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2018-11-11 09:34:25 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
I don't know about Welsh custom, but it was a fairly common practice in
the northwest for boys to be baptised with a surname as a forename. Not
nearly so common for girls
I suspect that most instances of Wilmot as a boys name would result from this, given Wilmott. Willimot, etc. as a surname, but that the female name is only coincidentally similar. For all the girls named Wilmot in Devon, there wasn't anyone with it as a surname. I see one online site (dubious quality) relating it to Willamette, i.e. a feminine diminutive of William.
In 1775 there was a book published in Exeter entitled: 'An Exmoor scolding, in the propriety and decency of Exmoor language, between two sisters, Wilmot Moreman & Thomasin Moreman, as they were spinning'.
https://archive.org/details/exmoorscoldingin00lond/page/n5
taf
Nevertheless, the surname Wilmot did exist in Devon. A quick check for the surname there (using FindMyPast) gives the earliest as John Wilmot in 1588 and an Hellene Wilmot in 1591. And it seems to appear in quite a number of different locations.
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2018-11-11 09:56:47 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by taf
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
I don't know about Welsh custom, but it was a fairly common practice in
the northwest for boys to be baptised with a surname as a forename. Not
nearly so common for girls
I suspect that most instances of Wilmot as a boys name would result from this, given Wilmott. Willimot, etc. as a surname, but that the female name is only coincidentally similar. For all the girls named Wilmot in Devon, there wasn't anyone with it as a surname. I see one online site (dubious quality) relating it to Willamette, i.e. a feminine diminutive of William.
In 1775 there was a book published in Exeter entitled: 'An Exmoor scolding, in the propriety and decency of Exmoor language, between two sisters, Wilmot Moreman & Thomasin Moreman, as they were spinning'.
https://archive.org/details/exmoorscoldingin00lond/page/n5
taf
Nevertheless, the surname Wilmot did exist in Devon. A quick check for the surname there (using FindMyPast) gives the earliest as John Wilmot in 1588 and an Hellene Wilmot in 1591. And it seems to appear in quite a number of different locations.
The first will in the Devon Wills Index if for Thomasine Wilmot in 1567. However, I wouuld agree that the sheer number of Wilmot as a forename in Devon does suggest it was seen as a particularly female name.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
2018-11-11 00:12:28 UTC
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Post by Bronwen Edwards
In the late 18th and early 19th century my Evans ancestors had arrived
in the US. For several generations there were Evans women in that line
whose personal names were "Wilmoth". I have never seen this anywhere
else as a woman's personal name. Is this a common name among, for
example, Welsh folks? Or people in the Carolinas at that time? Thank
you in advance for your time.
Wilmot Rosewall (~1670-~1741) of St. Ives, Cornwall, wife of Robert
Curnow (d. 1744 in Towednack, Cornwall), daughter of Andrew Rosewall
(1636-1680) and Mary Stevens (d. ~1690), was one of my 7X-great
grandmothers.

Not my ancestor, but Wilmot Poyntz (d. 1558) was the wife of Thomas
Hext (d. 1555) of Georgeham, Devon.

Wilmot Knight and Thomas Giffard of Halsbury, Devon were parents of
John Giffard (d. 1491), and thus ancestors of "gateway ancestor"
Margaret Wyatt (d. 1675), from whom my wife descends.
--
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
http://nielsenhayden.com
http://nielsenhayden.com/genealogy-tng/
taf
2018-11-11 03:13:45 UTC
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Post by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Not my ancestor, but Wilmot Poyntz (d. 1558) was the wife of Thomas
Hext (d. 1555) of Georgeham, Devon.
This wife of Thomas Hext was the earliest Wilmot I found in a scan through Vivian's Devon Visitations, though he does not give her surname.

taf
Peter Stewart
2018-11-11 08:29:34 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Not my ancestor, but Wilmot Poyntz (d. 1558) was the wife of Thomas
Hext (d. 1555) of Georgeham, Devon.
This wife of Thomas Hext was the earliest Wilmot I found in a scan through Vivian's
Do you also find other common names there with the same last syllable, such as Philpot? I understood this diminutive ending to be a Middle English form of endearment, so that Wilmot would presumably be a West country variant of the name Wilma. Finding a Wilmot Flintstone might clinch this.

Peter Stewart
taf
2018-11-11 15:04:25 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Do you also find other common names there with the same last
syllable, such as Philpot? I understood this diminutive ending
to be a Middle English form of endearment, so that Wilmot would
presumably be a West country variant of the name Wilma. Finding
a Wilmot Flintstone might clinch this.
The closest potential analog in Devon that comes to mind, and indeed the only other name I have found in my Devon gentry work that made me pause and say 'that's an odd name' (unless you want to count two diminutives of different form, Thomasine and Petronell, that are much less limited geographically), is the name Jaket.

Though Jaket represents another derivation from an -ette ending, it's use is much more limited. The kindreds using it seem to be closely connected by blood or socially, and the earliest examples I know of are in families allied feudally/politically with the Wydevilles and their Yorkist kin - I think Jacquetta of Luxembourg might have been the inspiration for this name's introduction. In other words, I would put this down to coincidence and not a common naming practice also seen with Wilmot.

taf
Peter Stewart
2018-11-11 21:55:42 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by Peter Stewart
Do you also find other common names there with the same last
syllable, such as Philpot? I understood this diminutive ending
to be a Middle English form of endearment, so that Wilmot would
presumably be a West country variant of the name Wilma. Finding
a Wilmot Flintstone might clinch this.
The closest potential analog in Devon that comes to mind, and indeed the only other name I have found in my Devon gentry work that made me pause and say 'that's an odd name' (unless you want to count two diminutives of different form, Thomasine and Petronell, that are much less limited geographically), is the name Jaket.
Though Jaket represents another derivation from an -ette ending, it's use is much more limited. The kindreds using it seem to be closely connected by blood or socially, and the earliest examples I know of are in families allied feudally/politically with the Wydevilles and their Yorkist kin - I think Jacquetta of Luxembourg might have been the inspiration for this name's introduction. In other words, I would put this down to coincidence and not a common naming practice also seen with Wilmot.
A confined use of the form 'Jaket' would be a most interesting discovery - though it would surely take a huge amount of work to prove. The word 'jacket' (garment) comes from the Old French name 'Jaque' + the diminutive 'et', so it might be expected that a similar name came about in a similar way without reference to feudal/political allegiances. Firm evidence to the contrary, however hard to establish, could make for an exceptional sidelight of social history.

Peter Stewart
taf
2018-11-11 23:43:17 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
A confined use of the form 'Jaket' would be a most interesting discovery
The name is often represented in the English antiquarian literature as Jaquet, Jacqueta, or similar. There are two first cousins named Jaket (one coincidentally a daughter of a Wilmot, which is why I thought of the name) in the published 1564 Devon visitation (but in a pedigree indicated to have derived from a copy of Benolte's 1532 visitation, which is consistent with the apparent contextual date of the pedigree). Two other pedigrees in the same volume that date from from 1564, or perhaps even later as this published edition derives from mss. rife with later additions, give it as Jaquetta. It is found in calendared contemporary English-language documents (see TNA online catalogue), as Jaket, Jacot, Jacote, or Jacute, and I have confirmed three of these forms from scans of the originals. From contemporary Latin documents it is often transcribed or indexed as Jacoba or Jacosa, but when I have been able to check the originals, it is almost always Jacota.

At the time I looked into it, I found about a half-dozen examples all in a cluster connected by descent, step-descent, or close social affiliation to each other, all tracing back to one woman, the daughter of Ralph de St. Leger (d.1470, brother-in-law of Anne of York). These families quit using the name after about a century.

Looking now I find three other instances of it in Devon on TNA Catalogue: Jaket, daughter of John Hall of Brevent and wife of Humphrey Huysshe (ca. 1515-18); Jaket/Jacot, wife of William Gregory (ca. 1515-1529); and Jacote Hamon/Hamont, wife of William (fl. 1575-80). I can't in the little time I have spent today find enough information on any of these to place them in a broader social/genealogical context.

taf
Peter Stewart
2018-11-12 23:10:30 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by Peter Stewart
A confined use of the form 'Jaket' would be a most interesting discovery
The name is often represented in the English antiquarian literature as Jaquet, Jacqueta, or similar. There are two first cousins named Jaket (one coincidentally a daughter of a Wilmot, which is why I thought of the name) in the published 1564 Devon visitation (but in a pedigree indicated to have derived from a copy of Benolte's 1532 visitation, which is consistent with the apparent contextual date of the pedigree). Two other pedigrees in the same volume that date from from 1564, or perhaps even later as this published edition derives from mss. rife with later additions, give it as Jaquetta. It is found in calendared contemporary English-language documents (see TNA online catalogue), as Jaket, Jacot, Jacote, or Jacute, and I have confirmed three of these forms from scans of the originals. From contemporary Latin documents it is often transcribed or indexed as Jacoba or Jacosa, but when I have been able to check the originals, it is almost always Jacota.
At the time I looked into it, I found about a half-dozen examples all in a cluster connected by descent, step-descent, or close social affiliation to each other, all tracing back to one woman, the daughter of Ralph de St. Leger (d.1470, brother-in-law of Anne of York). These families quit using the name after about a century.
Possibly quitting its use is just a sign of changing fashion - as with, say, Gertrude and Ethel in recent times - or it may be that if 'Jaket' was a badge of allegiance in the first place then the circumstances that prompted this had changed before the use of name lapsed.

It's hard to see what families might have been signalling to each other with 'Jaket' on its own, so that if there ever was such a motive then perhaps the names of siblings could provide a clue. Jacquetta of Luxemburg was probably forgotten by most before the late 16th century, though this doesn't necessarily mean that her given name would also fall way into oblivion. But in Tudor England we might expect that any kind of subversiveness or contrariness in loyalties would be hinted at only in extremely subtle ways.

Peter Stewart
taf
2018-11-13 03:09:32 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Possibly quitting its use is just a sign of changing fashion - as with, say, Gertrude and Ethel in recent times - or it may be that if 'Jaket' was a badge of allegiance in the first place then the circumstances that prompted this had changed before the use of name lapsed.
It's hard to see what families might have been signalling to each other with 'Jaket' on its own, so that if there ever was such a motive then perhaps the names of siblings could provide a clue. Jacquetta of Luxemburg was probably forgotten by most before the late 16th century, though this doesn't necessarily mean that her given name would also fall way into oblivion. But in Tudor England we might expect that any kind of subversiveness or contrariness in loyalties would be hinted at only in extremely subtle ways.
My gut feeling is that only the first naming was reflecting national political associations, that of Jaket de St.Leger. After that it was just local family and social factors. A step-son used the name for a daughter, who gave the name to a daughter, and then it appears again in that woman's granddaughter.
Two other children of the step-son also used the name for their daughters. Jaket de St.Leger's first husband's nephew used it for a daughter (and her grandson had a daughter and granddaughter with the name), while her brother had a grandson who used it, bringing the total to nine with clear genealogical connections. Then there is Jaquet Marwood, who has no immediate familial link, but she named a son Seintleger Chapman so there seems to have been a social tie of some sort.

There is another mini-cluster of three (at least) that have a more tenuous connection - descended from the first cousin of Jaket de St. Leger's second husband, but that seems more likely just coincidence.

Robert, the illegitimate son of John Arundell of Trerise, used the name for a daughter and his mother's identity has not come down to us, so there could have been either a genealogical or social connection (the Arundells interact frequently with at least two of the families using the name - alternatively, the Arundell instance may be unrelated: the Arundells had a vassal family with Jaket as surname, and it could be that John's mistress was one of them, but this can't account for Jaket de St.Leger and her resulting cluster).

And now that I look at it again, I don't think these families quit using the name when I thought - the last ones I have in the cluster are all three
children or siblings of a 1620 visitation pedigree provider, so the 'disappearance' is more likely an artifact of the availability (or lack thereof) of genealogical details on those families, coupled with me not having done a thorough survey. Along these lines, I just checked the Devon Lay Subsidy, 1543: a Jacot' Conybeare and a Jaket Sowdon. No known connection to the 'cluster'. Also I find a mini-cluster associated with the Rolle family with no known connection. It is looking like this was used more broadly than my initial survey would indicate.

And while we are talking about odd Devon names, there is also Zenobia, which seems to have been a local fad, as I am finding a dozen or so unconnected examples in Devon and Cornwall 1620 visitations.

taf
Peter Stewart
2018-11-13 06:11:01 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by Peter Stewart
Possibly quitting its use is just a sign of changing fashion - as with, say, Gertrude and Ethel in recent times - or it may be that if 'Jaket' was a badge of allegiance in the first place then the circumstances that prompted this had changed before the use of name lapsed.
It's hard to see what families might have been signalling to each other with 'Jaket' on its own, so that if there ever was such a motive then perhaps the names of siblings could provide a clue. Jacquetta of Luxemburg was probably forgotten by most before the late 16th century, though this doesn't necessarily mean that her given name would also fall way into oblivion. But in Tudor England we might expect that any kind of subversiveness or contrariness in loyalties would be hinted at only in extremely subtle ways.
My gut feeling is that only the first naming was reflecting national political associations, that of Jaket de St.Leger. After that it was just local family and social factors. A step-son used the name for a daughter, who gave the name to a daughter, and then it appears again in that woman's granddaughter.
Two other children of the step-son also used the name for their daughters. Jaket de St.Leger's first husband's nephew used it for a daughter (and her grandson had a daughter and granddaughter with the name), while her brother had a grandson who used it, bringing the total to nine with clear genealogical connections. Then there is Jaquet Marwood, who has no immediate familial link, but she named a son Seintleger Chapman so there seems to have been a social tie of some sort.
There is another mini-cluster of three (at least) that have a more tenuous connection - descended from the first cousin of Jaket de St. Leger's second husband, but that seems more likely just coincidence.
Robert, the illegitimate son of John Arundell of Trerise, used the name for a daughter and his mother's identity has not come down to us, so there could have been either a genealogical or social connection (the Arundells interact frequently with at least two of the families using the name - alternatively, the Arundell instance may be unrelated: the Arundells had a vassal family with Jaket as surname, and it could be that John's mistress was one of them, but this can't account for Jaket de St.Leger and her resulting cluster).
And now that I look at it again, I don't think these families quit using the name when I thought - the last ones I have in the cluster are all three
children or siblings of a 1620 visitation pedigree provider, so the 'disappearance' is more likely an artifact of the availability (or lack thereof) of genealogical details on those families, coupled with me not having done a thorough survey. Along these lines, I just checked the Devon Lay Subsidy, 1543: a Jacot' Conybeare and a Jaket Sowdon. No known connection to the 'cluster'. Also I find a mini-cluster associated with the Rolle family with no known connection. It is looking like this was used more broadly than my initial survey would indicate.
And while we are talking about odd Devon names, there is also Zenobia, which seems to have been a local fad, as I am finding a dozen or so unconnected examples in Devon and Cornwall 1620 visitations.
There was perhaps a local cult of veneration for the saint & martyr Zenobia - it's often impossible to track these apparently strange fads back to an origin, because anyone might have originally latched on to an exotic saint in the calendar just from offering prayers on a feast day that were supposedly answered, or have received the name from being born on that day, etc.

Peter Stewart
taf
2018-11-13 08:07:48 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
There was perhaps a local cult of veneration for the saint & martyr Zenobia
- it's often impossible to track these apparently strange fads back to an
origin, because anyone might have originally latched on to an exotic saint
in the calendar just from offering prayers on a feast day that were supposedly
answered, or have received the name from being born on that day, etc.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking - Zenobia was just a whim that then briefly trended.

I do have one person with a wife Wilmot, a sister Jaket, and a niece-in-law Zenobia, which in combination might as well be a big neon sign saying 'Welcome to 16th century Devon'.

taf
wjhonson
2018-11-15 18:16:47 UTC
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Another good source for a review of the use of personal names in the British Isles, to to search the familysearch.org database of *parish baptisms* just for the first name.
j***@me.com
2018-11-11 09:55:26 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Not my ancestor, but Wilmot Poyntz (d. 1558) was the wife of Thomas
Hext (d. 1555) of Georgeham, Devon.
This wife of Thomas Hext was the earliest Wilmot I found in a scan through Vivian's Devon Visitations, though he does not give her surname.
taf
Greetings

Wilmot Poyntz was the daughter of William Poyntz, son of Sir Humphrey Poyntz, an ancestor of mine. I also have a second ancestor named Wilmott who was the wife of Anthony Hamlin of Hartland, North Devonshire. She died in 1669. A further ancestor, William Heatherd of St Columb Major in Cornwall also had a wife name Wilmot who was born around 1545.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of First Names the name of Wilmot applies to both sexes and is the transferred use of the family name, which is derived from a medieval pet form - with the Old French diminutive suffix of -ot - of William.

John Ritchings
Bronwen Edwards
2018-11-11 07:16:57 UTC
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Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to answer. Guess I'll poke around Devon and Cornwall for awhile....Bronwen
Vance Mead
2018-11-11 08:14:06 UTC
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Here's one still earlier, from 1510, also in Devon: Thomas Bole and Wilmot his wife, executors of Simon Carswyll, of Plymouth.


http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT2/H8/CP40no990/aCP40no990fronts/IMG_0718.htm
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