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Spanish Naming Practices

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LoveHistory
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Spanish Naming Practices

Postby LoveHistory » Sun July 11th, 2010, 2:08 am

I have at least one character who hails from Castlie or Aragon (haven't yet decided which). She was born in the very early 15th century, and is the daughter of a marriage her father's parents were against. Though officialy cut off from the family, her paternal grandmother did quietly help to support the couple and their child.

Need to know how many names (i.e. Maria Magdalena Constanza Lucia Teresa Juana Inez Surname de City) she would have been given as a sort-of member of the upper class. Which surname she would have been given (her mother was not Spanish). That sort of thing.

Might need help with respect to her father's name and a few of his relatives as well.

If you can give me any info, I'd appreciate it.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sun July 11th, 2010, 4:08 am

She could have been given either her mother's surname or her father's. Or a grandparent either wanted to honor. Naming practices were all over the place in Spain. A woman still keeps her own name when she marries, or may call herself by both her own surname and her spouse's, connected with a y (and) -- as in Maria Elena Sanchez y Graciosa.

It would be unusual if she did not have two first names. Three is less usual, but you aren't really getting into improbability until you go to five.

If the mother's family name was particularly illustrious, most of the children would go by a hyphenated name to highlight the connection: Pedro Garcilaso y Enriquez, for instance.

The 'z' on the end of a last name is the Spanish equivalent of '-son' As in Enriquez = son of Henry, Sanchez = son of Sancho, Lopez = son of Lope, and so forth. Spanish is a very musical language, and if the sounds won't work together, instead of the z ending, they use 'de' (of) before the name.

Sometimes a marriage contract will call for one or more of the children to carry only the mother's surname. This is why it took me so long to connect Maria Pacheco, a leader of the Communero revolt, to her father, Inigo Lopez de Mendoza, II Count Tendilla. Her mother was Francesca Pacheco, and her husband ws Juan Padilla. If you are going with Anglicized naming practices, Spanish geneaolgies will leave you hopelessly confused.

As far as I can tell, every third person in Spain had Maria as one of their names. 'ita' or 'ito' are diminutives added to given names to indicate childhood or affection. Eva - Evita; Pedro - Pedrito, and so forth. But again, the sound is important. Concepcion becomes Conchita, and Diego doesn't work with a diminutive at all.

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LoveHistory
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Postby LoveHistory » Sun July 11th, 2010, 1:31 pm

Many thanks. I was planning on giving her three or four first names, the first being Maria.

Did boys also get multiple names?

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Elizabeth
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Postby Elizabeth » Sun July 11th, 2010, 2:30 pm

I haven't researched this in any depth, but did people have multiple given names in the 15th century? All the historical figures seem to have single given names (mostly Maria, Catherine and Isabella, heh) with surnames and territorial names. Were the additional given names just not recorded?
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Postby Ash » Sun July 11th, 2010, 3:38 pm

Maria Magdalena Constanza Lucia Teresa Juana Inez Surname de City

Hee, I love this. MLE I knew about the naming, but didn't realize that z stands for son of. Thanks for that. And yes to Maria; one year I had in my class Maria Theresa, Maria Elena and Maria Jesus. They all had a dimunitive nickname which helped but still....

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LoveHistory
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Postby LoveHistory » Sun July 11th, 2010, 3:43 pm

Elizabeth: I'm no expert (obviously, given that I'm asking for help here) but I would think those historical figures did have multiple names that just weren't used because it would get awfully difficult to remember all of them and keep them straight.

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donroc
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Postby donroc » Sun July 11th, 2010, 5:16 pm

Think of being reader friendly. A rann of names is not necessary --unless you are doing Voltarian satire with dozens of quarterings.
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Telynor
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Postby Telynor » Sun July 11th, 2010, 9:59 pm

From what I have been able to tell, more than one name was very very uncommon even among royalty until the seventeenth or so century. In Spain the earliest that I can find is in the sixteenth century with the first wife of Philip II, Maria Emmanuella or Manoela. One of Philip II's daughters with Elisabeth de Valois was named Isabella Clara Eugenia, but that seems to be the oddity rather than the norm. Nearly always was one of those names was Maria for girls, and Juan for boys. It's not until the eighteenth century where you start seeing three and four name combos appearing among royalty and nobility.

One famous example of where family spite gets involved with names is that of Queen Victoria. Her parents was hoping that she would be named "Georgiana Charlotte Augusta" for various grandmothers and relations, but George IV, Prince Regent at the time and one of the godfathers, shot all of them down, and said only Victoria, for the mother. The parents very embarassed, then asked for a second name, and Alexandrina Victoria the mite became -- she had the nickname of Drina for a while, but quickly just became Victoria.

In an interesting turnabout, when Victoria started producing her numerous brood, she asked that all of her grandchildren all carry some variant of Victoria or Albert as one of their names. Edward VII was originally christened Albert Edward, and had the nickname of Bertie all of his life, as did his grandson, George VI, who was given the name Albert when he was born.

The winner in the naming game must have been Edward VIII, who had the names Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David at his christening and was known as David to his family.

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LoveHistory
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Postby LoveHistory » Sun July 11th, 2010, 11:26 pm

To clarify: while giving the girl multiple names, I was only going to have her called one of them on a regular basis. Thought it would make a nice bit of culture clash bit for a subplot.

Edited to add: and now I'm confused.
Last edited by LoveHistory on Sun July 11th, 2010, 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon July 12th, 2010, 12:25 am

Not to contradict, but the Spanish had a LOT of written records in their own language, not latin, and multiple names and surnames were much more used very early than in Northern Europe. Just go rooting around on project Gutenberg if you want to see what I mean.

One of the reasons for this is that they were intermingled with the Islamic culture, where literacy was as important as it was for later protestants in that worshipers were encouraged to read the Qur'an for themselves (and fight over it, most of the time). So Medieval Visigothic culture was competing with a much higher standard of literacy and another language, Arabic--which made reading and writing in their own language a matter of national pride. Castilian Spanish in most of Iberia, and Catalan in Aragon, which has become a chip-on-the-shoulder issue in that part of Spain today.

The naming issue was also a means of identifying what culture you hailed from, extremely important even for the lower classes in a mixed-culture locale.


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