Friday, May 31, 2013

¿QuĂ© pasa?

Wondering where I've been all month?

I've been working on a couple of blog posts. One is a transcribed document about the English and Flynn (Flin) families in colonial South Carolina. Another is about some very cool 17th-cenutry Irish maps, recently digitized and available online. I'm still pondering over some of the (owner) names on the County Westmeath maps, names that don't match up with my genealogical research.

Then I put everything aside to get ready for another trip. I spent last weekend visiting Quakers in Mexico.

When I got back, all my free time — and sleep time, and eating time — was confiscated by these six little cuties! Feral, unweaned... Did you know kittens don't automatically know how to drink from a bottle, much less lap up milk or formula? Did you know they have to be fed every few hours, day and night? Ay-yi-yi!

Now you know what I've been up to.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Irish names

As I fill in servants and supporting characters in my history-based fiction, I want to avoid stereotypical Irish names like Patrick or Moira. What were the given names of people who really lived in early modern Ireland?

I started with a primary source, the "Sufferings" of the Quakers in Moate Monthly Meeting — and immediately ran into the great dilemma of this type of research: who was Irish and who was English? Centuries of English colonization or "plantations" (preceded by Viking and Norman settlements), along with intermarriage, left a mixed populace. The question of whether a man was Irish or English might be restated as: "Which generation of English was he?"

The prefixes O' and Mac served as a guide as I scanned the indices of my reference books. MacLysaght also claims Crowe, Maloney, Brady, Cock and Spencer as Irish surnames. The best source for other surnames turned out to be The Grand Juries of County Westmeath, containing an appendix of family genealogies that takes up most of the book.

Given names for men

The most common are Daniel, Hugh, George, Edmond or Edmund, Sean, Thomas or Tom, and James. There were also several mentions of Torlogh or Turlough, Robert, Con or Conn, John, Eoin, Owen, Kevin, Brian or Bryan, Keadagh or Kedagh, Terence, and Donall, Donel, Donal.

More names: Denis, Fergal, Art, Redmond, Egan, Beare, Rory, Peadar, William, Michael, Ernie, Eamon or Eamonn, Dermot, Edward, Eddie, Antony, Anthony, Lucius, Jimmy, Cormac, Stephen, Henry, Raymond, Ramsey, Joe or Joseph, Martin, Frank, Art, Arthur, Seamus, Conor, Feagh, Charles, Cahir, High, Jeremiah, Patrick, Paddy, Colm, Allen, Neil, Neill, Shane, Abraham, Nial, Aghery, Christopher, Theobald, Nangle, Phelim, Mallachy, Maurice, Richard, George, Morgan, Conla, David, Hubert, Hume, Francis, Breasal, Thadeus, Garrett, Nathaniel, Peyton, Whitney, Francis, Logan, Theobald, Walter, Peter, and Cuthbert.

I primarily wanted early modern Ireland names, but Grand Juries also provides interesting ancient names with their Roman equivalents; you can see how they morphed into more modern names.

Duachus Galach, Duach, Errnin, Eogan (Owen), Fergusius, Feargna (Fergnaus), Achaius (Eochy Tiorm), Aodh Finn, Brenain, Cathalan, Arten, Orgaille (Orgallius), Brefny, Cu-Conachi (Constantine), Mac-nahighe or Macnahighe (Nicholaus), Tiernan, Godfrey (Godfridus), Maolsachlin (Mallachy), Giolla-Joso (Gelasius), Giola-Josa-Ruadh (Gelasius), Cathal (Cathaldus or Carolus), Donogh, Murketagh, Awly, Fergall, Andach, Morough, Matha (Mathew), Matthias, Rufus, Manus, Maolmordha, Philip, Cuconacht, Cormac, Mahon, Carbrey, and Fedlim (Phelim).

The names in Modern Ireland are more recent and possibly anglicized. They continue many of the names already listed, plus Justin, Connor, Frank, Oliver, Malcolm, Michael, Heber, Louis, Nevil, Samuel, Flann, Murrough, Mairtin, Feargus, Tomas, Cahir, Jeremiah, Sylvester, Ernest, and Philip.

Given names for women

By far, the most common name I found was Katharine, Catherine, Kate. Mary and Mary Anne also showed up several times.

Other names were Maud, Bernadette, Patricia, Rossa, Patsy, Nuala, Grace, Kitty, Dorcas, Genet, Margaret, Jane, Elizabeth, Susannah, Diana, Louisa, Ruth, Jane, Eleanor, Bridget, Sarah, Margaret, and Anne.

More ancient: Fedelonia, Indearva, Ranalt, Winifred, and Finguola (Penelope).

More modern (in addition to the names above, still in use): Deidre.

You'll notice I included nicknames and spelling variants. Here's a great resource on nicknames and how some names changed.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Bookhunting season 2013

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of bookhunting, signings and getting ready for spring open house at the bookshop.

I traveled to the Chatham County Library for the first time in a year. This time I hit their bag-sale day and brought back four bags of books — a wide variety, from an unusual vintage photograph of the USS Barker to true crime to English castles. Then I headed south by memory and map, enjoying the beautiful spring day with trees and azaleas blooming. I fumbled around Fayetteville (who knew it was a big city?) looking for the Barnes & Noble, where a friend met me for lunch. After food and catching up we wandered around the bookstore, but I didn't find what I was looking for, especially since I wasn't sure what it was.

The next weekend local author Carolyn Nelson signed books at the shop. Worried about sharing my sore throat, I hid behind the counter most of the day. Fortunately, Carolyn had visitors and friends to keep her company.

I recuperated in time for the annual St. Francis book sale, one of my favourites . Since it was the first day of the sale, I focused on the old and rare book room (one of my earliest posts) and only bought a small box full of books, including H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) and Winslow Homer (black Americana from the Civil War and Reconstruction).

I'd planned to go back Saturday for bag-sale day, to stock the shop with "beach reads" from their wealth of trade paperbacks. Friday night, however, the phone rang. It was the Quaker network — which is a wonderful thing. Jamestown Friends Meeting was having a yard sale early the next morning. Now, I'm not a fan of yard sales, and I'm not a fan of early. But a mutual friend was downsizing, and she might have donated her books to the sale.

So the next morning, bright and early (more early than bright!), I switched destinations from Greensboro to Jamestown (both cities named for Quakers, by the way). I found books and more books, got hugs, bought coffee, and was southern sweet-talked into a freshly baked pecan tart. It turned out to be a most pleasant trip.

This week, after final preparations for the spring sale and open house at the bookshop, I drove down to Asheboro to ask Jeffery Deaver to sign a few books. He spoke about his writing life at the Friends of the Library annual meeting.

He started writing at age 11, but went on to other careers, including law. He began writing during his long daily commute, but threw his first two books away!

Stories like that inspire me to keep writing. Have you heard stories from published authors that keep you going?

I met Jeffery Deaver at Writers' Police Academy 2010, when he'd just started the new James Bond novel, Carte Blanche. Now that it's out, I wanted him to sign my copy. He also signed a couple of his previous works for the bookshop.