2013 | 5(60) | 139-180
Article title

Imiona chrzestne dzieci chłopskich okolic Fajsławic w drugiej połowie XVIII wieku

Title variants
Baptismal Names in Peasant Families of the Fajslawice Area in the Second Half of the 18th Century
Languages of publication
First names given to children depend on many factors: ethnic background, religion, geographic location, societal status or time period. This article deals with the name-giving pattern and its evolution in peasant families during the period 1757-1809 in four villages within the realm of the parish of Fajsławice in the Lublin Region. The four villages in question were: Fajsławice, Siedliska, Suchodoły and Wola Idzikowska. At the beginning of the period under analysis, the pool of baptismal names was rather small: only 33 different male and 26 female names were used. The distribution of these names was hardly homogenous: 8.3% of all boys were named Wojciech, 19.8% of girls – Marianna, while some other names were used only once. A similar pattern was also observed in the other regions of Poland at that time. In order to identify what motivated parents as regards name selection, a few factors have been investigated: birth near the patron saint day, name inheritance from parents, and inspiration from the local cult of saints. The statistical analysis of the annual distribution of given names over the first 13 years of the parish’s existence proved to be most strongly affected by the date of birth: 95.8% of all boys were given the name of a saint, whose patron date was in the period of 4 weeks before or 4 weeks after the boy’s birth date; 81.6% for those who were born two weeks before or one week after the patron date. In most cases, the name was selected after a patron whose day was after the birth date. For girls’ names, the effect of the birth date on the baptismal name was slightly weaker, but still dominant: 86.9% of all girls born during the period between 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after the saint day received the name of the patroness. The analysis has also shown that the children’s names were practically not affected by the parents’ names or the names of a parish patron saint. The same name was given to siblings only if the previous one had died. In the period of 50 years under analysis, the naming pattern underwent a significant change: 76 new names were introduced (44 for boys and 32 for girls). Practically all of them followed the calendar rule, but the crucial role in their selection was played by the parish priests: some of them were more conservative and introduced practically no new names; some others were very creative, although some of the names they suggested did not stay in the pool of active names for a long time. The tradition of giving two names was not very significant, but, some parish priests tended to give double names more often than others. Many new names, both single and double ones, were inspired by new saints canonized in the 17th and the 18th century, especially those, who were Jesuits.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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