Sunday, October 9, 2022

Male first names in Latin

There are thousands of first names today. But our ancestors used just a few tens of them. They wanted to fit in, not to stand out, because anyone who stood out was usually suspicious.

Records in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia are usually writen in Latin between abt 1730 and 1784. And Latin uses declension and has six cases:

  • nominative
  • genitive
  • dative
  • accusative
  • vocative
  • ablative

You can see usually three of them in the records - nominative, genitive and accusative. Nominative is the name itself, genitive is usually used for "son/daughter of someone", accusative for "son/daughter after someone". It seems complicated but it's not that bad.

Names ending with -us

Here belong names such as Josephus (or Iosephus), Petrus, Paulus, Bartholomæus, Martinus, Carolus, Antonius, Franciscus or Jacobus.

For genitive and accusative, -us at the end is dropped. For genitive, the ending is -i, for accusative, the ending is -um. So, what are the forms of the mentioned names?

  • Josephus - Josephi - Josephum
  • Petrus - Petri - Petrum 
  • Paulus - Pauli - Paulum 
  • Bartolomæus - Bartholomæi - Bartholomæum 
  • Martinus - Martini - Martinum 
  • Carolus - Caroli - Carolum 
  • Antonius - Antonii - Antonium 
  • Franciscus - Francisci - Franciscum 
  • Jacobus - Jacobi - Jacobum

Names ending with -as

You can find names such as Lucas or Andreas. The declension is a bit different, only the -s is dropped. For genitive, the ending is -ae, for accusative it's -am.

  • Lucas - Lucæ - Lucam
  • Andreas - Andreæ - Andream

Be careful when reading the records. The æ is offen written very quickly and it's sometimes hard to say it's there. At least some experience is needed to be sure what belongs there - if a or æ.

Names ending with -es

This category is much smaller. In fact, I can think of only one name belonging here, Joannes. Maybe I'll find some more in future, but right now there is only this one.

In this case, -es is dropped, genitive ends with -is and accusative with -em.

  • Joannes - Joannis - Joannem

There are other names which were not mentioned in the list above. Most of them belong to the -us category. Anyway I'll update this post time to time so the names list is better. Hope this helps in your future search in the Latin records. :)

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