Wednesday, January 22, 2014

World-Wide Wednesday: Manx Names

Source
The Isle of Man is an interesting little island situated between Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. English is spoken there but Manx Gaelic was traditionally spoken in the past. This Celtic language is closely related to the Irish language as well as Scottish Gaelic. However, Manx Gaelic is now considered endangered of dying out. It was thought to have died out in the 1970s but some are trying to revive it today.

Over the centuries, the Isle of Man has been under Welsh, English, Scottish and Viking rule but it now has its own democratic parliament. Culturally, it is influenced by Celtic and Nordic origins but it is viewed as a tourist location for the UK which gives it some British influences as well.

The Isle of Man has also had specific traditions when it comes to the birth and naming of a child. In the early 1900's, a man named W.W. Gill wrote a collection of "Manx Scrapbooks" that depicted Manx folkways after 1918 and before his death in 1964.  In his books, he notes the traditions surrounding a birth:
"When a child comes into the world, the first thing done (now in our own days) is, if it is a boy, to wrap it in a singlet or pair of flannel drawers of its fathers. If a girl, in a flannel petticoat of its mothers and so soon as it is put in the cradle, a Bible and a pair of flannel drawers are laid on the cradle, and the same on the mother's bed.
Neither mother nor child is ever let out of the house until the christening day, and then, before going out, a bit of vervain is sewed into the child's under-clothing and also into the mothers. A little bit of soot is also put on the child's person, and a bright steel sewing-needle quilted into some part of its clothes. 
Great care is taken that the name which the child is to receive is not made known to any person except those who have to know, until after the christening.
The future of the child depends in a great measure on whether the stranger who firsts sees it, after its father has got the first look, is a "lucky" person or not."
So it appears that the Manx put great emphasis on guarding the baby's first encounters with those outside the home and viewed it in an almost superstitious way. The baby's name was also guarded and not revealed until the baby was christened, so clearly religion was a large factor as well.

Another source, the Manx National Heritage, put together a collection of traditional names that were found within old books: Christian Names of the Isle of Man by William Cubbon in 1923, and Manx Personal Names by J.J. Kneen in 1937. The names that they listed are those considered traditional to the Manx people and acceptable for use on modern babies both on and off the Isle of Man. Here is a list of those traditional names and their meanings:
Boys:

Aedan
Aleyn, Aland
Alister
Andreays
Asmund
Austeyn
Bertram, Bertrem
Brendan
Cairbe, Carbry
Carmac, Cormac
Colby
Colum
Colyn
Conylt, Conal
Cristen
Dermot, Germot, Diarmid
Dolyn, Dollin, Dolen
Doncan, Donachan
Doolish, Douglas
Eamon
Edard
Eoin, Ean, Ewan, Yvon
Faragher
Fergus
Finbar
Finlo, Fynlo
Fintan
Flaxney
Fynn
Gavan, Gawain
Gilno, Dilno
Gilrea
Godred, Gorry, Orry
Hugh, Hugo
Illiam
Jamys, Hamish
Jole
Juan, Yuan
Kerron, Kieran
Laurys
Marcus, Markys
Martyn, martial
Mayl
Mian
Nele, Niall
Olaf, Olave
Oshin
Padeen
Paric[k], Peric[k]                      
Payl
Peddyr
Ramsey
Robart
Robyn
Ronan
Rory
Sharry
Sigurd
Stoill
Thomase


little fire
famed ruler
defending men
a man [Andrew]
gift of the gods
venerable
bright raven
dark person
virtuous love
a charioteer
place name
a dove
a whelp
love
belonging to Christ
God reverencing
variation of Donald [world ruler]
brown warrior
place name
happy peace
happy keeper
well born
supreme choice
great dear one, super choice
wave crest
fair Scandinavian
a little fair one
not known
fair
a smith
saint’s servant
servant of the King
God’s peace
studious
defending men
beguiling
Yule
well born
grey, dark
crownd with laurel [Laurence]
a hammer
saint’s name
like God [Michael]
good [Matthew]
champion
of the gods
little fawn
little Patrick
patrician, noble
form of Paul
a rock [Peter]
place name
form of Robert
little Robert
God ruler
fame ruler
God’s peace
victorious one
with a will
a twin, form of Thomas
Girls:

Aalid, Aelid
Aalin
Aaue
Aileen, Eil[l]een, Elena
Aimel
Ainle
Ailstreena
Andreca
Aufrica, Effrica, Aurick
Bahey
Blaa, Blae
Brede, Breeshey, Bridget
Caly
Cara
Carola
Catreena, Catreeney
Cissolt
Creena
Cristeena
Doona
Ealee, Ealish
Ealisaid
Eunys
Feena
Fenella, Fin[g]ola
Fritha
Grayse
Greeba
Iney, Ina
Jinn, Joan, Joney, Joannia
Johnet
Jonee, Joney, Jony
Lilee
Lora
Lula, Lulach
Malane
Manana
Margaid
Mariot, Marion, Moreen, Mariod
Meave
Moirrey, Voirrey
Mona
Moreen
Mureal
Nan, Nancy
Nessa, Nessy
Onnee
Onnor, Onora, Nora
Paaie
Ranhilda
Rein[a]
Renny
Roseen
Sheela
Sorcha
Tosha
Una
Ursula
Vorana
Ysbal, Isbal


beauty
beautiful
Eva
sunlight
beloved
angel
feminine of Alister
feminine of Andrew
a maid from Africa
flower
flower
shining [Bridget]
female servant [saint’s]
a songster
noble spirited
pure [Catherine]
little Cecilia
wise
of Christ
dark maiden
noble
god’s oath
joy
fair maiden
fair shoulder
peace
grace
place name
a daughter
grace
feminine of John
grace
lily
sufficient
shining
magnificent [Madeline]
feminine of Mannanan
a pearl
little Mary
a fairy queen
bitter [Mary]
the Isle of Man
little Mary
sea bright
gracious
secret
grace [Annie]
honourable
Peggy
God’s fight
a queen
a fern
little rose
form of Cecilia
bright
the first
a lamb
little wolf
great
form of Isabel

Of course there are other names beyond these traditional ones that are in use on the Isle of Man. Names that are popular in the UK are also seen on Manx babies due to a rich, cultural mixture of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Norse influences on the island.

The most recent Top Baby Names list that I could find for the Isle of Man is for the year 2009. These are the most popular names of that year:
Boys:
1. Charlie                                   
2. Thomas               
2. Lucas
2. Joshua
2. Jack
2. Ethan
2. Alfie
3. Ryan
3. Joseph
3. James
3. Harry
3. Connor
3. Conor
3. Cameron
3. William

Girls:
1. Lilly
1. Lily
1. Lilee
2. Olivia
3. Emily
4. Phoebe
4. Isla
4. Isabella
4. Imogen
5. Holly
5. Lucy
5. Mia

As you can see, there seems to be more popular British names in use today than traditional Manx names. If anyone has access to a list of the Top Baby Names on the Isle of Man for the years 2012 or 2013, please share!

What do you think of the naming traditions of the Isle of Man? Which traditional name is your favorite?


[Note:] I only recently discovered that this island even exists so if I've gotten any information incorrect, please let me know! I consulted as many sources as I could find that pertained to babies and names for the island.
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