Old Frisian given names

Old Frisian given names

There are very few surviving early Mediaeval Frisian given names. Surviving texts in Old Frisian date only from the second half of the 13th century.[1]

A document that dates to around the year 900 and dealing with the rents due to Werden abbey lists several names. The abbey was located on the Ruhr river near modern Essen. This was near the western edge of Saxon territory. To the west were the Franks, and to the north, the Frisians.[2] The abbey held land in all three linguistic areas, and its tenants included native speakers of Old Saxon, Old Low Franconian, and Old Frisian. It is unclear how the names were identified as being Frisian. Old Saxon scribal tradition may have impacted the spellings of the names. However, they are thought to be compatible with Frisian dialect characteristics.[3]

Surnames were not common in Continental European documents of this period.[4] It would be very much in keeping with Frisian practice in this period to use just a single name.


  1. ^ Bremmer, p. 181, and Robinson. Scattered words and phrases appear in earlier texts.
  2. ^ Bremmer, p. 110 (map); Robinson, p. 103 (map).
  3. ^ Tiefenbach, p. 273: "The name Egildag may show Old Saxon influence; Egildeg would be more in keeping with the Frisian dialect. The Frisian form Tiad- could be substituted for Thiad- in any of the names beginning with that element."
  4. ^ Schwarz, p. 63f.
General references
  • Bremmer Jr, Rolf H. (2009). An Introduction to Old Frisian. History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 
  • Robinson, Orrin W. (1992). Old English and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 
  • Tiefenbach, Heinrich (1997). "Schreibsprachliche und gentile Prägung von Personennamen im Werdener Urbar A",". In Dieter Geuenich, Wolfgang Haubrichs, Jörg Jarnut (in German). Nomen et Gens. New York: Walter de Gruyter. 
  • Schwarz, Ernst (1949) (in German). Deutsche Namenforschung. I: Ruf- und Familiennamen. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 


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