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Headaches for a Genealogist
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In the Middle Ages sometimes two brothers or other near relatives had exactly the same name. Genealogists have sometimes run into a wall in attempting to determine which of two thirteenth-century Fulk fitz Wains was really the ancestor they sought, or which Robert Helias de Say, or which John le Strange. Then there was John Matravers, who by different wives had sons named John, and the younger of those had two sons named John.

In France such a problem was usually avoided. A younger brother of Jehan (John) was sometimes named Jehannot (little John), and sometimes a second Guillaume (William) was named Guillot (little William).

The duplication of names occasionally extended to girls. The will of a sixteenth-century Englishman, Thomas Reade, refers to "my daughter Katheryn the younger" and "my eldest daughter Katheryn."

Hook, J. N. The Book of Names, A Celebration of Mainly American Names: People, Places, and Things. Franklin Watts, 1983.



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