LATGALIAN PLACE NAMES AND PERSONAL NAMES IN THE CONTEXT OF LIVONIA IN THE 1599 POLISH CENSUS

Otīlija Kovaļevska

Abstract


The 1599 Inflanty census materials published in 1915 by Polish historians Jan Jakubowski and Józef Kordzikowski are abundant and in some ways a unique source of place names and personal names of the 16th century that reveal Latgalian personal names and place names of that time within the context of Livonia. The document relates to 13 castle areas, covering a large part of the present territory of Latgale, Vidzeme and Estonia. It is based on a uniform methodology and at one time, therefore, it is possible to compare the castle areas with each other, and, taking into account the succeeding historical events, to judge about the further development of the place names and personal names (eventually – family names) in Vidzeme and Latgale. The purpose of the research: 1) to compare the onomastic material of the 1599 census with the contemporary map, to attempt to restore the geography of the mentioned castle areas, to identify the earliest possible place names and family names preserved to the present day; 2) with the help of other 16th and 17th century sources, to attempt to formulate the different regularities of the formation of a place names and family names in Vidzeme and Latgale, especially viewing Latgale against the background of Livonia. This mainly refers to differences in the structure of the population (farmsteads in Vidzeme and villages in Latgale), as well as the different development of family names (there was no such campaign of awarding surnames in Latgale as there was in Vidzeme after the abolition of serfdom in the 19th century, because in Latgale family names already existed at that time). Consequently, the 1599 document may help to find out whether these differences have appeared later as a result of living in different (Polish, Swedish) cultural spaces, or maybe they have some older roots related to the time before the division of Livonia. The analysis of the material was carried out with the help of Excel software (data structuring, selection, collection and processing of statistical data). The cartographic method is applied to seek correlation between the proper names mentioned in the 1599 census and modern place names in Latgale and Vidzeme; for comparison a brief overview into the descriptions of Estonian castle areas is given. It is concluded that the descriptions of the castle areas of the Latvian part of Livonia – Latgale and Vidzeme – are similar in some respects, but differ greatly from the descriptions of the Estonian castle areas: in the Latvian part villages are mentioned occasionally, but in Estonia the territory is mostly structured in villages, and the names of these villages are still recognizable on a contemporary map. Unlike the names of farmsteads in Vidzeme, many village names in modern Latgale have apparently appeared in later centuries, but the structure of population in Latgale and Vidzeme in the 16th century was similar: a number of small scattered groups of homes, which later grew into villages as the number of inhabitants increased in Latgale. There are surprisingly many family/ place names in both Latgale and Vidzeme, for example, Beitāni/ Beitēni, Beiti, Brici, Breidaki/ Brīdaki, Dauguļi, Panķāni, Prikņi, which may be evidence of some common “space” in which these names were formed. On the contemporary map of Vidzeme one can find even more “footprints” of the proper names mentioned in 1599 than in Latgale. Perhaps this can be explained by documentation and mapping of homes in the 17th century Swedish censuses. In Latgale, an intensive formation of single name populated areas took place in the 18th century, in addition, the first large scale mapping was carried out one century later than in Vidzeme – in 1784. The beginnings of family names appear to have been alike throughout Livonia. In 1599 the Polish and in 1601 the Swedes still continue the habit started in Livonia to write alongside the christened name some qualifying name that could be shared by a larger group of people such as the family. After the division of Livonia in the Polish Inflanty, they continued to develop in the same way as in Poland and Lithuania, while in the Swedish Vidzeme apparently more attention was paid to place names while a large part of the population remained without family names.

Keywords


castle areas of Livonia; census of 1599; farmsteads names in Vidzeme; village names and family names in Latgale;

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/latg2018.11.3073

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