Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dermin and Deiner Maboone

Generally, when I come across a novel seventeenth-century name, I can identify its origin by searching the list of Biblical names (including sound-alikes) or searching the index of Boston surnames. But sometimes, I am completely stumped. That is the case with
Dermin and Deiner Maboone.
Dermin and Deiner were a married couple who had a daughter named Honour in Boston in 1648. I have no idea where these names came from. Are they non-Anglophone names? Are they misspellings? Perhaps Deiner is really Dinah or Dana. But Dermin? No clue. When I type it into Google, I get the Urban Dictionary definition: a contraction of "dog" and "vermin" referring to the little dogs that rich people carry in purses. It also appears to be a town in Germany. Are these clumsy Anglicizations of German names? This name is also recorded as "Dorman Maboon" when Mr. Maboone died in 1661. Any suggestions are much appreciated.


Unknown said...

Diener (variation of Deiner) is a German word for "servant" which would go along with the same kind of naming conventions these folks used.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

A Dinar is also an Arabic form of money that is found in the Bible.

Also this entry form the etymology dictionary for denier

Middle English denere, from Anglo-French dener, denier, from Latin denarius, coin worth ten asses, from denarius containing ten, from deni ten each, from decem ten

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

Awesome! Thanks for the tips.

I've found a few other non-English European families in the birth records (mostly French or Portuguese/Spanish), but no Germans yet. I'll have to look into the Maboones a bit more, and I'm sure your lead will be helpful.

Unknown said...

German "Nationals" in Puritan New England were very few and far between, however we must remember that there was a Saxon component of Old English that was decidedly Germanic in origin. English, being the hodge podge of languages that it is, drew heavily from those origins. In fact, while French was a major influence, especially after 1066, English held on to many of its Anglo-Saxon roots. All of these reasons are why English is one of the most complicated European languages to learn, which makes it even more amazing that it is the dominant language in the world today. BUT ... for your search makes of specific Germanic origin, while rare, still are possible and in 17th century New England most clues will lead you to some kind of Biblical reference. David Hackett Fischer, in his Book Albion's Seed, Four British Folkways in America, 1989, Oxford University Press, has some great info on this "Puritan Naming Convention".

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

If I remember correctly, Fischer argues that Puritan New Englanders named their first children for their parents and subsequent children for grandparents, thereby inverting the English custom of naming kids for grandparents before naming them for parents. I've certainly found that to be true in the Boston records: the first son of Nathan and Elizabeth is usually Nathan, and the daughter of John and Wayte-a-while Cooper is Wayte-a-while (not kidding). I can't say for sure whether Honour was the Maboone's first daughter, but if she was, Fischer would find it unusual that she was not named Diener. Perhaps this is evidence that the Maboones were not typical New Englanders, maybe because they were not English or not East Anglian. I can't declare them non-English yet, but I can certainly put them on the list of "maybes" along with the Lablonds, Raneufs, Boutineaus, Blagues, and Decosters. You're absolutely right about the influence of German and French on English names, which is what makes it so hard to conclude definitively that these families were not English.

In fact, the only person (other than those marked specifically as "negro" in the records) that I am 75% confident declaring as a non-Englishman is "Josue Marriner." Even then, I can't be sure they aren't using a variant spelling of "Joshua" or similar. But I'm hoping that "Marriner" is a profession as well as a name. This is why I so often fall back on those wishy-washy verbs such as "suggests" and "indicates." And the academic's favorite: I'll need to do some more research on that :)

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

I forgot to say that there are a few people in the marriage records who are specifically identified as Irishmen/women or Scots.