Monday, October 4, 2010

Gravestone of the Day: Thomas Plats

Thomas Plats, 1685, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, MA

1 comment:

Robert J. said...

I didn't look up the genealogy of this particular Thomas Plat(t)s, but he may be from the Yorkshire Platts family that is nomenclaturally interesting, and that preserved some features that reflect the very early history of surname development in England.

Many of the Platts that appear in the 1500s and up to the point of the Great Migration are designated "Gawkroger alias Platts" or "Gawkroger-Platts." The concept of an inherited surname hadn't quite congealed here, and by-names and locality-names were still being used in place of what we'd now call a surname.

Some notes I copied from "Surnames and Genealogy: A New Approach" by George Redmonds:

83: "The unusual surname Gaukroger derived from a minor locality in Sowerby (Halifaz), probably c.1400, and it is still well established there. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the family ramified, but persisted with the traditional Christian names, and a number of aliases were used, e.g.

1569 John Goukroger alias Plates, Sowerby
1610 Joseph Gawkroger alias Barker, Halifax
1651 John Gawkroger alias Brigge, Sowerby

"The origin and use of the alias 'Platts' is quite well documented, and it can be seen to derive from property called Platts held by the Gaukrogers from c.1465. Initially this family was said to be 'of Platts,' but from c.1540 they were more usually 'alias Platts.' At that time different branches of the family were acquiring interests in a number of Sowerby properties, some of which were sub-divided and occupied by tenants...

"It is not yet known just when the family acquired this property, and Platts may have been a by-name over the generations. More probably it came into their possession in the late 1400s and the alias served to identify one branch of the rapidly expanding family. The 'byname' Platts was then inherited along with the property."

Another one of these alias-compounds from the Great Migration was "Loker alias Riddlesdale" (as in Loker Commons at Harvard). The immigrants generally settled on Loker as the surname, but some branches of the family that were left behind alternated between Loker and Riddlesdale.