May 6, 2012
In the course of my research, I occasionally come across some fairly unusual personal names. I was wondering whether anyone had any thoughts on the origin of the rarest name I've found so far!
When researching Castle Camps (Cambridgeshire), I came across a Zephalonius Hoy (bapt. 1592). Another Zephalonius Hoy was baptised 50 years later, in a nearby village (Gestingthorpe), and was presumably a relative. As far as I can tell, these are the only occurrences of this name in the UK.
I was hoping that someone might have some insight on the origins of this name. The only potential explanation I've seen so far is that an ancestor fought at a battle in Cephalonia in the previous century (http://blog.foxearth.org.uk/20.....there.html). Do you think this is likely/do you have any other explanations?
November 4, 2012
I've just found this post by someone who has the name twice in their family. Not sure if this is the same or another case?
In Suffolk. Possibly an adaptation of similar names? Or even a reault of a mistake/misreading/misspelling! Reminds me of 'Thelonious'.
Such a great find!
May 6, 2012
Thanks Florence, I hadn't seen that page! I would guess he's probably an ancestor of the ones I found, as they seem to be related and the writer's surname is Hoye.
It's interesting that one was known as Zephany; it would be good to know whether it was the older or younger Zephalonius (or perhaps both!) who had that nickname. I agree that it could be a mistake of some kind which has then been passed down. Even if so, it's still intriguing as I didn't find any occurrences of Zephany or Zephaniah in the parish; if Zephalonius is a creative play on these (or a mistake), it's interesting that they chose to base it on a rare name for the area!
January 6, 2013
May 6, 2012
Good question - I'm actually not sure! It would certainly account for the Zepha- part of the name if it were a variant. Also, the link which Florence found does say that one of the two name-holders was nicknamed Zephany, so that would make sense with Zephaniah etc. Unfortunately I don't know enough about the origins/linguistic aspect of names to say whether it could legitimately be a variant... If anyone has any knowledge in this area, I'd be immensely interested in their input!
It'd be great to know how this all works together - I'm not aware of -lonius being a particularly common suffix in personal names, and have no idea why the parents would have coined this variant/used an obscure variant which seems to be unattested elsewhere.
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