Being a family historian is a true labour of love, but it is also quite the learning process. We are going to try something much different. Instead of doing a monthly newsletter or even a quarterly newsletter we will do a blog. Here is where I can post neat things that I have found or post the puzzlers that I run up against.
Join me as I time travel through time uncovering stories of our wonderful ancestors!!
Thursday, 24 November 2016
Week 47: Surname Theories
There has been so much speculation and discussion on where
the surname Palin originally comes from. And we
have just received a new theory.
Before we discuss the new theory, let’s re-examine the old theories.
The second theory is the name comes from France. The Huguenots came to England circa
1550. The first Huguenot Protestant
church was founded by King Edward VI by a Royal Charter of 1550 in Soho Square,
London. The only problem with this
theory is that we do find the name Palin registered in England before that
The third theory is the name comes from Sweden and it means
'”dweller by a swamp or marsh''. Again,
the question arises on how would the name show up in the other countries before
the earliest date recorded in Sweden.
On November 17, 2016 a new surname reference book was
published. The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland contains
detailed information about the linguistic origins of more than 45,600 common
and rare surnames. (The above link will
take you to a page where you could purchase the book for a mere £400.)
This theory could then answer the question on how the name
showed up in so many different European countries and it also takes us the
farthest back in time. And we all know the Romans were in England – but can we
find any other documentation?
Quite some time ago I scanned some pages that I found on
line take from the 1895 publication of the Thoresby Society and in that I found
a chapter about Paulinus de Leeds written by Richard Holmes and it states therein
that Paulinus de Leeds was vicar in Leeds and died in 1205.
So then I went searching more about Paulinus and what I found
surprised me. There was more than one famous Paulinus.
Paulinus was a young Roman monk at St Andrew’s Monastery in Rome. In 601 he was sent by Pope Gregory
the Great to help St Augustine with the second phase of his conversion of the
people of Britain.
After his arrival,
Paulinus’ mission was initially in Kent, centred on Canterbury. But when King
Edwin of Northumbria married Ethelburga, a Christian Kentish Princess, Paulinus
was instructed to accompany her to pagan Northumbria. He was consecrated Bishop
of the Northumbrians in 625.
The opportunity of a
northern mission had unexpectedly presented itself. Paulinus’ first task was to
convert the pagan King Edwin, hoping this would lead to an agreement which
would allow him to convert Edwin’s Northumbrian subjects.
His patience was
finally rewarded when the king converted and supported Paulinus by creating the
Bishopric and See of York, commanding that a stone church be built. Paulinus
continued his mission throughout the north – travelling, instructing and
baptising people throughout the area which is now Yorkshire, Lancashire,
Cumbria, Tyneside, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Wherever he went, he left
his mark on the modern Church.
In recognition of
Paulinus’ dedication to mission, the Pope gave him the Pallium of Archbishop of
York. After the death of King Edwin, Paulinus accompanied the widowed queen
back to the south, where he lived as Bishop of Rochester until his death on
10th October 644, which is now St Paulinus Day.
I also found reference to a Paulinus de Nola, another roman and this one lived circa c. 354 – June 22, ad 431.
So if we look upon the debate of where the surname came from
in a scientific fashion and test each theory as a Scientific Hypothesis the questions would be
·Does it explain how the name showed up in many
·Is this the earliest possible date seen
The only one that can check all the boxes is the name came
from Rome. This theory answers the
questions on how the name showed up in all the countries (the Romans traveled
extensively throughout Europe) and it is the earliest documentation of the name
Can we prove it – no, but it does tick all the boxes. What do you think?