Names from Sixteenth Century Picardy

by Arval Benicoeur (Josh Mittleman)

© Jan 2005 by Josh Mittleman; all rights reserved.


The names in this article appear in extracts from the records of Jacques Truyart, tax receiver for the city of Senlis, in the southern part of modern Picardy, about 30 miles northeast of Paris. In the 16th century, Senlis was well within the domains of the French crown. The dialect of French spoken in this area differed only slightly from the standard Parisian dialect. The names show some Dutch influence, but the most common names were the same ones found throughout France.

The source for these names is Adhelm Bernier, ed., Monumens Inédits de l'Histoire de France, 1400-1600: Mémoires Originaux concernant principalement les villes d'Ameins, de Beauvais, de Clermont-Oise, de Compiègne, de Crépy, de Noyon, de Senlis, et leurs environs (Paris: Joubert Libraire & Guillemot Libraire; and Senlis: Regnier, 1835). Specifically, they are taken from an appendix titled Comptes de Jacques Truyart, Recepveur des Denier Communs, Dons et Octroiz de la Ville de Senlis, 1586-1599.

The M. Bernier provided no notes on his transcription of the original documents, but judging from archaic spellings etc. the text appears to be transcribed in its original form. In particular, the names do not appear to have been modernized. The grave accents, as in the surname Piguière, were probably added by the modern editor: they are quite rare in period documents.

Spellings of names are consistent, with only a couple exceptions. Most individuals are identified by one given name and one surname: There are no middle names. Most surnames appear to be fixed and not used literally, e.g. Claude Lemaire, archer: Lemaire means "mayor", archer "bowman". On the other hand, Jehan Lefebvre, chevaucheur d'escurie could be literal: "John Smith, stable rider". Marin Bruyant, cryeur de nuit probably is literal: "Marin Noisy, town crier at night". One man is identified with a nickname or alternate surname, Simon Bonvallet dict le sergent Lefrent "Simon Bonvallet called Sergeant Lefrent". I cannot determine if men with the same surname are related; the best indication is that Anthoine and Thomas Degeresmes are both merchants.

It is worth observing that the women do not bear feminine forms of their family names. That was a common practice in many (or perhaps all) parts of France a century earlier.

I have assumed that there aren't two people mentioned here with identical names. Under that assumption, the records name 3 women and 82 men by full names, and perhaps 34 more people by surname or title alone. These last are listed separately. Among the women, I found two given names -- but the sample is obviously too small to be meaningful. Among men I found 36 given names.

The Names

Feminine names

Annette Mention
Marie Pajot
Marie Truyart

Masculine names

Given names sorted by frequency

13 Jehan
9 Nicolas
8 Pierre
5 Philippes
5 Jacques
4 Charles
4 Anthoine
3 François

These names appear twice each: Claude, Guillaume, Martin.

These names appear once each: Adam, Arthus, Azor, Berthault, Denis, Estienne, Framboust, Germain, Gervais, Laurens, Loys, Marin, Medart, Paoul, Phélix, Rieulle, Robert, Sansson, Simon, Thomas, Torgeu, Vaast, Ysay, Yves, Zacarie.

Full names

Adam Le Poulaillier
Anthoine Degeresmes
Anthoine Dumont
Anthoine Duquesne
Anthoine Truyart, fils de monsieur Duvivier
Arthus Dathie
Azor Ometz
Berthault Carandas
Charles de Sainct-Leu
Charles Duval
Charles Dufresnoy
Charles Tarlé
Claude Lemaire
Claude Martin
Denis Delacroix
Estienne Regnault
Framboust Carré
François Merien
François Vizet
François Reculé
Germain Piguière
Gervais Regnault
Guillaume Le Moyne (appears several times in this spelling, once as Le Moine)
Guillaume Mesnier
Jacques Debriquegny
Jacques Fournier
Jacques Pellart
Jacques Truyart
Jacques Thureau
Jehan Cheron
Jehan Gaillart
Jehan Leullier
Jehan Goulart
Jehan Lucas
Jehan Lefebvre
Jehan Duquesne
Jehan Legrand
Jehan de Salmon or de Salomon
Jehan Mallet
Jehan Verdier
Jehan Pasle
Jehan Velly
Laurens de Musy
Loys Dumont
Marin Bruyant
Martin Delacroix
Martin Michel
Medart Dupuis
Nicolas Avalle
Nicolas Delacroix
Nicolas Laurens
Nicolas Denis
Nicolas Dufresnoy
Nicolas Raguet
Nicolas Pinsson
Nicolas Ronvillain
Nicolas Vizet
Paoul Doré
Phélix Panthon
Philippes Germain
Philippes Guerlin
Philippes Legrand
Philippes Durand (appears twice in this spelling, once as Durant)
Philippes Thureau
Pierre de Barry
Pierre Jolly
Pierre Legrand
Pierre Dathie
Pierre Dumont
Pierre Mignières
Pierre de La Verdure
Pierre Sauvaige
Rieulle Martine (definitely masculine)
Robert David
Sansson Poulain
Simon Bonvallet dict le sergent Lefrent
Thomas Degeresmes
Torgeu de Vregy
Vaast Dufresnoy
Ysay Ansel
Yves Chastellain
Zacarie de La Mothe

Individual identified by title or surname alone

Note: Several people listed above are also mentioned by surname alone; I have not bothered to list them unless the spellings varied.

monsieur/madame/sieur de Thorey (several times, and once as Thore)
Courcelles (also sieur de Courcelles)
Le Jongleur
cappitaine Gaston (could be a given name)
de Brequigny
duc de Guise
le sieur d'Aumalle
le sieur d'Humerolles
madame d'Angoulesme or Angoulemme
madame de Gesvres (also Gevre)
madame de Montmorency
monseigneur d'O
monsieur Charmolue
monsieur Methelet
monsieur Penneton
monsieur d'Humières
monsieur de Bauyeulle
monsieur de Boudeville
monsieur de Dandelot
monsieur de Hallot
monsieur de La Noue
monsieur de Liencourt
monsieur de Longueville
monsieur de Nevers
monsieur/madame de Nemours
sieur Abbelly
sieur Duvivier
sieur Le Roulle
sieur de La Garde
sieur de Sillery


(les) Trois Poissons (apparently the name of an inn)
l'église Nostre-Dame
la Fosse-aux-Asnes
la porte de Creil (a city gate?)
la tour du Tannière

Saint's names

I figured these examples might be useful as indications of how these names were spelled.

sainct Jehan Baptiste also Sainct-Jehan-Baptiste

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