16th and early 17th C. feminine names from Lithuanian records

by Rebecca Lucas (ffride wlffsdotter)

© 2013; all rights reserved
last updated 4th August 2013


  1. Introduction
  2. Personal Names
  3. Anthroponyms
  4. Bibliography


The following names, and information about feminine names construction, comes from: Jūratė Čirūnaitė. 2009. "XVI–XVII a. kilmingų Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės moterų vardynas” Darbai ir dienos 51;41-57.

Čirūnaitė extracted feminine names from the 1528, 1565 and 1567 troop census documents of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Переписи войска литовскаго), as well as the “general audit” of Tatars from 1631. Names referenced as coming from the 1631 audit are underlined, although Čirūnaitė does not give the sources for all of the personal names listed, and so some may have been overlooked.
The individuals in these documents were all people of rank, but women were only mentioned where they had been widowed and owned property, or, had provided horses for the army. In total, there were 1796 records mentioning women, although some individuals were recorded multiple times, and only 671 (37.4%) women were mentioned by their personal name. In the context of the Society for Creative Anachronism, however, these names are not registrable, as they lack a given name. They are still included to illustrate how these names were constructed.

The names have been grouped into two broad categories: Personal names (asmenvardis), and anthroponyms (prievardis). The anthroponyms are then further divided into nicknames (pravardės), and names derived from the names of the woman’s family members, particularly the names of her father or husband. Čirūnaitė states that 74.7% of the names surveyed were binomial in form, with a personal name, and then a patronymic or byname relating to their husband. A further 25.5% of the names were binomial, however the patronymic was first, with the personal name in the second place.

The majority of these names were originally written in Cyrillic script, as the administrative language of the Grand Duchy was Ruthenian, also known as Chancery Slavonic. Following in the footsteps of Goldschmidt (undated), these names have been transliterated using the Library of Congress system for Belarusian script (Library of Congress, 2013), and are listed under their modern, Lithuanian form. The remainder of the names appear to be written in the other main language of the Grand Duchy, Polish, and so the patterns used for forming the anthroponyms rely on the grammar of the particular language used in the documents.

Transliteration Note: The Old Slavonic letter ljudije, similar to a Greek lambda (Λ), has been replaced with Cyrillic el (Л/л) due to issues with the letter displaying on computers. Both these letters are transliterated as L/l.
Belarusian transliteration differs from the LoC transcription system for Russian used by Goldschmidt primarily (for this article) in two instances; Г/г is H/h, and И/и is Ī/ī.