While there is some bias in these documents toward individuals who are higher ranking than the social level the SCA is trying to reconstruct, many of the people mentioned are sailors and merchants. Therefore, many of the names represent the gentry, which is the sort of people that interest us.
Many individuals were mentioned multiple times; I have only recorded each once. However, I assume that people with different bynames (when those differences are not simple spelling changes) were distinct individuals (i.e. that <Alvaro Mendez> is not the same individual as <Alvaro Mendez de Vasconcellos>) unless the text of the letter makes it clear that they were the same person. Likewise, if the same name is mentioned after a gap of 5 years or more, I have assumed that they are different people, unless textual evidence suggests that they are the same individual.
Because individuals may be mentioned many times using several different spellings, I have made no attempt to quantify the occurrence of different spellings of names. Instead I simply list the variations in spelling for each name in a rough order from most frequent to least frequent.
Women's names were for the most part absent from these letters. For example, neither João's wife Catalina, nor his stepmother, Leonor, is mentioned by name, but only by title. (Both of these are modern spellings; they would probably have been <Catalina> and <Lionor> respectively.)
Reflecting the close relationship between Portugal and Spain, Portuguese names in the sixteenth century were quite similar to Spanish names, though distinctly Portuguese forms were evident. Portuguese names were roughly similar in complexity to Spanish names at the same time: no one mentioned here had a second given (middle) name, and only 15% have a surname with two elements.
A tilde (~) marks a nasalized vowel. Certain vowels (e, i, y) are marked with tildes in this data, though they are not used in modern Portuguese; these vowels are followed by tildes in the data. In such names as <Fernam>/<Fernão>, <-am>, <-ã>, and <-ão> are all used interchangeably. The pronunciation marked by <-ão> (similar to the modern Portuguese form, e.g. <São Paulo>, which is pronounced rather like <ow> in English). It is not clear whether the spelling ending in <-am> reflects an alternate pronunciation for the name, or whether it is simply an archaic spelling, not yet replaced by a form that more accurately reflects the 16th century pronunciation.
The top men's names are (in order of frequency):
|also Joham, João, Johão, Jõ, Ioham|
|also Amtonio, Amtonyo, Anthonio, Antonyo|
|also Françisco, Françisquo, Francisquo|
|also Pedro, Pere, Pedre|
|also Dioguo, Diego, Dieguo, Dyogo|
|also Manoel, Manoell, Manuell|
|also Fernã, Fernão, Fermão|
|also Simão, Symaão, Symãoo, Syman|
|also Afonso, Afomso, Affomso|
|also Lluis, Luys|
|also Viçente, Vicemte, Vincente, Vice~te|
|also Marti~, Martym, Martin, Martinho, Martino, Marty~, Martynho|
|also Baltasar, Baltesar, Balltesar|
|also Llopo, Lope|
|also Andre, Andres|
|also Bernalldo, Bernalldim|
|also Paull, Pallos, Palos, Pellas, Pelas|
The following names were borne by three individuals: Bellchior (also Belchior, Belchyor); Christovam (Christovão, Christão); Cosme (also Cossme); Eytor; Fernando; Garcia; Tome (also Thome, Tomaas, Tomee)
The following names were borne by two individuals: Ayres (Aires); Bastiam; Bertollameu (Bertolameu); Denis (Denys); Domingos (Domi~gos); Estevam (Estavã); Gomez; Goterre (Gotera); Inacio; Leonel (Leon); Llucas (Lucas, Luquas); Miguel; Nicollao (Nicolaao, Nycolaa, Nicolao, Nicalao, Niolaao); Tristam (Tristão); Vasco
Structurally, Portuguese surnames were similar to Spanish surnames at the same time. Textual evidence suggests that these names were mostly inherited surnames, rather than a descriptive particular to an individual. Thus, the son of <Fernam Allvarez> would be known as <Joham Allvarez> (an inherited surname), rather than <Joham Fenandez> (a true patronymic).
Of the 424 men, 6% (25) were mentioned without a surname. A few of them were described in the text (not as part of their names) in terms of their relationship to another person (e.g., "Afonso who is the brother of Joham de Castro"). However, an overwhelming majority (79%) of the people mentioned had a single element surname. Of these names, there were more locative surnames (31%) than any other type, though patronymic surnames were also frequently found. A significant minority of individuals mentioned (15%) had a two element surname, mostly one of the non-locative elements also found in single element surnames (either a patronymic or one of the "other" unidentified elements) followed by a locative element.
Common patronymic surnames include:
|Paes (from Pelayo)||Perez||Rodrigo||Suarez||Vaaz (from Vasco)|
Common locative surnames include:
|d'Alboquerque||d'Allmeida||d'Atayde||da Cunha||da Costa|
|da Silva||de Barros||de Briho||de Castro||de Crasto|
|de lima||de Loronha||de Mello||de Menesses||de Mota|
|de Paiva||de Sousa|
Other common surnames include:
|Single element surname||
|Locative: <de (placename)>||
|Patronymic ending in <-ez>||
|Other one element||
|Two element surname||
|Patronym in <ez> +locative||
|Uninflected patronymic + locative||
|Other two element||
A complete list of all men's names as they appear in the letters is also available.
Only a few women's names can be identified in this text. All the names are also well documented as Spanish names. However, this list is significantly different than the list of names of Portuguese women from the 15th century. Presumably this is a factor of the small sample size from the two lists, since names from each list are attested throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Spain.
Women's surnames were somewhat less complex than men's bynames. One woman had no surname mentioned, because royalty are generally not given surnames in Portuguese sources. The rest had single element surnames. None had a two-element byname. One woman used a simple locative surname while her brother used a two-element surname containing both a patronymic and locative element.
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