CHANNEL-ISLANDS-L ArchivesArchiver > CHANNEL-ISLANDS > 2008-09 > 1220435490
From: Janice Potter <>
Subject: Re: [CI] Forename 'Suky'
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 02:51:30 -0700 (PDT)
I am most interested in your "Eliza ( Jane) Bisson" who is my direct ancestor!
married to Nicholas Thomas Martel on December 1st, 1892 I have that she is Guernsey born, not Jersey born.
Is there any connection?
----- Original Message ----
From: Mike and Sylvia Bisson <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 3:25:35 AM
Subject: Re: [CI] Forename 'Suky'
Suky, which has much more of a 21st century feel to it than any of the
other female given names in use at the start of the 18th century, when
it briefly became popular in Jersey, started, as Anne suggested in her
post, as a diminutive of Susanne or Susan and was then used as a
baptismal name. As far as I am aware it was only used in a small group
of families and rapidly went out of fashion. Sadly there are no Sukys in
my direct line of ancestors, nor among their siblings, although the name
crops up close by from time to time. My database of Bissons includes
only one Suky, born in 1840.
I find the use of given names in Jersey fascinating. It is remarkable
that the 613 female Bissons whose baptisms are recorded up to 1842 share
only 51 first names, and that reduces to 35 if spelling derivatives are
excluded. Of the 51 names, 23 were used only once in the 250 years
covered by my survey. Only 79 of the Bisson ladies were given second
baptismal names - a fashion which started as late as 1784 in the Bisson
families and I suspect that it was not much earlier for other Jersey
The Bisson ladies' first names, and the number of times they were used
are as follows
Elie (1) I suspect that 'she' might have been a 'he'
Elizabeth (114) remarkably there seem to be no Elisabeths in the baptism
records, although I have one ancestor so recorded in a census
Marguerite (17) remarkably no Margarets
Marie (91) remarkably only three of these were Marie Ann(e)s, a
combination which is very common in other Jersey families
Mary (23) of whom 14 were Mary Ann(e)s
Sara (20) no Sarahs. Today's common spelling must have come in after 1842
Susanne (32) no Susans
Two whose baptismal names were not recorded
Of the 614, 500 shared only nine first names (including spelling variations)
Male Bissons were slightly more numerous during this period - there were
673 of them.
Biamin (1) perhaps the Rector couldn't write very well
Edouard (36) strangely no Edwards
Fitz-James (1) Yes, his father was James
John (7) a spelling variant which dates back only to the 1820s
Marie (1) I know Jean-Marie is a common man's name but was 'Marie'
really a 'she?
Michel (4) My own Michael was a much later introduction
Pierre (19) Peter came in much later
A total of 48 names, 17 used just the once and seven spelling
variations. Only 32 of the male Bissons were given a second baptismal
name between 1595 and 1842. Of the total, 490 shared the ten most
Among the 150 Le Gros Bissons (my branch of the family) included in the
above lists, the men shared only 18 first names, as did the women, and
only one of the 150 had a second baptismal name. My Le Gros Bisson
ancestors were exclusively John, Jean and Matthieu from the mid-19th
century back to 1530. The three I know of before this date were Thomas,
Damian and Robin.
This, and other data I have on different Jersey families, suggests that
there was more variety in the use of given names before the parochial
registers were introduced. What happened to Genette, Marthe, Noelle and
Perrotine? There has certainly been much greater variety in the last 160
years of central registration of births and the French names which were
dominant have all but died out and been replaced either by their English
equivalents or by the multitude of names of recent introduction.
A project I have embarked on to produce a comprehensive tree of all
Jersey families will yield more data on the proliferation of given
names, and I'll no doubt share this with listers in due course, as well
as letting you know when and where the tree will be available to all.
Helen Campbell Blair wrote:
> I'm not familiar with the forename 'Suky' but have noticed it in a couple of posts lately.
> Could someone tell me if it is a diminutive of another name - or ?
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