GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-05 > 1054426015
From: David Faux <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Some Shetland Island Cemetery Records
Date: Sat, 31 May 2003 17:07:00 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Beth and Barb:
While your hypotheses may well be worth testing in other locations, the surnames of the Shetland Islands are well documented back to, in some cases, the 1400s. There is absolutely nothing "mysterious" about any of the names on the list of cemetery burials from Mid - South Yell. I can explain the origin of each except perhaps 3 - which I suspect are recent arrivals. For example, Hoseason is an old Nordic Shetland name that simply means son of Hosea. I would ask that if you are wondering about a particular name, please ask and I will give you the scoop.
As to forenames, they were very predictable until recently. Names such as Agnes and Grizel (Grace) and Andrina and Robina were as common as Mary and Elizabeth since the earliest days of recorded history in Shetland and many of the fornames are actually "Scotticized" versions of the Nordic. For example, the Scottish Presbyterian ministers did not seem to like the Nordic name Olla - so Olla became Oliver in their registers.
Some of the forenames on the list you provide Beth are modern, and not found in earlier times (e.g., Jasmine), and the list refects the reality that only the most recent stones in Shetland have survivied the ravages of time.
Really the only people who found the Islands inviting until present times were the original Nordic settlers from the 800s (it is unknown what happened to the Picts) who tended to live the life of a poor crofters and fisherman. The Scots came over as lairds of the manor, as ministers, and as merchants. It appears that no one else found the Shetland Islands appealing until re-dicovered in the twentieth century.
No Turks, no Sephardic Jews, no one other than the above. Naturally I would delight in being proved wrong, so if there is any evidence forthcoming please lets hear it. I am sure the good folks in the Shetland Islands were be quite enthralled to learn that their precious customs dating back to Nordic times are someting other than a reflection of an indigenous expression of Viking and Scottish traditions. This is what has been assumed and expressed via oral tradition back through the mists of time.
Good for you!! You took the words out of my mouth! You gave a prime example
that we cannot "assume" anything, really, in genealogical research. First
off, we have to make sure HOW the person with the specific surname arrived in
that specific vicinity, etc.
That's about what I wanted to say, also.
Dr. David K. Faux, P.O. Box 192, Seal Beach, CA, 90740, USA