GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2009-04 > 1239676503
From: "grandcross" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Fwd: New Matches Found for your DNA Test Results
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 21:35:03 -0500
What an interesting response.
> "grandcross" wrote:
>> I'm not sure where you got the idea the surname pattern you describe
>> "prevails" in "Portugese (sic)-speaking" countries. Perhaps you were ...
> For reasons that are not at all obvious, you completely missed the
> point of this thread.
Please accept my deepest apologies for having completely missed the point of
this thread. That's a great personal disappointment for me, particularly
since what you wrote was so clearly phrased and you are such an amiable
fellow to deal with online.
That said, I don't think I missed what for me was the "obvious" meaning of
your statement that there is an "Iberian custom of retaining the mother's
surname (or, more precisely, the maternal grandfather's) for one
generation..." If I'm not mistaken, I think you said that or something
similar to it at least twice.
As a co-admin of the Portugal Project and as someone having more than a
passing familiarity with Portuguese naming conventions, I found your comment
intriguing. My understanding of, and years of experience working with,
relevant genealogical Portuguese documents tells me there is no established
*custom* of that kind in continental Portugal and that's what prompted the
question. As I tried to point out, surname use in Portugal has changed over
time and has been subject to many of the same cultural pressures as other
European countries. Social status, land ownership, the effect of
ennoblement, "alcunhas" and several other factors have impacted the naming
system. The one constant in this process has been that assumed surnames
(single, multiple or composite) must bear a rational relationship to a
provable pedigree. People were not allowed to adopt any name by whim.
There were some, both men and women, who chose to retain their mother's
surname for one generation or even permanently, that's for sure, but this
has never been a widespread practice and I wouldn't say it rises to the
level of a custom, which is exactly what I understood you to be asserting.
By the way, in those cases where a maternal name is carried forward to
another generation, there is a slightly greater chance the maternal
*grandmother*, not grandfather, will be so honored.
Everyone is allowed to express opinions here so of course you are free to
disagree with me on this. You will find some very minimal comfort at
Wikipedia. I prefer to rely on the 25,000+ documents I have studied that are
the basis of my understanding for the generational transfer of surnames in
continental Portugal from 1400 to the present.
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