Petter Wenger der Müller – Petter Müller genant Wenger. Personennamen und Benennungsformen in Urbaren der Frühen Neuzeit aus dem Kanton Bern


  • Martina Heer



This paper deals with the use of personal names and the tradition of their written form in historical administrative documents of the 16th century from the area of today’s Canton of Bern. This study examines variation in the use of different naming forms, which were used to designate people who have to pay interest in official property registers (referred to as Urbare), and presents results from the investigation (cf. Heer 2022). In these books, people’s names are listed in quite different ways: With the overall name (Gesamtname) consisting of first name and surname (e. g. Hanns Bannwart; Üli Abbül), with various individual apposition that refer, for example, to kinship or family relationships (e. g. Peter Knörj der eltter; Cristina Cristann Griessenn seligen ewirttj) or give an indication as to the craft activity of the name bearer(s) (e. g. Michel Leman der wäber; Hans Schneewlj der gerber). These name elements can also appear in varying forms (e. g. Ita ëgel vs. Itÿ die wittwen Ülÿ ëgels). The examples show that although a two namedness (Zweinamigkeit) with a fixed surname had become established by this point, a myriad of different naming forms is uncovered, reflecting social naming practices within a society. This article discusses variation in personal names and naming forms, exploring the questions as the which extralinguistic factors influenced these forms and variants and how name use marked social and economic affiliations.