Vol. 55 No. 4 (2007)
Research Article

The “Malachi” Given Name Pattern in a Swedish Village, 1500–1800

Published 2007-12-01



An inventory of parish records contains the given names of some 2,000 males and nearly 2,000 females in the village of Ljustorp, Sweden over three centuries. Three-fourths of all males shared eight given names and three-fourths of all females shared another eight names. The duplication of personal names across generations comes from the practice of naming children after close relatives. The naming pattern had three characteristics: repetition of the same given names for different people; selection of a child's name from a specific set of close family relationships; and assignment of the relative's name to the namesake child according to birth order. Although the specific pattern may be labeled name repetition in some onomastic and genealogical discussions, a precise term for the naming practice is lacking. I suggest it be called the “Malachi” pattern, after the description of the prophet who foresaw the restoration of family ties in the latter days.


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