Some conclusions on the geography of historical surnames in Vas County

Ferenczi, Gábor (2021) Some conclusions on the geography of historical surnames in Vas County. EPHEMERIS HUNGAROLOGICA : A MAGYARSÁGKUTATÓ INTÉZET FOLYÓIRATA, 1 (2). pp. 253-270. ISSN 2786-3522 (print); 2786-3514 (online)


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In my study, I examined the material of the National Tax Census of 1720 (Conscriptio Regnicolaris) of Vas County included in the database of the Atlas of Historical Surnames in Hungary (AHSH) from two approaches. On the one hand, by using the method of name analysis, I sought to reveal the distribution by origin on the basis of the contemporary surname etymons according to which the surnames in Vas County are divided into three categories: German, Hungarian and Slavic. The high representation of the two latter name etymon groups is clearly due to the double border region and the resulting increased inter-ethnic relations compared to the inland areas of the language area. The distribution of surname etymons between Kőszeg and the districts further complicates the picture. A greater number of Hungarian surnames are found in the northern (Kőszeg) and inland (Kemenesalja and Árokköz) districts of the county. In the town of Kőszeg, as well as in the district of Szombathely, which lies directly on the western border, the number of people with German surname etymons is dominant, as do the Slavs in the district of Tótság on the south-south-western edge, for understandable reasons. On the other hand, with the help of János N. Fodor’s (2010) functional-semantic theoretical framework applied at the research on personal names in the Upper Tisza region, I examined the motivations for naming in the Hungarian-origin surname material of Vas County, by districts and in the case of Kőszeg. The results showed that Hungarian names account for about one third of the total family name stock (33.52%), and 92.61% of these names can be classified into one of the five motivation categories (individual attribute; relationship to people, groups of people; social role, status, situation; relationship to place; relationship to things, circumstances). At both county and district (and in the case of Kőszeg, urban) level, it is clear that the vast majority of all motivational options are distributed between the first four categories. This distribution is relatively even at county level, but is more nuanced at district and Kőszeg level. After this overview, I will briefly present the percentage distribution of ethnonymic surnames at county level and then at district (and Kőszeg) level. Concerning the distribution between the districts (and the city of Kőszeg), the percentage within this category is the highest in the Kőszeg district due to the peripheral location and the consequent greater occurance of interethnic relations. The Kőszeg district is followed by the Szombathely district, which is also peripheral, but lies further south; then by two inland districts, Kemenesalja and Árokköz; and then, interestingly, since it is also a peripheral district, by Tótsági. Finally, this ratio is the lowest in the town of Kőszeg.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / földrajz, antropológia, kikapcsolódás > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography / gazdasági-társadalmi földrajz
P Language and Literature / nyelvészet és irodalom > P0 Philology. Linguistics / filológia, nyelvészet > P40 Sociolinguistics / szociolingvisztika
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2022 11:46
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:46

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