2019, Volume 16, Issue 3

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Iulia V. Borovik
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Personal Names of Newborns in the Old Believer Communities of Ekaterinburg in the Early 20th Century

Voprosy onomastiki, 2019, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp. 30–47 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2019.16.3.029

Received 19 February 2019

Abstract: This paper explores the child-naming practices among the Old Believers of Ekaterinburg at the beginning of the 20th century, at that time, a large administrative and trade center of the mining Urals. It aims to outline the main features of their nomenclature and study the composition of names including peculiarities of their writing. The study builds on the database of births, compiled from the metric books of the three Old Believer communities of Ekaterinburg in 1907–1926. Two of these, Uspenskaya and Nikolskaya, belonged to the chasovennye [chapellers] Old Believer hierarchy which did not have a priesthood, whereas the third one, Troitskaya, represented the Belokrinitsky denomination. The records helped to detect each name’s variability, distinguish the canonical and colloquial forms, determine the number of names used, and their frequency. The extraction of phonetic variants brought the author to the final ratio of 178 names per 929 people. The article gives statistical results for the name usage among Old Believers, the set of most common names is compared with the corresponding data sets from other regions. The conclusion holds that in the early 20th century, almost half of the newborns of both sexes received common secular names, particularly it refers to the boys, as they were supposed to be more socially active. Hence, apart from observing religious traditions of their confession, the parents also relied on general preferences of the urban population. The annex contains a list of all the names recorded in the newborns’ section in the Old Believer churches of Ekaterinburg in 1907–1926.

Keywords: nomenclature, anthroponyms, Old Believers, chapellers hierarchy, Belokrinitsky hierarchy, metric books, database, linguistic statistics, mining Ural, Ekaterinburg.

The article was prepared within the framework of the state order of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, project 33.2182.2017/4.6 “Formation of Russian Cultural and Religious Identity: the Monuments of Written Tradition as Symbolic Codes of Cultural Memory”.


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