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Names and Naming Patterns in England
                        1538–1700$

Scott Smith-Bannister

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206637.001.0001

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(p.189) Appendix A: A Test to Measure the Degree of Standardization in the Ordering of the Most Common Names

(p.189) Appendix A: A Test to Measure the Degree of Standardization in the Ordering of the Most Common Names

Source:
Names and Naming Patterns in England 1538–1700
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

THIS test has been designed to measure the degree of standardization in the order of the three most popular boys’ names in each decade over a defined period of time. The first stage of the test is to establish which ordered set of three names was the most popular in a particular parish. This ‘ordered set’ was the most frequently occurring pattern. For example, if the names John, William, and Thomas were, in that order, the three most common names in parish A for six of the ten decades between 1600 and 1700, then this was deemed to be the standard against which the ordering of the most popular names was, in all decades, measured. The second stage of the test was to compare this set of names (John, William, and Thomas) with the three most popular names in a given decade and then allot a points score according to the table laid out below. The points-scoring system has been designed to emphasize the degree of standardization in the ordering of the most popular names.

 

No. of points

All three names occurring among the three most common names in the same order as the standard set

6

All three names occurring among the three most common names with one of the names in the same position as in the standard set

4

All three names among the three most common names in any order

3

Any two of the three names among the three most common names in any order

2

Any one of the three names among the three most common names

1

None of the three names among the three most common names

0

Once the respective number of points has been allotted for each of the respective decades then the ’standardization rating’ can be calculated. This is a simple arithmetic mean in which the total number of points scored is divided by the number of decades covered by the test. For the purpose of comparability, the test was based on the names used in a parish for a period of between six and ten decades of the seventeenth century with all time periods ending at the year 1700. (An exception had to be made in the case of Horsham, where the record ends in 1635.) The length of the time period studied was determined by the first date of (p.190) occurrence, in order, of the standard set of three names. Thus, if the first instance of the occurrence of the names John, William, and Thomas (in that order) was in the 1620s, then this decade marked the beginning of the test. This starting-date was always determined with the proviso that it must be at least six, but no more than ten, decades before 1700. The parish of St Martin-cum-Gregory, York had to be excluded from the test because the results for this particular parish so greatly differed from those found in other parishes that any result which included St Martin’s would have been entirely unrepresentative of the results from all of the other parishes and wholly misleading. It would be prudent to treat this test, and the results it produces, with a modicum of caution. Nevertheless, it would be foolhardy and short-sighted not to attempt to measure the degree of standardization in the names used in each parish and then attempt to explain why this phenomenon occurred in the seventeenth century.