Feminine Names from 15th Century Bologna

by Magnifica Gianna Madalena Alberti/ Giata Magdalena Alberti (Gigi Coulson) 

These names are taken from the 1401 Registro della bollatura delle veste from the Comune of Bologna. This was list of clothing items that were declared to the record-keeper at a Parish location so that the item could be grandfathered in and not fined by the new sumptuary laws. Once the item was recorded it received a bollatura, a label or seal to affix on the inside. The records are numbered and list the woman’s title, her given name, and in most cases both the husband’s or father’s given name and surname in lieu of her family name (e.g. Domina Iacoba uxor Baldesarre de Bove). A description of the garment being declared is also included, but is not included here. 

The names reflect trends typical of the Emiliano and Bolognese dialects spoken in and around Bologna. Names that in modern Italian would start with Gi- often start with Z– becasue the sound for the Bolognese in their dialect would be the same sharper, softer Zh-. For example, Zanna is a form of Gianna, which is a nickname for Giovanna. You’ll also notice the use of x for s, probably becasue the softer sound their dialect has for x.


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