Monday, October 6, 2014

Just Bloody Fed Up: October 7, 2014

October 7th, 2014

Neville Angove, The Black Swan

Been playing around, trying to get things done. I know that you can pay Google to list you higher in the search results, and that Wikipedia is as reliable as a $100 watch (that's $100 because a $10 watch is damn reliable until it fails comletely). But I do searches now that yield results that bear little resemblance to results I achieved five years ago. And when I try to correct errors in results, I am not allowed or asked to pay money!

For example, has the wrong derivation for my surname. It insists it was found first mentioned about the 16th century in Cornwall, and says it is derived from "an" (the) and "gov" (smith). This is wrong. But very convenient.

Nope. That is how today's Cornish describe it. But....

It comes from "Ango,", a place name in NE France. The word means "under dispute" in a local Germanic dialect. I first saw the name in an old atlas on display, in a glass case,  in a maritime shipping company, open to a page displaying France. The area I mentioned had the name "Ango" flowing across it, like a mapmaker's warning, "There be dragons here."

The location was the crossing of the major NS trade link from Germany to Marseilles, and the EW link to Normandy. In the late first millennium, my ancestors traveled both south and west, styling themselves as "of Ango" (D'Ango) or just "Ango.) This can be partly traced by current telephone listings. The group's going west were often styled "Angot" with the "t" silent (a common spelling), hence the later confusion about the spelling.

The extended family settled into Normandy and started a seafaring empire, visiting most of the coasts of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The were well enough established and influential in Normandy by 1066 to join with William the Conqueror in invading England (and definitely were involved in the invasion of Ireland in 1067), and by the middle of the 13th century were established in Cornwall as people of influence (and having adopted the name of "Trengove";  one record explained to me by Wendy Angove had one family - six children and two parents - with five different spellings of the name).

I do not know where "Tren" originated. I met a distant relative in Melbourne in 1976, named "Trungove," and he said his forbears had come from Wales. I know that "trun" was found in several central European dialects and vaguely meant "the place,", so I can imagine a forbear and Cornwall, when asked of his name, said he was (say) "Jean Trun Ango" in reply. To a French person, it would mean "Jean from the place of dispute," and easily be written by scribes as "Trenango" and eventually turned into "Ango."

Remember that the pronunciation of "Angove" follows a mix of English, French and German rules. Add general illiteracy and phonetic transcription by scribes, anything is possible. Why people think "gof" is involved is both simple and easy (and knowing how easy names are modified for little reason, definitely easy). "Gof" is often spelled as "Goff," to ensure the vowel is pronounced as short. It is also spelled as "Gough" to stop the vowel from being pronounced as long. If it is pronounced as long (as  in "although") is spelled as "Gof" instead, we are part way there. Remember that "gof" (long vowel) can be spelled as "gov" (using the Germanic pronunciation of "v"), with the "e" added to the end to mimic the French rule for making the preceding vowel long, then we have the accidental evolution of "Trengove" which has a vaguely Cornish ring to it. Illiteracy could have generated "Angove" by the 15th/16th centuries when it appears to have been first written that way (with the name probably pronounced as "Ango" to reflect its origins).

For various reasons the heavy "v" sound became standard. And for a name which has always been so easily misspelled, the "Angove" spelling has always returned (except in Eire and Scotland, where the name is rare in spite of the fact that the census data says that a large number of Angove women  migrated there). If the name was derived from "the smith," why are the names Thesmith, Thebaker, Theplumber, and so on, so rare? The article "the" was always removed. The name "Gove" is fairly common, but it first appeared in the UK in Aberdeen at the time of the French revolution (the reasoning is obvious), and spread south from there. It is not to be found in the west Scottish province of Gowan (pronounced "govvan") from whence it is supposed to have originated.