In the course of research in the OPC, I've come across baptism records with the above girl's name which I had never seen before. Google does not seem to know about it either. Is it a Cornish word and does it have a meaning? The oldest usage I found was in 1596 in Menheniot (spelled Duens) and the most recent was in 1817 in Sancreed (spelled Duence). And it was not a common name even back then -- I found a total of only 27 baptisms with the Duen- spelling and 7 with Duin-.
This is hardly a burning genealogical question, but I was just curious. TIA!
Post by Cornish Terrier on Aug 31, 2017 14:31:51 GMT -5
I cannot find an example of this exact name in any of my books - however I have found one name that I suspect might point to the origin of Duens (var.). This is from a book called 'Names for the Cornish' published by Dyllansow Truran - Cornish Publications Trewolsta, Trewirgie, Redruth back in 1984.
Under 'Names for Girls' is the following:-
DYWANA - The name of a legendary ruler of Cornwall.
It seems reasonable to suggest that with the lack of any other evidence this might well be where Duens comes from.
Aha! At closer look, I see a Duena (St. Mellion, 1616) and two Duene's (1652, Egloshayle and 1693, Talland). And, there are also 33 records of a name beginning with Duan- (I had overlooked that possibility!), the latest being in 1841 in Merther. I think you must be right that the -s ending is a variant.
There doesn't seem to be much about a queen Dywana, though on archive.org there is a book entitled THE LIVES OF THE BRITISH SAINTS which mentions "Huallu, son of Tudfwlch Gomeu, prince of Cornwall, and Dywana, daughter of Amlawdd Wledig, was his mother". I wonder how the name came to gain (relative) popularity in the 1600's and 1700's and then faded away in the 19th century; maybe it just began to seem too old-fashioned.
Thank you so much for the info!
Wild afterthought: I don't suppose Dywana can be cognate with Latin Diana?