The Franks were an ethnic group of Germanic people who lived along the Rhine River in the third century AD. There were two independent Frankish groups: the Salians, who lived to the north, and the Ripuarians, who lived in the south.

The Salian leader Clovis (466-511) conquered the Romans, Gauls, and Visigoths and expanded the Frankish territory in the fifth century AD to include, from north to south, the English Channel to the Mediterranean Sea, and, from east to west, the Pyrenees Mountains to the Rhine River. Clovis united all of the Franks and converted to Roman Catholicism. As part of the Merovingian Dynasty in the 5th century, the Franks continued to conquer Europe. By the ninth century AD their territory had expanded to include much of Europe.

Frankish names are characteristically two-part, with each part carrying a distinct meaning. The parts can be mixed up to create many different variations. The meanings most often convey strength, valor, and boldness in battle.

Examples of male Frankish names are Sigmund (victory and protection),

Egbert (bright sword), Baldric (bold and powerful), Adalman (noble man), Lothar (famous army), and Gunthar (warrior in army).

For women’s names, there were some characteristic female endings, or an “a” could be added to a male name: Gertrude (spear of power), Clothild (famous battle), Hildegard (battle dwelling-place), and Brunhilda (battle armor).

Some first parts for Frankish names are:

• Adal- (noble)

• Am- or Amal- (active)

• Bald- (bold)

• Bert- (bright)

• Child- (fight)

• Chlod- (celebrated, famous)

• Eg- (sword)

• Sigi- (victory)

• Theud- (folk)

• Ger- (spear)

Masculine second parts include:

• ger (lance)

• man (man)

• mund (protection)

• ric (powerful)

• sind (road)

Some feminine second parts are:

• burg (fortress, protection)

• gard (dwelling-place)

• gund (war or combat)

• hild (battle)

• lind (gentle)

• swind or -swinda (strength)

• trud (power)

Query

On the 1850 Clark County, Illinois, census there is a Rebecca Wright, born 1810 in Virginia, with three boys: John, born 1831; James, born 1834; and William, born 1838. All were born in Illinois. Can anyone tell me who the husband and father was in this family? I am descended from James Wright and Lucinda (McComas) Wright, who moved to this area from Rush County, Indiana. They were originally from Virginia. Thanks. Diane Ethridge, e-mail deae@consolidated.net.

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