Aunger, Betties and Cattran

Here are three more family names that were largely confined to Cornwall in the 1881 census. These three have their origins in first names.

Aunger is supposedly from a Norman-French first name Aunger or Anger. It was found in Cornwall at an early period, appearing close to the border with Devon in the 1530s and 40s. It had ramified by the mid-1600s and spread as far west as St Minver on the Camel estuary in the north and Fowey in the south, while remaining confined to east Cornwall. That geography makes the expected confusion with the name Angear less likely as the latter was found principally in the west.

Betties. From the 1500s onwards there was a general tendency to add an -s to a personal name to denote ‘son of’, as in Williams or Hicks. The name Betty was found in Cornwall as early as the 1520s. This was either a pet form of Beton or Bett, which would themselves have been short for Beatrice or Bartholomew. Rather oddly, the fashion of adding an -s to Betty didn’t appear in the records until the late 1700s when the name Bettys first crops up in north Cornwall – at Blisland and further east at Trewen. Earlier in the 1600s the preference was for Bettinson.

The early distribution of the name Betty

Cattran. Although an earlier Anne Cattran is found in the baptismal register at Sancreed, this name was specific to nearby Paul parish in Penwith. There, a Thomas Cattern was married in 1694, the spelling reflecting the local pronunciation. Earlier in Paul parish and elsewhere we find the name Catharine and Cattran was no doubt a variant of that name.

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