When is an X not an X?

Discussion in 'Church Records' started by Huncamunca, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    The word 'Christ' was sometimes indicated by a Greek letter chi (which looks like an X) sometimes followed by a Greek letter rho (which looks a bit like a p) or by a combination of the two letters, the chi-rho symbol. Thus what looks like X or Xp can be shorthand for Christ.

    The most familiar result is the use of Xmas to mean Christmas.

    Here are some other examples which you may encounter in parish registers etc.:

    Xenings / Xened = Christenings / Christened
    Xian or Xtian = Christian
    Xopher or Xpofer = Christopher
     
  2. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Here's an example of a 'Xopher' from the parish register of St Botolph, Aldgate, in January 1588/9:

    Xopher Bushopp.JPG

    Mawdelen bushopp dawghter unto [Christ]opher bushopp a garden[er]
    Was baptized the 5 daie of January Anno p[re]dicto

    The Ancestry transcriber has transcribed this as Xopher so it would not come up if you searched for Christopher.
     
  3. MarkJ

    MarkJ Well-Known Member

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    Presumably Ancestry's transcribing minions are told to transcribe "as is" - as indeed are those of us in the Cornwall OPC transcribers. Xopher is what I would transcribe it as - and assume that a researcher would search using Chris to cover Christopher, Chrisr. etc and Xopher should also be tried. Quite a common abbreviation in the late 1500s and early 1600s I find.
     
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  4. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    I agree absolutely that good transcribers should transcribe what is there and not what they think ought to be there. My caption to the photograph is not an example of good practice: I should have put 'xopher [Christopher]' instead of '[Christ]opher' but was too late to edit it.:oops:

    I am not trying to suggest that Xopher should be transcribed as Christopher, just trying to make more people aware that if they are looking for a Christopher they should also try searching for Xopher.
     
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  5. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    And a very good suggestion it is. Not many people would think of that. :)
     
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  6. GrannyBarb

    GrannyBarb Custodian of the Family Accounts

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    Hear, hear!
    I learn so many good tips from you wise folks. :)
     
  7. Shellymac

    Shellymac Well-Known Member

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    Thank you as I never knew that, I never stop leaning from you Humcamunca I read all your posts.
     
  8. Findem

    Findem The Fearless One

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    I was lucky enough to pick that Xopher enlightenment up some years ago when I purchased a booklet from the Essex Family History Society entitled "Simple Latin for Family Historians", although it doesn't mention Xmas for Christmas.

    It did come as a bit of a shock though when I found out from PRs that Xmas is not the modern shortening of Christmas that I had always thought it to be.
     
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  9. Old Stoneface

    Old Stoneface Well-Known Member

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    :D Ditto (+)(^^)(+)

    With shame, I must admit that I too thought it was just a lazy modern way of writing Christmas - but then I did Latin at school, not Greek :rolleyes: It doesn't stop me loathing seeing Christmas shortened like that, though, but I suppose I will have to try to be more tolerant and consider that all the shorthanders and texters must be well-versed in Ancient Greek. ;)

    Somehow, I don't think so :p
     

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