Page 1 of 1

Are these Gaelic words in our 1780-1830s family Bible pages?

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:10 pm
by eastcarolinaroots
Hello all! I'm new here. :)

I was able to obtain photocopies at the local genealogy library of the family Bible of one of my Mackelroy ancestors (spelled variously all kinds of ways!). Of course it lists births, deaths, marriages -- that sort of thing.

Mostly everything is written in English, but there are a few words in there that certainly are not English, so I'm wondering if they are some kind of Gaelic, presuming his origins are either from Ireland or Scotland. (I'm assuming the Gaelic in Ireland is a bit different than the Gaelic in Scotland -- and the language of the 1700s and 1800s is quite a bit different from that of today!)

Fact is, I don't even know where to begin trying to find out what these words mean, so I figured I'd at least start here by asking if they phonetically look like they could be any sort of Gaelic.

Here they are (in context):

"[illegible] Mackelroy Son of Thomas Mackelroy and Raenee (or Rasnee) his wifereneas. (I'm guessing that last word might just be a poorly written 'wife reneas' (forgetting that they has already written her name.) Born in the year of our Lord 1817 November 26th ~~~~ [illegible] Makelroy long [?] of Thomas Mackelroy Born on the year of our Lord September the 24, 1819 and Depnkasthse."

Down below it's the end of the page and a word is written all by itself that looks like "Moakahsuy."

Could those words possibly be Gaelic, or are they more likely some other language?

Thanks in advance!

Re: Are these Gaelic words in our 1780-1830s family Bible pa

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:47 pm
by Níall Beag
They're very un-Gaelic looking. For one thing, there's all these Ks, and the letter K doesn't appear in the Gaelic alphabet. Gaelic also doesn't like long clusters of consonants like you have in your second word (Depnkasthse) and the vowels are a wee bit funky (without going into details, there are rules in Gaelic about how vowels sit next to consonants).

This goes for both (Scottish) Gaelic and Irish, as they both developed their spelling from a shared literary tradition.

(Edit: of course, that assumes that your transcription is relatively accurate. You might get better results if you upload a scan of the words themselves -- old handwriting can be tricky at times.)

Re: Are these Gaelic words in our 1780-1830s family Bible pa

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:43 pm
by eastcarolinaroots
Thank you for taking the time to respond! I'm certainly happy to include an image of the page, as it is entirely possible that my transcription is wrong.

Image

Re: Are these Gaelic words in our 1780-1830s family Bible pa

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:23 am
by akerbeltz
Doesn't look like Gaelic to me either. The first word in the second line could be Karell with transposed letters (Kaerll)m the writer's hand doesn't seem very sure so a typo isn't out of the question.

Re: Are these Gaelic words in our 1780-1830s family Bible pa

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:04 pm
by Níall Beag
eastcarolinaroots wrote:Thank you for taking the time to respond! I'm certainly happy to include an image of the page, as it is entirely possible that my transcription is wrong.
I'd agree with your transcription of Depnkasthse as the most likely -- I might otherwise have suggested an N at the start, but from "November" we can see that the scribe's N is very different from that.

The way that I would go about investigating this particular word would be to start looking for other such sentences from the same time period, and identifying the pattern of what people customarily put after the date. My first thought from the clustering of letters was maybe a Greek blessing or somesuch, but if it is, it can't be a standard spelling or Google would have given you your answer back in 2011...

At a stretch, you could even justify "and" as a misspelling of "in", if the child was born overseas somewhere, and by the same token, the single word at the bottom could be the place they were in when the text was written, but that's pure speculation. (I say foreign land, but any of that could hold for the US if they were in an area that was still known by Native American names at the time.) Do you have any evidence to indicate where the family would have been at the time?

Re: Are these Gaelic words in our 1780-1830s family Bible pa

Posted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:28 pm
by Gormadoc
The last word looks almost like a print signature of Mackelroy. If the writer is writing some time after the events they are describing, it could even be a different spelling. It looks to me like they screwed up on writing the first instance of the name, realized that they were doing it wrong in the second instance and then tried to emphasize new lines in the second but believed that the first was unsalvageable. Since the r is variable in the writing, I think the s in the last word is probably an r.

It could even be written by somebody who wasn't all that literate. I'm basing this possibility on the 'The' that was miss written, the wifereneas that you found, and the r that looks almost like a p in 'Born'. Because of the mistakes and the inconsistent handwriting, it is another possibility that they were writing more quickly than they should (I know I do).

I'd say that Depnkasthse is possibly a place name. In that vein, it's possible that you won't find what it's supposed to be, since English speakers of the past tried to render what they probably couldn't hear right into some (variable) English orthography. It could be another European language place name or a Native American place name. Alternatively, though this is unlikely, the writer was also documenting the birth of someone else on the same date, maybe a slave or non-British American who lived in close proximity. As Nìall said, more evidence could limit that down to a manageable number of possibilities. Maybe even just more examples of the writer's handwriting could help.