Dr George Redmonds

Members of the Society will have been deeply saddened to hear of the death of Dr George Redmonds on August 10th 2018. He was a pioneering scholar on origins of English surnames, especially but not exclusively those of his native county, Yorkshire. Publications like his Surnames and Genealogy: a New Approach (1997), Surnames, DNA and Family History (2011, co-authored with David Hey and Turi King) and the monumental 841-page Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames (published in 2015 by Shaun Tyas) have made a profound difference to our understanding of the way modern surnames evolved from their (mostly) medieval origins. He did for English surnames research what W. G. Hoskins did for landscape history. All kinds of names interested him. His Christian Names in Local and Family History, published by the National Archives in 2004, remains by far the best book on the subject. He was also a prolific researcher and writer on Yorkshire place-names and recently on dialect vocabulary. The last work he completed was a Historic Yorkshire Dictionary, to be published in print form by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and online by the Borthwick Institute. He was the kindest and most generous of colleagues and a good friend to this Society (and its former existence as a Council), which he said to me the day before he died had been a lifeline for him, when he was earning a living as a freelance writer and lecturer. He was a brilliant speaker and gave a number of memorable papers at SNSBI conferences, including the one at Ripon in 1990, which he organised. I was glad to have been asked by his wife Ann-marie to say something at the funeral on August 29th about George’s contribution to name studies, and that she was happy for the Society to send a spray of white roses and lilies to be placed at the grave. A full appreciation of the man and his work will appear in the 2018 volume of Nomina.

Peter McClure (written for the SNSBI Newsletter Autumn 2018)