Monday, April 28, 2014

READ -- Write -- Publish -- Genealogy

What is the collective noun for a group of writers? This is a question I asked recently on Facebook.

The answer is, a "worship of writers." The term appeared in The Book of St. Albans, published in 1486. The book is said to have been written by Juliana Berners, the prioress of the Priory of St. Mary of Sopwell which is near St. Albans. She was a writer of heraldry, hawking and hunting. Most of the terms described aggregations of animals, but it was not limited to "Beestys and Fowlys," evidenced by other contributions such as an "eloquence of lawyers" and a "flight of stairs."

While you might imagine that a "worship of writers" origin had to do with the readers of books and their obsession with the authors, it is quite the opposite. In the Middle Ages writers needed a patron to survive and therefore would heap flattery on that patron in their writings. Thus, a "worship of writers."

Noreen Alexander Manzella was the first correct answer, and the first answer period. LisaMary Wichowski and Lynne Penniman Carothers also had the correct answer, but they all just "knew" the answer. Wish I was that smart.

There were some very humorous answers. My personal favorite was "Writers' Block" from Jana Sloan Broglin. To write that as a collective noun would be a "block of writers" or a "bloc of writers." Love it!

I have found no one collective noun for a group of genealogists, so let's get our wit working and offer a few for consideration.

I will start with a couple of tree references:
a "stand of genealogists" 
a "thicket of genealogists" 
and a research reference we are all familiar with, a "hoard of genealogists."
Here are a few contributions from Facebook friends.
LisaMary Wichowski - A 'query' of genealogists? (I knew the original answer from James Lipton's lovely book, was especially amused by 'unction of undertakers')
Patricia Brown - A hoven of genealogists
Patricia Brown  -- For the record - I meant "coven". Just looked up hoven and found out it means a "swelling" which could be correct if you are looking at photos of a group if genealogists together. 
Bruce Buzbee -- A body of genealogists 
Charlotte Sellers -- A forest of genealogists ... made up of many trees. 
David Foy -- A citation of genealogists. 
Ellen Rowan Taylor -- An obsession of genealogists. 

Deborah Hart Stock -- A besom of genealogists - because a besom broom is a collection of twigs and branches fastened together, and jumping over such a broom has in the past been one way of contracting a marriage, and thus the potential beginning of a family.
We can always use more, so let's get our wit working, offer a few for consideration.


Blogger Unknown said...

Following your lead in the next post. I suggest the collective noun of......A trace of genealogists.

June 25, 2014 at 11:51 PM  

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