Archiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2003-09 > 1063521977

From: "David Constantine" <>
Subject: Re: [Q-R] St. Athanase is ..... in English
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 02:47:34 -0400
References: <>

Hi Kevan,

This is a link to the most extensive list of French/English/Latin surname equivalents that I am familiar with. And it does not list Athanase or anything similar enough to be a variant.
Possibly the name fell into disuse in western Europe. I believe that D.O' is correct about who it is. For a very thorough (tedious actually) write-up on St. Athanasius go to this link
I Believe that he is celebrated more in the Eastern and Greek Orthodox Churches than in the Roman Rite. (If I let it, my spell checker would change Athanase to Euthanasia! :) )
As far as translating Church names is concerned, it is seldom done. As a rule St. Athanase in Quebec is still St. Athanase in Denver and Trenton, much the same as Notre Dame in Paris is Notre Dame and not Our Lady. The same usually holds true for place names such as St. Jean and Trois Rivieres.
If there is anything else I can help you with or if this is unclear please feel free to contact me on this list and I will do my best to help you.

Dave Constantine in Boston

----- Original Message -----
From: Kevan Barton
Sent: Saturday, September 13, 2003 11:54 PM
Subject: RE: [Q-R] St. Athanase is ..... in English

Come on guys! As I stated earlier, I'm not asking a geographic question.
To an Englishman, St. John was the beloved of Christ. To someone that
speaks French, is he not St-Jean? Is St. Athanase a French saint, or does
he go by another name in English? I do not speak French, but I've never
heard of St. Athanase in English. Is someone going to help me out, or am I
only going to get pithy replies like:

"To me...
St-Jean does not equal St-John
St-Peter does not equal St-Pierre

Nor does Three-Rivers equal Trois Rivieres

Because they are proper names.
Just as I wouldn't change Kevan"


"Would you translate La Rochelle to the port of "The Little Rocks"? <G>
That would be like the French referring to La Rochelle, Arkansas."

But aside from the fact that these comments do not deal with my question on
saints, taken at face value, I might assume from the comments that the folks
that responded work a very narrowly defined area. So, in the multi-cultural
society of Quebec, there is no tug-of-war between French and English about
usage and proper nouns? This is silly. We only have to look at a map. I
believe most maps have the St. Lawrence River, but do the fine folks of
Quebec call it that? The families I'm tracing originally came from Quebec,
but settled in Vermont. For some reason that I do not know, a very large
percentage of them Anglicized their names. Pierre became Peter, Jean became
John, etc. etc. Levesque became Bishop, Berger became Shepard. They even
referred to their hometowns by English equivalences: St-Jean became St.
John in the documents. I have one that at face value calls St-Athanase, St.
Thomas......but I've yet to have someone tell me if St-Athanase has an
English equivalent.

The moral of the story is that names, even proper names, can be different
and still be quite appropriate. Knowing their differences and their
equations can be the clue I need for a genealogical success, especially
where cultures collide (Quebec), or in transnational movements


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