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Bamba to Zarda - the legacy of Gregory Mathews.

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Old Wednesday 1st May 2019, 13:14   #1
James Jobling
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Bamba to Zarda - the legacy of Gregory Mathews.

Not only did Gregory Mathews clog up ornithological nomenclature with his myriad subspecific and specific descriptions, but he failed to provide any etymology or reasoning behind almost all of the names he created. A recent survey of the Key reveals 21 names that I have heretofore treated as "Etymology undiscovered." I have inserted the original citations and texts in the Key. Of these, millitaris and visitori have been hazarded on; ladasi, nutcheri, philordi and scrymgeouri are probably eponyms (but see nutcheri). I had always assumed that the remaining names (bamba, bandi, bebba, bilbali, braba, breda, dingi, gangi, gonada, greda, mugga, munna, publa, zamba, and zarda) were based on Australian indigenous languages that Mathews had culled from the papers of his father, Robert Hamilton Mathews (see Territornis and zanda in the Key, and Whittell, 1954, The Literature of Australian Birds, p. 506). However, with a few exceptions (see gangi, gonada, and mugga), those papers, though fascinating, did not offer any significant clues. Until proven otherwise I shall treat Gregory Mathews's names as "quasi-Aboriginal," but, meantime, try to contact the AMNH where, I understand, Mathews's mss are held.
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Old Wednesday 1st May 2019, 17:35   #2
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James, I surely look forward to read whatever AMNH reply.

Not only did the wilful Mathews "clog up ornithological nomenclature", but he coined quite a few names that we really would like to understand. And some that simply looks, or sounds, funny. It would be truly interesting to get a grasp of how this arbitrary mind worked, especially as some of his oddball inventions/denominations are still in use (some even oozing their way into Swedish Common Bird names).

Please, keep us updated on any progress!

Björn
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Last edited by Calalp : Wednesday 1st May 2019 at 17:58. Reason: typo
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 08:32   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Jobling View Post
[...]
I have inserted the original citations and texts in the Key. Of these, millitaris and visitori have been hazarded on; ladasi, nutcheri, philordi and scrymgeouri are probably eponyms (but see nutcheri). ...
[...]
By the way, regarding ...

scrymgeouri as in:
• the invalid subspecies "Psophodes olivaceus scrymgeouri" MATHEWS 1911 (here) ... no explanation, no dedication ... only clue "Victoria" (i.e. the State, Australia).

As per today's Key; "perhaps after Henry Scrymgeour-Wedderburn ...", but I don't think he (the 9th Earl of Dundee, Scotland) has anything to do with this bird, instead I think (i.e. guess/assume, whatever it is worth) that we ought to look for a "Mr. James I. Scrymgeour", of "Callandoon", a guy mentioned in Mathews's Birds of Australia, on p. 8, in vol. 1, 1910-1911 (here alt. here).

Who he was? I have no idea.

Björn

PS. Today's "Callandoon" seems to be located in Southernmost Queensland (as of here, or Wiki here). If it´s the same place as when Ross and Scrymgeour "took possession of" it, is equally unknown to me. But, why not? Mr Scrymgeour could, as well, have been collecting in Victoria.
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 08:40   #4
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I guess "Mr. James I. Scrymgeour" ought to be found somewhere in, or related to, this Family.

Same guy (note; James T. S. ...), here.

/B

PS. Scrymgeour's Callandoon (Station) at Goondiwindi, Queensland, not to confuse with today's Callandoon grazing property (in NSW, north of Melbourne).
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Last edited by Calalp : Thursday 9th May 2019 at 09:11. Reason: PS
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 13:53   #5
James Jobling
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Thanks Björn. I agree that Mathews's "James I. Scrymgeour" is the stockfarmer James Tindal Steuart Scrymgeour that you have uncovered. I don't think he was a collector, but Mathews corresponded with him before Scrymgeour joined the Australian Army and was blinded in Palestine. I have not yet received a reply from AMNH, but it would appear that close scrutiny of Birds of Australia may uncover other eponymous characters.
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 14:04   #6
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previous discussion (not very fruitful) of the eponym"Scrymgeour" here:
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...ght=scrymgeour
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 23:15   #7
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mouki
Link to earlier thoughts on BF:
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=3504429 .
Mouki child of song.…named by Mathews for reasons best known to himself—none of his lists elaborated on this name. There are few clues to the meaning of this word, though there is a suggestion in HANZAB 90-06 vol. 6 that it may be from an Aboriginal language (unspecified). We wonder if there is some connection with the Mouki Rive northern New South Wales but as the type specimen was from Cairns this is drawing a long bow.
Australian Bird Names: A Complete Guide
Jeannie Gray, Ian Fraser 2013
Birdlife Australia says that Gerygone is from Greek gerygone’, meaning ‘the children of song’.
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Old Friday 10th May 2019, 07:27   #8
Calalp
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Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
previous discussion (not very fruitful) of the eponym"Scrymgeour" here:
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...ght=scrymgeour
Thanks James, and yes, "nartreb", I remember that old thread, the key difference between that thread (which I believed was all forgotten, ignored or simply brushed aside) versus what I posted in this thread (more recent, and still going, where scrymgeouri, once again reappeared), was that I, back in 2015, couldn't find any clear connection between James Scrymgeour and Mr Mathews, but there it was ... in the very first volume of Mathews's Birds of Australia (and from the very same years!). That´s the reason why I thought it might be worth to resurface dear old Mr Scrymgeour ... sorry if it appeared as double-posting.

If it´s truly him... well, like I said: I have no idea. Not for sure (that is, as in; not a 100% sure). But it sure looks like it could be him, doesn't it?

The piece that disturbs me (a little) is the initial given (by Mathews), of his middle name; "James I. Scrymgeour" versus what one might expect; "James T." (S.) Scrymgeour. Other than this, most pieces seems to fit. A (somewhat sloppy, scribbled, scrawled) hand-written "I." could look quite similar to a "T." ...

Note that a James Scrymgeour did collect birds, at least eggs (that is, of course; if it´s the same guy?) for the Victorian Museum (see links in the 2015 thread, especially this one; here), where the location seem to be just about a perfect match, with Scrymgeour's Callandoon (Station), Goondiwindi, Queensland.

Though, with this said, of course; I haven't search for any possible Son, or Brothers ... by the same name.

Thereby, as always; don´t hesitate to prove me wrong.

Björn
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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 10:37   #9
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Mary LeCroy has kindly responded to my request for details of Mathews's MSS and Ernst Mayr's file held at AMNH. I take the liberty of quoting from her reply:
"Only rarely could I solve the derivation of his strangest names. In some of these [AMNH] type lists, I may have mentioned the derivation if I came across it. ... The only Mathews manuscripts in the AMNH are the two volumes of his catalog. Introductory material in several of my type lists includes comments on Mathews' unique approach to cataloguing. I did not find them helpful in name derivation and more often more confusing than helpful with regard to the number of specimens Mathews may have included in his type series. Hartert, in Novitates Zoologicae, had begun to try to list Mathews' types then in the Rothschild Collection; these were extremely helpful, but more often from a taxonomic standpoint than from an etymological standpoint. Mayr did have a file of Mathews' names, and I checked them as I went through each of the bird families. Unfortunately, almost without exception they were a reference to the original description and very occasionally to taxonomic questions. I think Mayr at some point hoped to do a list of Mathews' types, but this was never done."
This confirms that Mathews was a nomenclatural maverick, and that we search for such nuggets as we may in his Birds of Australia, or, as further suggested by Mary, in the collectors' itineraries referenced in her typelist series (http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/).
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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 16:05   #10
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Thanks James, ... well, if Mary LeCroy at the AMNH (American Museum of Natural History) couldn't help, maybe it can be worth trying a similar approach to the Staff at National Library of Australia (in Canberra), as they seem to have quite an extensive "Manuscripts Collection" of Mathews (see this earlier post, from back in 2016) ...

Just an idea.

/B
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