Can you help track down my fictional relative in a French spy thriller?
February 16, 2015 6:38 AM   Subscribe

I was helping my dad with some genealogical research, trying to figure out how his ancestors migrated from Swedish-ruled Skåne in the 17th Century to Russian-ruled Gdansk in the 18th. I transliterated our family name, Tulinius, into Russian (Тулиниус). I didn't have much luck finding ancestors, but I did come across a fictional Icelandic Тулиниус in a Russian translation of a French spy thriller in the Coplan series by Paul Kenny. As far as Google translate can tell me, the original name of the book is Coplan sème la panique. As my dad is fluent in French, I'd like to get this as birthday present for him, but I want to be sure the character's really named "Tulinius" and that it isn't just a false hit caused by transliteration of a similar name. Is there any way I can find this out?
posted by Kattullus to Society & Culture (4 answers total)
I can't help directly as I have not read the book. However, since it's available on eBay (the French one anyway), perhaps you could contact a vendor and ask her/him if there is indeed a character named Tulinius in the book?
posted by Kwadeng at 7:26 AM on February 16, 2015

I can confirm that in the French version that I see in front of me, the character is indeed named Tulinius.
posted by ellenaim at 7:55 AM on February 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

Wait, so there are maybe two questions...did you transliterate your family name into Russian the way that it was done by your own ancestors, AND did the Russian translator of Paul Kenny's book transliterate Tulinius into Russian correctly? It seems to me that if you didn't have much luck finding real Тулиниус ancestors, maybe both of you missed the transliteration boat the same way? (I may be overthinking this, since you got your answer.)
posted by desuetude at 11:46 AM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well, that's something I've been thinking about too, desuetude. I tried a few alternative transliterations, but that was the one that got most hits. But Jebus knows I'm not well versed in the history of transliteration between the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.

Also, it's not entirely certain that any of my ancestors lived in a region which then or now used the Cyrillic alphabet. The record goes blank between the late 17th Century and 1765 where one ancestor is recorded as having been born in Gdansk. It's a bit of a mystery how they migrate from Southern Sweden to Gdansk. There are many possible reasons, and one of them is that they ended up there after having settled in Swedish Viborg before it was taken over by Russia, so that was why I was searching for the name in Cyrillic.
posted by Kattullus at 4:02 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

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