My name is Kerry Apps, which frankly has always disappointed me on account of its paucity of syllables. That and the the need to say ‘yes, A-P-P-S as in iPhone applications…’ whenever I am filling out a form over the phone. It is a name clearly too modern for a historian. However, I must admit there’s a certain nominative determinism to it (so thanks ma and da).

You see, Kerry in its Gaelic root means the ‘dark’ or ‘dusky one’ and I was blessed (or cursed depending on the family member) to be born with a mop of dark thick hair and a destiny to go through a prolonged teenage goth phase.

Meanwhile, Apps is a medieval name that means the ‘dwellers among the Aspen trees.’ Whilst I have never lived in a forest, I have found some interesting Apps-es in the archive. Some of them ended up in southern Ireland as the Old English, some went to America and I have even found a Goodwife Apps accused of witchcraft in my hometown of Croydon, south London (then Surrey). I don’t know if I’m related to any of them, but the accused witch would be my favourite.

So despite always finding my name a little bit unglamorous, I must admit it does fit a woman who would end up researching the early modern period (that’s an argued time frame 1500 – 1750 to the non-specialist). After all I do focus on Ireland, the Americas and Caribbean and have a healthy side-interest in witchcraft, deviance and the lives of the poor.

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