Talk:Marc Isambard Brunel

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Sophie or Sophia?[edit]

The article names Brunel's wife as Sophie Kingdom but the photo of the family grave names her Sophia. I must say I always understood her name to be Sophie but the inconsistency with the gravestone requires some explanation. If the stone was incorrectly engraved you would expect that someone in the high profile family would have had it corrected. MegaPedant (talk) 13:18, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

In the article, she was referred to as 'Sophia' until this major edit of 27 Dec 2007. So all the occurrences of 'Sophie' are the result of one editor, using Bagust as a reference (so did he get it wrong?)
I would suggest that 'Sophia' is more likely to be correct. Comparing the results of a google for 'sophia brunel' with those for 'sophie brunel' shows far more results for the former. More significant are the following cherry-picked links that refer to 'Sophia':
Admittedly these are not definitive, and I know from experience (James Watt birth date!) that all of these sources could have obtained information from an incorrect original... However, some of the persons named on that grave must have been buried after Sophia, and surely within the family they wouldn't have got it wrong?
EdJogg (talk) 01:04, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Hi all, I reverted a change to "Sophie" recently because I thought it was probably just vandalism, but now I see that it is a real question. I would like to add one more wrinkle: Very easily they can both be correct. The reason is that these are alternate Romance versions of the same name. It could be roughly analogous to wondering whether a guy's name was Thomas vs Tom, or Steven vs Steve, or /Porschə/ vs /Porsch/, or /proʒut/ vs /proʃutto/. It just depends on who's talking and what Romance dialect they were speaking at the moment. Just a possible explanation for why both names could be legitimately attested for her. Maybe "Sophia" on her birth and death records but "Sophie" as what was commonly pronounced around the household. I don't know anything about her, though. Cheers, — ¾-10 02:43, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Can I suggest the Google results for "sophie brunel" are referring to his sister, not his mother Sophia. I don't have a copy of Bagust but all other authorities (including, as pointed out above, her flipping gravestone) say Sophia. Whatever she was called en famille I think this encyclopedia article should use her given name. Which is clearly Sophia. --Dominic Sayers (talk) 09:54, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
PetroGeoff (talk · contribs) clearly agrees too, as he has applied the change discussed above (although he missed one and changed one he shouldn't). I've corrected that. All mentions are now to Sophia Kingdom, except the one reference to the daughter, which I have put as Sophie. This latter still requires clarification. EdJogg (talk) 10:36, 13 September 2010 (UTC)


Well I never knew that Brunel is an Old English surname, (talk) 12:14, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Nationality and Knighthood[edit]

According to this page Marc Brunel started out as French, then took US nationality in 1796. There is no record of him taking British nationality. However in 1846 Queen Victoria knighted him and he has subsequently been known as Sir Marc. Foreign citizens are usually awarded an honorary knighthood (which doesn't carry the right to the style "Sir"), not a substantive one. Can anyone throw light on this anomaly? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 15:46, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

I think the UK nationality limitation on knighthoods is more recent than this. Andy Dingley (talk) 20:05, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
It would be nice to track it down for certain. I thought that the "subjects only" rule went way back to when knights were riding about saving poor misunderstood dragons from publicity-concious maidens,;-) AIUI there's a small issue of pledging personal allegiance before all others - a bit difficult if you're a foreign citizen! I'll keep nosing around, if I find some citable facts I'll add them as a footnote. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 20:42, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

Marc Isambard Brunel never was Chief Engineer of New York City[edit]

Marc Isambard Brunel never was Chief Engineer of New York City because that position did not exit outside of the Army Corps of Engineers. Nor are there any records of him being employed as an engineer, even though records of other engineer and surveyors survive.

There WAS a French emigre who served as an Army engineer and surveyor in New York City, Joseph Francois Mangin. He went on to become a famous architect: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ferreiro (talkcontribs) 12:35, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

Marc Isambard Brunel as surveyor for the Castorland project[edit]

Marc Isambard Brunel's biographies always overlook the 2+ years he spent in upstate New York surveying the Castorland project, a French land speculation that ultimately failed. See The Castorland Journal: