The American Name Society mourns the death of one of its leading lights. W.F.H (Bill) Nicolaisen died on February 15, 2016 in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Bill was born on June 13, 1927 in Halle/Salle, in east-central Germany, near Leipzig. A prolific author in all areas of onomastics, he also published extensively in folklore studies. In fact, in addition to having served as the president of the American Name Society, he is the only folklorist to have been president of both the American Folklore Society and the Folklore Society (Great Britain). The author of over 600 journal articles, perhaps Bill’s most widely-known onomastic works are the 1976 Scottish Place-Names (London: B.T. Batsford), The Names of Towns and Cities in Britain (with M. Gelling and M. Richards) (London: B.T. Batsford), and “Place Names in Bilingual Communities” (Names 23: 167-74).
Bill is survived by his wife, four daughters, many grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. He will be greatly missed.