Great stuff, thanks.  Unfortunatately the "gritty details" link seems to be down, but what you've sent is sufficient for my purposes.  It even turns out that "Darc" was OK.

Tom K

In a message dated 1/23/2003 4:30:19 PM Eastern Standard Time, "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]> writes:

>Tom K. wrote:
>> It is my understanding that d'Arc is an incorrect (though nearly
>> universal) usage, implying that Joan was of "noble" birth when she was
>> not.  I claim no expertise here, but I read somewhere recently that
>> Jaques Barzun, who I belive does speak French and knows many things,
>> told them this about Joan's name.
>> I do not know how one is supposed to refer to the Maid of Orleans
>> under this view, so I went with Darc, which is almost surely not the
>> answer.
>> Maybe someone on the list knows, and would enlighten me, as to:
>> (i) whether the view attributed to Prof.  Barzun is right and, if so,
>> (ii) how one properly ought to refer to Joan.  (Surely, whatever the
>> answer, "Joan of Arc" or "Jean D'Arc" is the way to go if you want to
>> be commonly understood: still, I wonder what the technical answer is.)
>The site to go to is:
>From her biography page
>    On the night of the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) at the end of
>    the medieval Christmas season, in the year 1412 during the final
>    waning period of relative peace secured by the Truce of Leulinghen, a
>    baby was born to Jacques Darc (or "d'Arc") and his wife Isabelle in
>    the village of Domrémy. She was christened Jehanne ("Joan"),
>    apparently after her mother's sister Jehanne Lassois, or her
>    godmothers Jehanne Royer, Jehanne de Viteau, and Jehanne "the wife of
>    Mayor Aubéry". Lord Perceval de Boulainvilliers later claimed that the
>    roosters of the village, "like heralds of a new joy", hailed her birth
>    by crowing long before dawn4, as if to announce a different type of dawn.
>A few snippets from a page on her name and signature
>    ...
>    Another point of contention: there are those who strenuously object
>    to the modernized version of her family's surname (d'Arc, meaning "of
>    Arc", instead of the medieval "Darc"). The lack of any apostrophe in
>    15th century contractions has left the matter open to speculation,
>    although the Latin form, "Darco", has been taken to indicate that it
>    was simply a name rather than a contracted phrase. (Those who are
>    interested in the gritty details can click here for the various pro
>    and con arguments invoked in this momentous intellectual battle).
>    Inevitably, those scholars who favor the "contraction hypothesis" are
>    further divided into two camps: those who believe that the name "of
>    Arc" merely indicates place of origin, versus those who believe that
>    it indicates feudal ownership and therefore noble lineage (i.e.,
>    aristocratic roots prior to the family's ennoblement by Charles VII in
>    1429). The issue is largely moot, since there wasn't any meaningful
>    distinction between the lowest noble families and the more prosperous
>    farmers: the aristocracy was constructed along the same 'pyramid' form
>    as the rest of society, meaning that there were thousands of petty
>    nobles at the bottom of the scale who lay within the economic gray
>    area where the Second and Third Estates overlapped. By necessity such
>    families often intermarried with commoners, blurring the line between
>    the two classes. The moderate prosperity of the Darc family could
>    indicate that they were either a faded remnant of an old noble house,
>    or a rising peasant family; either way, it would make little practical
>    difference.
>    In the medieval manuscripts, the name appears in numerous forms: Darc,
>    Tarc, Tart, Dare, Day, Daix, etc. The latter two spellings (Day and
>    Daix) were attempts to reflect the pronunciation used by the family
>    itself: in their native dialect the final consonants were dropped and
>    the vowel shortened. The spellings which use a 't' for the initial
>    consonant are believed to reflect the sharp pronunciation of 'd' in
>    the same dialect.
>    ...
>    Her first name, "Jehanne" or "Jhenne" ("Joan" or "Joanna" in English)
>    was virtually the most common female name in that era, appearing
>    prominently and repeatedly in all French families of the late medieval
>    period.
>    Rick Parker