One of the most frustrating problems associated with the compilation of medieval biographies, or biographies in general, is the abundance and variations of names.
Take for example:
- Adelaide - also referred as: Adelheid, Adela, Adlais, Adelaise, Adeliza, Alice, Alys, Alix.
- Blanche - Blanca
- Hugh - Hugues
- Constance - Constantia
- Beatrice - Beatrix
- James - Jacques, Jaoa
- Henry - Henri, Enrique, Heindrich, Heindrick
Take into account all variations of the name depending on which country your source comes from, and I think you get my meaning.
Then, add to that the confusion over place names. Take for example Adelaide of Poitou - also known as Adelaide of Aquitaine (and all versions of her first name as listed above). Also, consider Alice Capet - aka: Alice of France (and again, numerous versions of her first name).
So, before you sit down and think you have a dozen different people whose lives all mirror each other, with a little more probing you may actually turn out to have just the one. Research and cross-referencing is essential.