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Merry Christmas, everybody! And speaking of Christmas ...

In Charles Dickens' novelette, A Christmas Carol, the main character Ebeneezer Scrooge is referred to several times by others as "Uncle Scrooge", including his nephew Fred. However, Scrooge is the character's surname.

In modern English usage, it seems that usually uncles and aunts are referred to by their given name -- hearing "Uncle Tom" or "Aunt Em" is much more natural than "Uncle Travers" or "Aunt Brown".

Nevertheless, the appellation "Uncle Scrooge" appears six times in A Christmas Carol, and "Uncle Ebeneezer" zero times.

Was Charles Dickens following the norm of Victorian familiar address when writing A Christmas Carol, with the custom changing over the course of decades? Or has the tradition been unchanged and Charles Dickens was portraying an unorthodox address?

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I don't have an answer for you, but since most 19th century writings are out of copyright, it should be pretty easy to amass a small dataset from Project Gutenberg - take some prolific and prominent writers, download their work, and run a search for "Uncle" and "Aunt". That should give you a rough idea. –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Dec 25 '13 at 6:53
    
Interesting question. Note that there may be a difference between British and American custom with respect to this issue. The Brits among us will surely be helpful in elucidating that. –  comeAndGo Dec 29 '13 at 4:38
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