How to Document a Name (not quite within an inch of its life)
Juliana de Luna (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Known World Heraldic Symposium
Sooner or later, everyone is left staring at the section of the bottom of the Name Submission Forms, where it says "Name Documentation and Consultation Notes." Today, we're going to talk about what to put in that space, to give the people you help the best chance to have their name pass without problems.
What do I Need to Document (and what will help me to do it)?
Under the Standards for Evaluation, you need to provide documentation for:
- Each name phrase: a given name or a byname
- That's true whether they're attested, constructed, justified under the lingua Anglica allowance, the borrowed (literary) names allowance, the legal name allowance, the branch name allowance, or the grandfather clause
- Note that this includes the form (de London vs. of the London) of the name as well as the spelling (London vs. Londone)
- The structure of the name: how the pieces go together as a whole
- For single language names:
- Appendix A of SENA has a whole bunch of structures you don't have to document further
- But lack of a pattern in Appendix A doesn't mean it's not just fine
- And that all the elements are dated to within 500 years
- For mixed language names:
- That the languages are compatible under Appendix C of SENA; note that you can only mix languages from two naming pools
- Or that the languages were used together (not translated into local equivalents or otherwise altered) in names – this is hard and shouldn't be undertaken lightly
- That each element of the name fits into a pattern suitable for the language of that element
- All that all that elements are dated to within 300 years if the elements combine two naming pools or 500 years if they are from a single naming pool
- Using the allowances and structure:
- The lingua Anglica allowance allows you to translate a byname into its standard modern English form for clarity, as its meaning would be clear to people at that time. The byname is still treated as a name phrase from its original language and time. You cannot translate given names into standard modern forms.
- The borrowed (literary) names allowance allows you to create a given name or more rarely a byname following a pattern of borrowed names for that culture. For example, late period English parents often gave their children biblical names, so we allow the registration of biblical names as late period English names. There is a pattern of using the names of major Arthurian figures in many Western European cultures, so we allow an Italian Lancilotto. The name is treated as a name phrase from the time and place where it might have been used.
- The legal name allowance requires that you show that the name in that exact spelling is part of the submitter's legal name. Nicknames are not eligible for this allowance. The element must be used as a similar element: given names become given names, while family names become family names. Middle names may be either, depending on the type of name they are today (as my middle name is Elizabeth and my brother's Abernathy – one a given name by type, one a surname by type). Elements documented using the legal name allowance are considered temporally and culturally neutral, even if they are themselves period elements.
- The branch name allowance allows you to create a lingua Anglica locative byname from a registered branch name, like of Caid. To do anything else with a registered branch name, you have to document it as an attested or constructed period byname (in other words, you've got to redocument the branch name). Elements documented using the legal name allowance are considered temporally and culturally neutral, even if they are themselves period elements.
- The grandfather clause allows you to keep elements of a currently registered name (the submitter's or a close legal relative), as long as the new submission does not introduce any new style problems, like adding another naming pool to the existing name.
What Sources to Use
While you can get period names from anywhere, including history books, encyclopedias, and dictionaries, the names found in books like these are often changed to be more familiar to the modern ear. For example, Christopher Columbus was known to his Spanish contemporaries as Cristobal Colon. So to find good period forms of names, you have to go to books that don't modernize them. Luckily, lots of heralds before you have found books like that and created lists of period names in their period forms.
So, at the end of this, there's a list of good books and articles you can use to document names for a variety of cultures. For most of these books, you don't need to send in photocopies; and in many cases, you can find them on Google Books. They're also good books for you to look for, and books that most experienced heralds have. Don't worry that some of them aren't in English; people learn how to read a little French, German and Italian while doing name research and can help you with it. For the web articles, you need to include two photocopies of the first page and the page on which the information was found for those that are not on http://heraldry.sca.org (or the Academy of Saint Gabriel report archive, about which more below). Similarly, if you find the information in a book not mentioned here, you need to make copies (unless it's on the Laurel no-photocopy list).
There are a few really useful sets of web resources online; I'll also by region go back and talk about the specific articles and books I prefer to start with for each language.
- First and foremost is the Laurel website: http://heraldry.sca.org. This includes SENA, the rules that we currently use and a whole bunch of names articles (at http://heraldry.sca.org/names.html), but note that a lot of important articles aren't located there. These items do not require photocopies.
- Second, OSCAR, the Online System for Commentary and Response (http://oscar.sca.org). This website lists all the submissions for the last several years. If you can find a submission using the name element you're trying to document, you can look at their documentation. Be sure to look at the most recent submissions and check that the name was registered using the Letter of Acceptances and Returns (LoAR) archive. Of course, past registration is no guarantee of current registerability, but imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. In general, no photocopies are required of this material, but you should make it clear which submission you're imitating, as well as providing your own summary of the documentation you found.
- Third, the Academy of Saint Gabriel report archive, which can be searched at http://s-gabriel.org/advancedsearch.html. The reports do not require photocopies, but some of them are at this point quite out of date. The really old ones are marked, but others may have problems as well. While the Academy is no longer functioning as a consulting group, the reports are annotated when new information is found.
- Fourth, the Academy of Saint Gabriel Medieval Names Archive. Again, this website continues to be updated. In some ways, this is the most complete curated collection of SCA-researched name articles, though not all of them are housed on the website. These articles are rarely no-photocopy.
How to write down what you've found
So, now that you've researched a name, you need to write down what you've found on a submission form. The first thing to remember is "Be truthful" - the people who read submissions know more than you do and tend to assume that misstatements of fact are "trying to get something over on the College." Laurel gives the submitter the benefit of the doubt, so don't feel like you need to make the case for a name better than it is.
For each name element, list (1) the source that you got it from (for the ones in the list above, usually the author alone is enough; otherwise, give enough that we can figure it out), (2) an accurate summary of the relevant information, and (3) your conclusion. Don't just give a source and page number; it has been stated that not summarizing information is grounds for return.
Let's try some examples:
In this section, I'm going to go over, for several major cultural areas, the resources that I start with when I have to document a name and where to find them. The sources that require photocopies are marked with an asterisk. For the languages not listed here, start in that section of the Academy of Saint Gabriel's Medieval Names Archive (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/); there are generally a small number of
General Resources: There are a few generically useful ways to find names when you don't know what culture you're looking for or if you have tried the regular stuff.
- FamilySearch Historical Records (was the IGI Records Extracts): The Mormons have a long interest in records that could be used for genealogical research. In recent years, they've been extracting names from documents and making them available online. This is really only useful for late period names, but the variety of spellings is impressive. At https://www.familysearch.org/search, you can set the date (make 1650 the end date). Make sure you check the batch number; a list of acceptable batch numbers is found in the February 2012 Cover Letter; a revised version is forthcoming on the May 2013 Cover Letter.
- Site delimited Google Searches: You can set Google to search a single site (like the Academy of Saint Gabriel website) by using the search term "site:X" (so site:www.s-gabriel.org). This allows you to search a whole group of articles at once.
- Google Books: Found at http://books.google.com. Remember all my warnings about books and their issues? Well, books can still be fantastic. There are two approaches to using Google Books:
- Use Search Tools to set a custom range for time, and only search on period books.
- Search on a couple of spellings of a common name, including one that's only likely to be found in period (for French, Jehan and Jean). Finding multiple spellings of a common name makes it more likely that names were neither modernized nor standardized.
Arabic: Here stick to articles, though I'll share a secret or two verbally. The two big articles are:
- * Juliana de Luna, "Arabic Names from al-Andalus" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/juliana/alandalus/).
- Da'ud ibn Auda, "Personal Arabic Names and Naming Practices" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/arabic-naming2.htm). This article uses a relatively simplified transliteration system, so make sure that if you combine elements from another source that you match the transliteration systems.
Dutch: Here, again, stick to articles. I start with the articles by Aryanhwy merch Catmael and Loveday Toddekyn.
- * Loveday Toddekyn, "Names from Bruges, 1400-1600" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/docs/bruges/). This was our main resource for a really long time, and has a really impressive set of bynames.
- Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "Dutch Names 1358-1361" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/dutch/earlydutch14.html) and "15th Century Dutch Names" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/dutch/dutch15.html). Ary has some other articles as well.
England: This is one of the few places for which the books remain my first "go-to" source:
- The given name book is E. G. Withycombe, The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press). It's out of print, but easily found as a used book. Be sure to get the 3rd edition (which dates to the 1980s), as earlier editions have much less detail.
- The surname book is "Reaney and Wilson," Reaney, P. H., & R. M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames (London: Oxford University Press, 1995). It's out of print, but easily found as a used book. It's also searchable on Google Books at http://books.google.com/books/about/A_Dictionary_of_English_Surnames.html?id=fPoujUPs3hYC.
- There are a couple of place names books. The "has everything" book is Victor Watts The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, but it's $70 new. Cheaper (and searchable at amazon.com) is A.D. Mills Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names.
- The online article I use the most is Talan Gwynek's "Feminine Given Names in A Dictionary of English Surnames" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/talan/reaney/). As it originally appeared in the Known World Heraldic Symposium Proceedings, it's actually no-photocopy as well.
- There are a whole group of surnames articles, so I tend to go searching for them by doing a site-specific search on Google: type site:s-gabriel.org as well as the element you're looking for.
- The other remarkable thing for byname citations is the Middle English Dictionary online; the search form is at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/med/structure.html. Many descriptive, occupational, and place-name words have citations of their use in bynames. Not every word is a plausible byname, but it's always worth looking to see if there's period evidence of its use.
Other British Isles: Old English: * PASE, baby, PASE all the way. PASE (The Proposography of Anglo-Saxon England, found at http://pase.ac.uk/jsp/index.jsp) is a collection of an amazing array of Anglo-Saxon names. It's the only thing I generally use.
Other British Isles: Wales: This is Tangwysyl verch Morgant Glasvryn's field, and her articles are the place to start:
- "A Simple Guide to Constructing 13th Century Welsh Names" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/welsh13.html) and "A Simple Guide to Constructing 16th Century Welsh Names (in English Contexts)" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/welsh16.html).
- For other spellings, I got to Morgan and Morgan, T. J. and Prys Morgan's Welsh Surnames. You can only get a snippet view of it, but it's searchable on Google Books at http://books.google.com/books?id=EIIUAQAAIAAJ.
Other British Isles: Anglicized Irish: We used to have little online that gave us Anglicized Irish forms, until Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada published two articles:
- * "Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents" (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnglicizedIrish/) and "16th & 17th Century Anglicized Irish Surnames from Woulfe" (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/Woulfe/index.shtml). Now I essentially never go anyplace else.
Other British Isles: Scots: For Scots, I still mostly go to a book:
- Black's Surnames of Scotland; it's readily available, but not cheap.
- * However, I'm also using more and more Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "Index of Scots names found in Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/scots/dost/).
French: For French, we have an embracement of riches, and it sometimes feels easy to get lost in the sources.
- * I usually start with Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "Names from the 1292 Paris Census" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/1292paris.pdf).
- * Then, I move on to her "French Names from Paris, 1421, 1423, & 1438" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/paris1423.html).
- * My third source is Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada, "Names Found in Ambleny Registers 1578-1616" (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/Ambleny/).
- * For bynames, Aryanhwy merch Catmael has made an impressive variety available in her draft Bynames in Medieval France (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/frenchbynames.pdf).
- I also still go back frequently to Marie Therese Morlet's book Étude D'anthroponymie Picarde. Les Noms de Personne en Haute Picardie Aux XIIIe, XIVe, XVe Siècles. You can search it in snippet view at http://books.google.com/books?id=aQ_VAAAAMAAJ.
Other France: Occitan: Occitan was and is spoken in southern France, and has somewhat different naming patterns than the north.
- * There are a group of small articles. I tend to start with Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "Occitan names from Saint Flour, France, 1380-1385" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/french/saintflour.html)
- * Or my "Occitan Townspeople in the 14th Century" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/juliana/occitan/).
- * For late period women's names, you can't beat Talan Gwynek, "Late Period Feminine Names from the South of France" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/talan/latefrenchfem/).
Gaelic: Our records for Ireland are far better than for Scotland in Gaelic, in large part because Scots, that northern language related to English, would become the courtly and legal language in Scotland.
- * The place to start for Irish Gaelic is Mari Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (or Mari Elspeth nic Bryan), "Index of Names in Irish Annals" (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/).
- * To make sure you've got the grammar right, use Effric Neyn Kenȝocht Mcherrald, "Quick and Easy Gaelic Names" (http://medievalscotland.org/scotnames/quickgaelicbynames/)
- If you think that a name might be a saint's name (you can use Ó Corrain and Maguire, Irish Names/Gaelic Names, which are two editions of the same book, for this purpose), check that the name appears in a late period or grey period martyrology, like the * Martyrology of Gorman or the * Martyrology of Donegal. These can be found in Google Books.
- For bynames, I check Patrick Woulfe, Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall: Irish Names and Surnames. Remember that the italicized forms are Anglicized Irish forms that are late period or grey period; while the Gaelic forms of those dated names are early 20th century, they are generally identical to the c. 1600 forms, and are registerable.
- * For Scots Gaelic, we have essentially two sources, both by Effric Neyn Kenȝocht Mcherrald, "A Simple Guide to Constructing 12th Century Scottish Gaelic Names" (http://www.MedievalScotland.org/scotnames/simplescotgaelicnames12.shtml), and her " Scottish Gaelic Given Names" (http://medievalscotland.org/scotnames/gaelicgiven/).
German: For German, I use a mix of online and written sources.
- For given names, I start with Talan Gwynek, "Medieval German Given Names from Silesia" (http://www.sca.org/heraldry/laurel/names/bahlow_v.htm).
- * A second good source (for given names and bynames) is Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "German Names from Rottweil, Baden-Württemberg, 1441" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/german/rottweil1441.html).
- But for bynames, I normally go to the books: Josef Brechenmacher, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Deutschen Familiennamen, and Bahlow/Gentry Dictionary of German Names. The first in particular just has so many dated citations than it's hard to imagine a group of online sources taking its place.
- * For Low German, spoken in the north, we're short on sources; the best we've got is Aryanhwy merch Catmael, "Low German Names from Hamburg, 1475-1529" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/german/hamburg.html).
Greek: For Byzantine, the best sources are two articles by Bardas Xiphias:
- his "Common Names of the Aristocracy in the Roman Empire During the 6th and 7th Centuries" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/byzantine/early_byz_names.html) and
- his "Personal Names of the Aristocracy in the Roman Empire During the Later Byzantine Era" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/byzantine/introduction.html).
Italian: In broad terms, the place to start is the 1427 Florence Catasto, which represents the Tuscan dialect that will come to dominate in modern Italy.
- * The biggest part of the data is in my "Names in 15th Century Florence and her Dominions: the Condado" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/juliana/condado/).
- * A second part of it is Ferrante laVolpe, "Men's names from Florence, 1427" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/ferrante/catasto/) and Arval Benicoeur, "Feminine Given Names from the Online Catasto of Florence of 1427" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/arval/catasto/).
- Sometime this year, I'll be publishing a big article on late period names from Pisa, titled "Names from 15th and 16th Century Pisa" (no URL yet).
- Venice had a slightly different naming pool; for it I use:
- * Arval Benicoeur and Talan Gwynek, "Fourteenth Century Venetian Personal Names" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/arval/venice14/).
- * Aryanhwy merch Catmael, " Fifteenth Century Venetian Masculine Names" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/italian/venice.html).
- * And my "Names from Sixteenth Century Venice" (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/juliana/16thcvenice.html); this one has lots of women's names.
- We're really short on southern Italian sources; my general advice is ask for help.
Russian: For Russian, the best source out there is Paul Wickenden of Thanet's Dictionary of Period Russian Names (2nd edition online at http://heraldry.sca.org/names/paul/; 3rd edition can be acquired through the Stock Clerk). I rarely go any further.
Scandinavian: Old Norse: All of our online Old Norse name articles are derived from similar sources.
- * Online, I tend to start with Gunnvor silfraharr (the Viking Answer Lady), "Old Norse Names" (http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/ONNames.shtml).
- Overall, the source to use is Geirr Bassi Haroldsson, The Old Norse Name, which is available through the Stock Clerk.
- * Aryanhwy merch Catmael indexed the given names and bynames that Geirr Bassi took from the Landnámabók, an account of the colonization of Iceland: "Viking Names found in the Landnámabók" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/norse/landnamabok.html) and "Viking Bynames found in the Landnámabók" (http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/norse/vikbynames.html).
- For Swedish, I start with the SMP (Sveriges Medeltida Personnamn), which is mostly available online at http://www.sofi.se/5187. Downside is that it only goes through H. Even the print version only goes a little further.
- For Norwegian, I start with the print sources by E. H. Lind: Norsk-Isländska Dopnamn ock Fingerade Namn fran Medeltiden and its supplement for given names, Norsk-Isländska Personbinamn Från Medeltiden Samlade Ock Utgivna Med Förklaringar
- For Finnish, our one good source is online: Rouva Gertrud, "Vanhat nimityyppimme (Finnish Names)" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/FinnishNamesArticle.htm).
- Barring those, you can use the various searchable collections of medieval documents found online. Make sure the spelling is a documentary one, and not just a modern form.
- * Norway: http://www.dokpro.uio.no/dipl_norv/diplom_field_eng.html
- * Denmark: http://diplomatarium.dk/dd/index.html
- * Sweden: http://www.nad.riksarkivet.se/sdhk
Spanish: For Spanish, there are great online sources, but I find myself unable to live without one book.
- I start with my "Spanish Names from the Late 15th Century" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/isabella/index.html).
- Then I move on to Elsbeth Anne Roth, "16th Century Spanish Names" (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/spanish/index.html).
- For earlier names, I use Gonzalo Diez Melcón, Apellidos Castellano-Leoneses: Siglos IX-XIII, ambos inclusive.
- For Catalan and Portuguese, there are a relatively small number of articles; take a look at those sections in the Academy of Saint Gabriel's Medieval Names Archive.
HTML editing by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada.
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