names you can't register (was: stuck at square one)
- Jerry wrote:
> i have been a falconer most of my life and so i wanted something in myThere are no rules about what you can *call* yourself. (Though if you
> name that i loved so i went with Raptor de Hawk...i don't think there
> is a rule you have to pick an individual from the past.Think of
> something you care about..that may work...
choose something obscene or profoundly offensive you should expect
people to react accordingly.) But there are definite rules about what
you can register with the College of Arms.
Registration has several benefits:
--It reserves your name for you alone. No two S.C.A. names can be the
same. (And "the same" is more complicated than you might think.
"Elizabeth Shaw" and "Bess Shaw" are considered the same, because
"Bess" is short for "Elizabeth", for example.) Of course, that also
means that if somebody else registers the name you love before you get
around to it, you're no longer entitled to use it. They have become
the official "real" whomever.
--It makes it possible for you to register armory (i.e., a heraldic
device and/or up to three badges for yourself or a household or other
group). No two registered pieces of armory can be too similar, either
(and what constitutes "too similar" is w-a-y more complicated than you
probably think), so if you don't register your device you can never be
sure somebody else won't register it and become its rightful owner.
And, yes, you might be called into court and ordered to stop carrying a
shield, wearing a surcoat, or using other items that have somebody
else's device on them, even if you've been doing so since before it was
registered. Somebody else's property is somebody else's property.
--In some kingdoms, you have to have a registered name and registered
armory to get an official award scroll. If someone who doesn't have
those elements is awarded arms, or in some cases given other honors,
they have to make due with a promissory note.
--The registration process puts your proposed name up for review before
the best onomasticians and book heralds active in the S.C.A. They will
let you know if you've got something that sounds real, something nobody
in the Middle Ages or Renaissance would recognize as a name, or
something that could sound real with a few changes. They'll help you
avoid potentially embarrassing mistakes like calling yourself "son of"
when your persona is female or using the word for "muck" as your first
name *before* everybody you know has memorized it. They'll also make
it possible for you to have a really, really, realistic medieval or
Renaissance name without being an onomastician or herald yourself, so
no matter how interested in history you later get you'll always have an
S.C.A. name of which you can be proud and that you'll remain
I strongly recommend all newcomers read "Choosing a Society Name: Hints
for Newcomers" <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/dietmar/hints.html>
before they pick something to call themselves in the Society. I also
strongly recommend they follow its recommendations when they do pick.
There are NO advantages to choosing a "starter S.C.A. name" that can't
be registered and doesn't resemble a real medieval or Renaissance name.
All you'd be doing is restricting your options later.
If you just want to choose something quickly and get on with it, go to
the Medieval Names Archive, pick a culture, pick an article with a list
of names from that culture, and pick a first and second name off the
list. (If there's a "how to" article for the culture, you should
probably read that first. There's a reason those exist for the
cultures that have them.) It's so easy a three-year-old could do it.
(I know, because mine did. Yes, he could read. . .maybe an average
six-year-old.) You'll have a name that's at least close to correct for
that time and place, and if you choose to change it later, it's no
harder to give up a good name than one you picked out of a fantasy
novel or made up out of whole cloth. On the other hand, if once you've
settled into a name and used it for a year or two you discover that you
*don't* want to hassle with switching to a different name, you won't
have to choose between doing so and registering that spiffy device
you're itching to paint on your shield.
There are people who make "don't lock yourself into anything" a mantra
for newcomers. Well, let me add another. Don't close any doors in
your own face.
Barony of Bryn Gwlad
Kingdom of Ansteorra
- First off, welcome to the SCA and to the list. It seems that
choosing a persona and device are the two biggest questions and
worries that most have on this list. I have seen people come back
with the rules of what you can and can not be called in the SCA, so
I'm not going to beat the dead horse on this.
North American personas are very rare and very hard to either
document if you wish to register the name. I know of only one Native
American persona and two "explorers". Depending on if you want to
register a name and/or device, I suggest sticking to a European
region. Your persona or "life story" can place you anywhere in the
world. My persona is 16th c Swiss German as a member of the Vatican
Guard. Now when I started 20+ years ago, I was in a Shire that was
overrun with Scotts and Irish persona and I really didn't want to be
a Lemming. My selection of where and when I came from was unique. I
took three darts, a world map, and 10 feet away I let them fly. One
was in the Pacific Ocean, one in Antarctica, and one was what looked
like Germany but was in Switzerland. Late 1500's only came when I
started looking a Swiss history books. Otto came from a Baron in a
local barony, sounded like a good name at the time. von Schwyz is
the canton that Otto comes from.
Until you find your persona, I have seen dozens use John/Jane
of "your local canton/shire". There is nothing wrong with this and
it tells people where you're from, a good ice breaker. You asked if
I encountered any problems with late period personas, nope none at
all. You are looking into heavy fighting; by all means go for it.
There are some very good female fighters in the SCA and I would like
to see more.
As for garb, nothing wrong with not wanting to wear a dress. One
reason that I didn't pick a Scottish persona when I first started. I
know a "lady" that is a navel Captain, privateer in nature. Very
late period and historically documentable and accurate. Most of
these women sailors were either under disguise as young men to a few
that were very well known as a woman. But off the top of my head, I
think those Captains are out of period.
Remember, you are here to have fun. Personas develop and grow as you
play the game. Once you start looking into things that you like,
you'll find something that will stick and grow. Get to know your
herald; a good herald knows what you can and can't do for names.
Otto von Schwyz
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "mistrisofdark"
Hello group. Newcomer to scanewcomers. I'm part of the shire of
arenal which is in meridias. I joined a little over a year ago and
was re-assured that there was no rush to jump and pick a persona and
name. Well it's been a year now and I am still no closer to choosing
a name etc. I am sure this is something everyone struggled with and I
was hoping someone could give me a tip or two. I want nothing
grandiose. My fiancé and his family who persuaded me to join are
portraying Normans. Nothing wrong with that but I chafe at that
I suppose so much rests on the individual and what they wish to be
seen as. One Lady suggested I do early North American trapper. Not a
colonist she said French?? I think, but when I started researching
starting with 1498 and John Calbot I found it seems they started
pushing the Native American Indians away and fighting them. I was
hoping to find otherwise as I had in my head an Indian friendly
trapper. Long story, again based on my actual personality and
heritage. I know I'm fretting and getting to ocd over this but that's
me. Also has anyone had bad results from choosing a persona so late
in the SCA timeframe?
Something tells me just choose English peasant and be done with it
but I can't. I prefer wearing tunics and breeches with mocs or boots
and am trying to get into heavy fighting time allowing. Being female
I don't really want to get into all the dresses and costume that I
see most women choose. Perhaps for court but not at smaller events.
Crown list is coming up next month for us and me so wish to at least
have a name chosen instead of that awkward pause when I introduce
myself at events. But name hinges on period and place eh? Aye what a
Help please and thank you.
> Registration has several benefits:heraldic
> --It makes it possible for you to register armory (i.e., a
> device and/or up to three badges for yourself or a household orother
> group).You can of course go ahead and register your amory (device or
badges) under a "holding name" as well, so you don't HAVE to
register a name to register a device. That said it can complicate
things for later should you choose to register a name after you
register a device.
> --In some kingdoms, you have to have a registered name and
> armory to get an official award scroll.Find out if you are in one of these kingdoms. If you aren't don't
worry about it unless you plan to move to another kingdom and expect
to immediately get an award there. Otherwise worry about it after
you get there.
> I strongly recommend all newcomers read "Choosing a Society Name:Hints
> for Newcomers" <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/dietmar/hints.html>also
> before they pick something to call themselves in the Society. I
> strongly recommend they follow its recommendations when they dopick.
Contrary to what some may believe, I'm all for registering your
name, just not in your first year of the SCA. Take the time to find
out what you want and the above is one great way to research that
and try stuff out.
> If you just want to choose something quickly and get on with it,go to
> the Medieval Names Archive, pick a culture, pick an article with alist
> of names from that culture, and pick a first and second name offthe
> list. (If there's a "how to" article for the culture, you shouldit.
> probably read that first. There's a reason those exist for the
> cultures that have them.) It's so easy a three-year-old could do
> (I know, because mine did. Yes, he could read. . .maybe anaverage
> six-year-old.) You'll have a name that's at least close tocorrect for
> that time and place, and if you choose to change it later, it's noyou've
> harder to give up a good name than one you picked out of a fantasy
> novel or made up out of whole cloth. On the other hand, if once
> settled into a name and used it for a year or two you discoverthat you
> *don't* want to hassle with switching to a different name, youwon't
> have to choose between doing so and registering that spiffy deviceJust don't register you name in the first year of your SCA life
> you're itching to paint on your shield.
because "the Society never forgets" and people will continue to call
you by that name for a very long time. Try things out first to see
if you like it, THEN register it if you do.
The Don't Speech:
> There are people who make "don't lock yourself into anything" a
> for newcomers. Well, let me add another. Don't close any doorsin
> your own face.And the whole registering/not registering your name can do both at
the same time. If you register you name you close all sorts of
doors, which can be a very good thing, or a bad thing, so wait a
while, try it on and RESEARCH names for something you might like.
As a newcomer picking a name in the SCA can be pretty daunting.
Frankly, I tell all my newcomers, research, try things out and wait
a year to give yourself time to figure out if you like it. THEN
register it to your hearts content.
Just remember, like anything else in the SCA you are going to
receive all sorts of conflicting advice. I often tell people if you
ask five people in a group advice on one thing you will get seven
different opinions. Do what works for you, but don't let anyone
tell you that you HAVE to do anything. You are free to choose any
time period pre-17th century from any culture in the world (see
Corpora before arguing please). Have fun, enjoy and move forward at
YOUR pace, not anyone elses.
- Quoth "David Roland":
> > --It makes it possible for you to register armory (i.e., aThis is not quite correct. The term "holding name" is a special
> > device and/or up to three badges for yourself or a household or
> > group).
> You can of course go ahead and register your amory (device or
> badges) under a "holding name" as well, so you don't HAVE to
> register a name to register a device.
label used only by the Laurel Sovereign of Arms. A person can
be given a holding name if the name they have submitted is not
registerable but the armory they have submitted is. Since all
registered armory must be associated with a name, the holding
name prevents registerable armory from being returned just because
the name was also returned. Only Laurel can create holding names,
but changing a holding name is easy because it never costs any
fees. (You just have to send the relevant paperwork to your
kingdom submissions herald.)
So, you do have to have a registered name in order to register a
device. If Laurel creates a holding name, that *is* your registered
name, until such time as you choose to change it.
> That said it can complicateAs noted above, it is not possible to register a device without
> things for later should you choose to register a name after you
> register a device.
having submitted a name. Changing your name once it has been
registered is straightforward; it handled exactly the same was as
registering the name in the first place, you just check the "change"
box on the submissions forms.
vita sine literis mors est
- Ian wrote:
> You can of course go ahead and register your amory (device or badges)Aryanhwy answered:
> under a "holding name" as well, so you don't HAVE to register a name
> to register a device.
> If Laurel creates a holding name, that *is* your registered name,Someone should probably mention, too, that in some kingdoms your
> until such time as you choose to change it.
official, registered name will go on any awards you receive regardless
of whether you've ever used it for anything else. (It may even be a
Society policy that some branches in some kingdoms are just more
conscientious about following; I'm not sure.) Since it's just a
place-holder, Laurel doesn't sweat too much about what to use for a
holding name. You could end up with the S.C.A. equivalent of "Jane
Doe" on your scroll(s).
Barony of Bryn Gwlad
Kingdom of Ansteorra
- Ian wrote:
> Just don't register you name in the first year of your SCA lifeYou know, I hear that noised about a lot. But my observation has been
> because "the Society never forgets" and people will continue to call
> you by that name for a very long time.
that (1) most people are willing to make an effort to switch over to a
new name if they know you want them to and that (2) the better-known
someone is by Name A, the longer it takes for them to switch to Name B.
Someone brand-new to the S.C.A. who hasn't even had time to research a
name yet can probably change her name in about a week. It took our
Minister of A&S, who'd been using the same name for over 15 years and
is one of the best-known artisans in our area, about six months to get
everybody to start calling her by the new one. It took our Hospitaler,
who'd been around for a couple of years and a very visible part of our
barony, maybe two. I don't know how long it took the inimitable
but I've never heard anyone call her anything else, or seen her older
name anywhere other than in her article on the subject.
In any event, it's what people CALL you that lingers, not what you
register. Changing what you've registered always and only takes
exactly as long as the paperwork does. So even if the "it's so hard to
change it" argument were valid, it would be an argument against
choosing a name at all, not registering one. And since it takes just
as long to get it into everybody's head that the name they've been
using is your real-life name and now you want them to call you
something else as it does to get it into their heads that the name
they've been using was your "'til I decide" name and now you want them
to call you something else, you don't gain anything by not choosing a
good medieval name to use. (They're not going to call you "Hey, you!"
> There are people who make "don't lock yourself into anything" a mantraIan answered:
> for newcomers. Well, let me add another. Don't close any doors in
> your own face.
> And the whole registering/not registering your name can do both at theI don't recommend you register a name you're not sure you want to keep,
> same time. If you register you name you close all sorts of doors,
> which can be a very good thing, or a bad thing, so wait a while, try
> it on and RESEARCH names for something you might like.
either, but only because it takes about a year for the paperwork to
process and if you decide you want a different one half way through
you've wasted everybody's time and effort. Registering a name doesn't
make anything happen that you can't make un-happen just by releasing
it. It doesn't lock you into anything.
Barony of Bryn Gwlad
Kingdom of Ansteorra
- This "don't lock yourself in" mentality drives me NUTS! I have been
researching my name since BEFORE I was in the SCA. I had not done serious
research then, but asked questions to people who might know, and now have
dug much deeper. I still need to register my name, but, I have all the
research done now, and got only a small amount of help with it (I needed the
Drachenwald herald for a bit!) I actually probably could have used what I
had but I wanted to see primary documentation...I'm picky sometimes!
Now, I have been in the SCA for ... 5 months. I think it's time.
Begging to differ,
(not telling my name; you can't have it)
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 4:40 PM, Coblaith Mhuimhneach
> Ian wrote:I've changed my name 2 times (well, actually just a bit more.)
>> Just don't register you name in the first year of your SCA life
>> because "the Society never forgets" and people will continue to call
>> you by that name for a very long time.
> You know, I hear that noised about a lot. But my observation has been
> that (1) most people are willing to make an effort to switch over to a
> new name if they know you want them to and that (2) the better-known
> someone is by Name A, the longer it takes for them to switch to Name B.
Roughly, I went from Triste (completely undocumentable) to Cateline to
Scolastica. The first big change was from something unregisterable to
something registerable. The second change was from something I knew I
was mispronouncing and had grown to dislike to something documentable
to my time and place AND that I had loved when I ran across it 25
years before. (Then it didn't fit my persona.)
I find the important thing with a name change is to announce it
publicly, explain why and ask people to help by using your new name.
Those that respect your wishes will. Those that refuse to even try –
are they really worth retaining as friends? That's my attitude. I
figure that calling someone by the name they want to be called is a
real basic level of respect that is reasonable to give to any human
If you can't get rid of them ugly old skeletons in the closet, at least teach
'em how to dance funny. Billy C. Wirtz