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Re: [SCA Newcomers] historic names (was: Just Introducing Myself)

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  • Robert Bohler
    Hello Ah, I see. So I can acceptably adopt the name Ulrich ( no worries there) as its a common name for the period. I ve found many other variants of my own
    Message 1 of 10 , May 10, 2009
      Hello

      Ah, I see. So I can acceptably adopt the name Ulrich ( no worries there) as its a common name for the period.
      I've found many other variants of my own last name BOHLER while doing a search for my family history and coat of arms. These include : Bohlen, Boehlen, Boelen, Buehlens, Boehlers etc.... I assume any of those would be acceptable, unless of course there's a rule against emmulating one's own family history.

      As for contacting my Kingdom Chatelaine, and local senechal I've tried several times to make contact, with no reply. Perhaps my messages are being filtered out as spam and not getting through, but I will keep trying.

      Thanks for your help and advice.
      Robert

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Coblaith Muimnech
      To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2009 4:12 AM
      Subject: [SCA Newcomers] historic names (was: Just Introducing Myself)





      Robert wrote:
      > As for my persona name, I shall probably adopt the pseudonym
      > "Ulrich von Bohlen", as I discovered exactly that person while
      > researching my own ancestry. He was a knight of the second
      > crusade, hailing from Austria.

      Theodora responded:
      > It is not allowed to take the name of a real person in history-
      > some variation on the name is allowed. A herald will be able to
      > help you.

      You cannot purport to *be* a specific individual other than yourself,
      but it is acceptable for your persona name to be the same as the name
      of one or more individuals who lived before 1600. In much of Europe
      for much of the S.C.A.'s core period pools of given names and types
      of bynames were very limited, so many, many complete names were used
      over and over again. It would make little sense for the College of
      Arms to say, "There was a real man in the Middle Ages named 'John
      Clerk', so even though 'John' was a common given name and 'Clerk' a
      common byname in that and other periods, no member of the S.C.A. can
      ever be 'John Clerk'." After all, there were at least three men
      named "John Clerk" just in Colchester between 1350 and 1373 <http://
      users.trytel.com/~tristan/towns/m_intro.html>. One more would hardly
      have been noticed.

      The only time the fact that a name can be documented in its entirety
      is a problem is when it is uniquely associated in the modern mind
      with a particular person. Italy has produced many men named
      "Leonardo", for instance, and many men have been born in Vinci, but a
      certain one will leap to mind any time anyone says, "I'm Leonardo da
      Vinci". That name is, therefore, protected. Whether the Austrian
      knight to whom you refer is significant enough, historically,to have
      the same measure taken with his name is something the sovereigns at
      arms would ultimately decide if you submitted it.

      Of course, any name you wish to register must be submitted with
      evidence that it complies with all the Rules for Submissions <http://
      heraldry.sca.org/heraldry/laurel/rfs.html>. That includes evidence
      that each name phrase ("Ulrich" and "von Bohlen", in this case) is in
      a form consistent with those used somewhere, at some time, in our
      period. A history book telling us that there once lived a man who is
      modernly known as "Ulrich von Bohlen" will not suffice. Such books
      are written for modern readers, and names in them are modernized and
      (if written in English) often Anglicized for the comfort of those
      readers. They don't tell us what the names looked and sounded like
      hundreds of years ago.

      It shouldn't be difficult to document a form of "Ulrich" appropriate
      to the period that interests you. It was a fairly common name in the
      Middle Ages and Renaissance. (In just a few minutes I found evidence
      of the spelling you used in Bavaria before 1240 <http://www.s-
      gabriel.org/names/talan/Early_German_Bynames.html> and in Silesia in
      the 13th and 14th centuries <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/talan/
      bahlow/bahlowMasc.html>.) A good consulting herald with access to
      the right books could probably help you document it--or at least
      something very similar--to whatever century you like.

      You might have more trouble with "von Bohlen". The issue isn't
      proving the place existed in period, but that the place-name did (or
      can be justified as a plausible variant of one that did). I can't
      tell you what the name was for Bohlen in the period from which you'd
      like your name to be, but you will need to find out. Again, a good
      consulting herald should be able to help.

      Robert also wrote:
      > Something I do need help with is contacting my local SCA group. I
      > live in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

      Contact your Kingdom Chatelaine <http://ealdormere.ca/Officers.htm>.
      Helping prospective members find their local groups is part of his
      duties. He should be able to put you in direct contact with someone
      from the nearest active branch.

      In the mean time, if you want help with your name I recommend you e-
      mail the Afon Fawr Herald <http://ecoh.wolfium.com/college.htm>.
      He's listed on the Ealdormere College of Heralds' website as being
      responsible for name research. He should either assist you himself
      or put you in touch with someone in your area who has the right
      resources to do so.

      Coblaith Muimnech
      Barony of Bryn Gwlad
      Kingdom of Ansteorra
      <mailto:Coblaith@...>
      <http://coblaith.net>





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Sara L Uckelman
      ... None at all! In fact, a lot of people I know select elements from their own family history and ancestors when developing their names and personas. (For
      Message 2 of 10 , May 10, 2009
        Quoth "Robert Bohler":
        > unless of course there's a rule against emmulating one's own family history.

        None at all! In fact, a lot of people I know select elements
        from their own family history and ancestors when developing
        their names and personas. (For example, my mom took the given
        name of one grandmother and the surname of another, and ended
        up with a lovely 14th C German name as a result.)

        -Aryanhwy


        --
        vita sine literis mors est
        http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/
      • Labhaoise O'Beachain
        The problem arising when.... Your name is Luther, and you are, yes, direct decent from Martin, yeah that Martin. Even if YOUR name is Martin Luther the XIII,
        Message 3 of 10 , May 10, 2009
          The problem arising when....

          Your name is Luther, and you are, yes, direct decent from Martin, yeah that Martin.

          Even if YOUR name is Martin Luther the XIII, you CANNOT use Martin Luther..... too well known.....

          Now if you wish to use only Martin, or only Luther, conjoiined with some other period name( family members included) AND they are NOT well known, then you can certainly use THAT name....
          Labhaoise

          Sara L Uckelman <liana@...> wrote:
          >
          > Quoth "Robert Bohler":
          > > unless of course there's a rule against emmulating one's own family history.
          >
          > None at all! In fact, a lot of people I know select elements
          > from their own family history and ancestors when developing
          > their names and personas. (For example, my mom took the given
          > name of one grandmother and the surname of another, and ended
          > up with a lovely 14th C German name as a result.)
          >
          > -Aryanhwy
          >
          >
          > --
          > vita sine literis mors est
          > http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/
          >
        • Coblaith Muimnech
          ... As long as you can document its use before 1600, in a place and at a time compatible with the given name you ve chosen, there s no reason you couldn t
          Message 4 of 10 , May 10, 2009
            Robert wrote:
            > I've found many other variants of my own last name BOHLER while
            > doing a search for my family history and coat of arms. These
            > include : Bohlen, Boehlen, Boelen, Buehlens, Boehlers etc.... I
            > assume any of those would be acceptable, unless of course there's a
            > rule against emmulating one's own family history.

            As long as you can document its use before 1600, in a place and at a
            time compatible with the given name you've chosen, there's no reason
            you couldn't register one of them.

            I don't know whether they are etymologically related to any of the
            names you mentioned, but I can point you to evidence of:

            "Boller" in Rottweil in 1441 <http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/
            german/rottweilsur.html>,

            "Boler" in 1495, somewhere in Germany <http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/
            names/german/surnames1495a-g.html>, and

            "Boland" in Nürnberg in 1497 <http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/
            german/surnamesnurna-m.html>.


            Coblaith Muimnech
            Barony of Bryn Gwlad
            Kingdom of Ansteorra
            <mailto:Coblaith@...>
            <http://coblaith.net>
          • Robert Bohler
            Just doing some reading up on names. Apparently surnames didn t really come into common usage until after the 14th century, so I don t really need to select a
            Message 5 of 10 , May 11, 2009
              Just doing some reading up on names. Apparently surnames didn't really come into common usage until after the 14th century, so I don't really need to select a surname at all do I? I could therefore choose a common first name, such as Ulrich, or Uther, and then adopt then addendum "of Greyfells" for example. I could be way off the mark were, but bear with me, I'm new at this.....


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Coblaith Muimnech
              To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 12:24 AM
              Subject: Re: [SCA Newcomers] historic names





              Robert wrote:
              > I've found many other variants of my own last name BOHLER while
              > doing a search for my family history and coat of arms. These
              > include : Bohlen, Boehlen, Boelen, Buehlens, Boehlers etc.... I
              > assume any of those would be acceptable, unless of course there's a
              > rule against emmulating one's own family history.

              As long as you can document its use before 1600, in a place and at a
              time compatible with the given name you've chosen, there's no reason
              you couldn't register one of them.

              I don't know whether they are etymologically related to any of the
              names you mentioned, but I can point you to evidence of:

              "Boller" in Rottweil in 1441 <http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/
              german/rottweilsur.html>,

              "Boler" in 1495, somewhere in Germany <http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/
              names/german/surnames1495a-g.html>, and

              "Boland" in Nürnberg in 1497 <http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/
              german/surnamesnurna-m.html>.

              Coblaith Muimnech
              Barony of Bryn Gwlad
              Kingdom of Ansteorra
              <mailto:Coblaith@...>
              <http://coblaith.net>





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Sara L Uckelman
              ... Here s a case where it s good to be precise about terminology. In most contexts, the term surname refers to surnames as they are used nowadays -- fixed,
              Message 6 of 10 , May 11, 2009
                Quoth "Robert Bohler":
                > Just doing some reading up on names. Apparently surnames didn't really com=
                > e into common usage until after the 14th century, so I don't really need to=
                > select a surname at all do I?

                Here's a case where it's good to be precise about terminology.
                In most contexts, the term 'surname' refers to surnames as they
                are used nowadays -- fixed, inherited labels which do not generally
                change from context to context. The wider, more general term is
                'byname'. A byname is a type of descriptive which modifies a given
                name, used to differentiate people with the same given name. In the
                post-Roman world, bynames were rare in the early Middle Ages, but
                by the 11th century they are commonplace in pretty much all European
                cultures. These bynames were originally literal descriptives, e.g.,
                "the Smith", "of London", "fat", "John's". Because they were generallly
                literal descriptives of the person in question, they were not
                generally inherited. However, they did develop into inherited surnames
                over the course of our period; when this happened varied across
                Europe (and it hadn't happened by the end of the SCA's period in some
                cultures, such as Gaelic Ireland and Scotland, and Dutch-speakers in
                the Low Countries). Inherited surnames were certainly in use in
                the 15th C in Germany; I've seen many examples of sons having the
                same byname as their father, and also wives and daughters using a
                modified form of their husband's or father's byname (usually a feminine
                form, but sometimes a possessive form). I would not be surprised at
                all to see this custom in the 14th C in Germany, especially in urban
                areas. Earlier than that, bynames were probably still generally
                literal descriptives.

                So while you're right that a German person living before the 14th C
                probably wouldn't have had a surname in the sense of a fixed label
                that he inherited from his father and would bequeath to his sons,
                but he would more likely than not have had a byname, a literal
                descriptive which could vary from context to context (e.g., Ulrich
                could be <Ulrich Hans> in the context of his father's will,
                indicating that his father's name was Hans, or <Ulrich Schmitt>
                in the context of the taxation of the members of the guilds of the
                city, or <Ulrich Esel> 'Ulrich the donkey' among his friends.)

                -Aryanhwy


                --
                vita sine literis mors est
                http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/
              • Coblaith Muimnech
                ... It is possible to *register* a name consisting of a period given name and a locative byname constructed from the name of an S.C.A. branch. But such a name
                Message 7 of 10 , May 11, 2009
                  Robert Bohler wrote:
                  > . . .I don't really need to select a surname at all do I? I could
                  > therefore choose a common first name, such as Ulrich, or Uther, and
                  > then adopt then addendum "of Greyfells" for example.


                  It is possible to *register* a name consisting of a period given name
                  and a locative byname constructed from the name of an S.C.A. branch.
                  But such a name will very rarely be historically plausible.

                  If you're at all interested in creating a fully fleshed-out persona
                  (and some people aren't, and that's O.K.), you'll want to give him a
                  name that somebody living in your period of interest might really
                  have used. And even if you aren't really interested in persona play,
                  if you want the things you make or do in the S.C.A. to have firm
                  historic foundations, you will probably find yourself, after a while,
                  wanting a realistic medieval or Renaissance name to go with them.
                  Constructing such a name really isn't difficult. You could just
                  decide where and when you'd like to "be from", find a list of names
                  from that place and time, and pick a given name and a byname or
                  surname from the list. If you want a German name, the Medieval Names
                  Archive's guide to German names <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/
                  german.shtml> is a good place to start. Several variants of "Ulrich"
                  are found in the article "German Names from Nürnberg, 1497" <http://
                  www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/german/nurnberg1497.html>, for
                  instance. So if you want "Ulrich" or something like it and want a
                  realistic late-15th-century High German name, all you have to do is
                  choose one from the extensive list of surnames in that article. It's
                  a 30-second process.


                  By the way, "Uther" wasn't a common name in period, and isn't
                  German. It's a literary name found in Sir Thomas Malory's "Le Morte
                  d'Arthur". It can be registered (with an appropriate byname) because
                  there is evidence of English and French parents giving their children
                  names out of Arthurian legend in certain places at certain times in
                  period <http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/precedents/
                  CompiledNamePrecedents/MythicalAndLiteraryNames.html#Uther>. But if
                  you're looking to create a German name, it's not the best choice.



                  Coblaith Muimnech
                  Barony of Bryn Gwlad
                  Kingdom of Ansteorra
                  <mailto:Coblaith@...>
                  <http://coblaith.net>
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