Lady Ragnailt in Eich wrote:
> My little sister. . .wants a name to register. . .
Has she read "Choosing a Society Name: Hints for Newcomers" <http://
www.s-gabriel.org/names/dietmar/hints.html>? It's a very good idea
to do that before you begin. It will help you avoid the most common
errors people make in the process.
> 1. It has to be Irish, any century before 12th.
If by "Irish" you mean "Irish Gaelic" (and there certainly are other
options--Ireland was a multi-cultural island throughout our period),
she should read "Quick and Easy Gaelic Names" <http://
www.medievalscotland.org/scotnames/quickgaelicbynames/>. It will
give her a clear picture of what Irish Gaelic names looked like in
period, so she can do a good job picking elements to include in one.
> 2. Likes the combination of Edekyn Fael
There's nothing Irish about "Edekyn". "Edith" is an English name,
derived from the Old English "Eadgyð" <http://www.s-gabriel.org/
2687>. "Edekyn" is a diminutive of "Edith", formed using a common
Middle English diminutive suffix <http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/m/mec/
med-idx?type=id&id=MED24247>. (The relationship is similar to that
between "Lizzy" and "Elizabeth".) It does appear in a 14th-century
manuscript made in Ireland, but even there the context is English
given.html>. If having a Gaelic name is important to your sister,
she should peruse lists of Gaelic given names, like those in the
Medieval Names Archive's guide to Irish and Manx names <http://s-
gabriel.org/names/irish.shtml>, for one she likes.
"Faél" is a period Gaelic word meaning 'wolf' <http://www.s-
gabriel.org/1512>, but that doesn't automatically make it plausible
as a byname. Very, very few men recorded in Irish annals used common
nouns referring to animals as bynames <http://
Topic.shtml>, and I'm aware of no evidence that women used them at all.
> 3. Wants the wolf significance
One of those exceptionally rare animal bynames was "Cu", which means
'wolf' or 'hound'. The sole man mentioned in the annals to whom it
was applied lived around the end of the 6th century <http://
Cu.shtml>. If she paired it with a Gaelic given name recorded in the
same period the sovereigns at arms might agree to register it. But
it's a very unlikely sort of name.
There are mentioned in the articles in the MNA guide and in the
report to which I gave the URL just after "'wolf'", above, several
masculine Gaelic given names that begin with something very like
"faél". She could use one of those in a patronymic, following the
method of construction described in "Quick and Easy Gaelic Names",
and retain the reference as a sort of pun. "Eithne ingen Fháelain",
for example, means 'Eithne, daughter of Fáelan'. But "Faélan" looks
and sounds very like a diminutive of "faél" (analogous to "wolfie")
and calls wolves to mind much the way "Sandy" makes people think of
beaches or deserts even though the name has nothing to do with either.
The feminine given name "Faílenn" is dated to the 7th century <http://
www.medievalscotland.org/kmo/ocm/OCM-FemGivAlpha.shtml>. It's a
little further from "faél", but it could still work as a sort of play
on words--similar to the way "Marcy" is a reminder of "mercy".
> Would it work to use Edekyn in Fael - "Edith of the Wolf"?
I assume you're modeling "in Faél" on "in Eich Gil" <http://
inEichGil.shtml>? It's possible that something like that might
work. It's another very rare type of byname, most of which seem to
use "an" rather than "in" (undoubtedly because of some grammatical
rule I don't know). But I could ask some of the folks more familiar
with Gaelic names for their opinions on the construction, if you
like. Just drop me a line off-list.
> Since our Dad is getting into it as well with us, he should be
> something like "Steven of the Wilds" Both of us daughters have an
> animal in the byname.
I'm not sure what you mean by "should", here. The single biggest
factor affecting how a medieval Gael lived was who he could claim as
kin. That determined who he answered to, who answered to him, what
opportunities were available to him, and what political influence he
could bring to bear--who, in very real terms, he was. The importance
of familial connections is reflected in the way people are recorded
in medieval Irish documents. The overwhelming majority are described
as someone's son or daughter, a member of a particular kinship group,
or both. The comparative few that have other types of bynames almost
always have them in addition to familial bynames, not instead of
them. It would be very unusual for your persona to be known
primarily as 'of the horse', and really, really bizarre for her to be
so known and her sister to be 'of the wolf' as well. For their
father, too, to use an anomalous byname would stretch the bounds of
probability to ridiculous extremes. If your goal is to put together
a plausible set of persona names that make sense as those of members
of a single Irish Gaelic family, "All three of us happen to have
different, extremely unlikely bynames," isn't the approach to take.
The two best choices would be (A) to choose a given name and a byname
of some common type for the father, then use his given name to
construct patronymics for his two daughters, or (B) to choose a given
name and a clan affiliation byname for the father, then use the
feminine form of the clan affiliation byname for his daughters.
There are a few less probable but still reasonable options, like
using documented types of complex bynames for one or more of them--
look to "Quick and Easy Gaelic Names" for full descriptions. And
don't neglect to read the explanatory paragraphs. They'll help you
get a much clearer picture of what did and didn't happen with names
in your period.
The Gaelic adaptation of "Steven" is "Stiamna". It was occasionally
used in Ireland as a vocational name before the Anglo-Norman influx
in the late 12th century, but didn't become an ordinary part of the
naming pool until after that <http://www.s-gabriel.org/1327>. If
your father's persona is set a few centuries later than your sister's
it would be appropriate--it shows up in the annals outside Anglo-
Norman and clerical contexts in the middle of the 14th century
Stiamhna.shtml>. But if he wants a pre-12th-century name he should
pick something else. "100 Most Popular Men's Names in Early Medieval
Ireland" <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/tangwystyl/irish100/> would
be a good place to start.
There is a 16th-century Gaelic byname that means 'of the wilderness'
anFhasaigh.shtml>, and a few earlier ones meaning things like 'of the
bracken' and 'of the wood' <http://www.medievalscotland.org/kmo/
AnnalsIndex/DescriptiveBynames/Topic.shtml#Toponymics>. But none of
them are from the 11th century or before. (Not even close.) If he
wants a plausible byname for the same period your sister's
considering, he'll need to consult the relevant articles in the MNA
guide mentioned above.
Barony of Bryn Gwlad
Kingdom of Ansteorra