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Re: [SCA Newcomers] Need some Name Help

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  • Coblaith Muimnech
    ... Has she read Choosing a Society Name: Hints for Newcomers ? It s a very good idea to do that before
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 4, 2009
      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
      <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/tangwystyl/lateirish/ormond-
      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://
      www.medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/DescriptiveBynames/
      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://
      www.medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/DescriptiveBynames/
      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://
      www.medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/DescriptiveBynames/
      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
      <http://www.medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/Masculine/
      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'
      <http://www.medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/DescriptiveBynames/
      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.


      Coblaith Muimnech
      Barony of Bryn Gwlad
      Kingdom of Ansteorra
      <mailto:Coblaith@...>
      <http://coblaith.net>
    • Judith Epstein
      ... Ironic, since Marcy comes from Marcia/Marcus, which is related to Mars. War, not mercy. :) Judith / no SCA name yet Master Albrecht Waldfurster s Egg
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 4, 2009
        On 4 Nov 2009, at 3:16 AM, Coblaith Muimnech wrote:

        > 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".

        Ironic, since Marcy comes from Marcia/Marcus, which is related to
        Mars. War, not mercy. :)

        Judith / no SCA name yet
        Master Albrecht Waldfurster's Egg
        Middle Kingdom, Midlands, Ayreton, Tree-Girt-Sea (Chicago, IL)
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