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Re: [SCA Newcomers] What's In A Name

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  • Coblaith Muimnech
    ... If you want an English persona, at least from the latter half of the S.C.A s core period, Elizabeth is certainly a very reasonable choice. Feminine
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 18, 2010
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      Elizabeth wrote:
      > Am I correct in thinking that I would be fine if I kept my name as
      > Elizabeth when I entered the SCA? It seems to be a name that was
      > around through much of time - if in different variations depending
      > on the location.

      If you want an English persona, at least from the latter half of the
      S.C.A's core period, "Elizabeth" is certainly a very reasonable
      choice. "Feminine Given Names in 'A Dictionary of English Surnames'"
      <http://heraldry.sca.org/heraldry/laurel/reaneyAG.html> mentions
      instances of that form from 1205 on.

      If you don't want to be English, you may still be able to use that
      spelling--it's found in documents from 13th-century Holland <http://
      www.s-gabriel.org/3036>, 12th-century France <http://www.s-
      gabriel.org/2904>, and 16th-century Wales <http://www.s-gabriel.org/
      2398>, for instance--but it might not represent the same
      pronunciation "Elizabeth" has in English. And like many other
      Biblical names, "Elizabeth" has cognates in any number of European
      languages. "Elscza" was recorded in 14th-century Poland <http://
      www.s-gabriel.org/3145>, "Ilsebet" in 15th-century Germany <http://
      www.s-gabriel.org/2437>, and "Ealusaid" in 15th-century Ireland
      <http://www.s-gabriel.org/2659>, for instance. So even if you choose
      a persona for your usual spelling isn't appropriate, you may be able
      to use some form of the name if that's important to you.

      There is one thing you might want to consider. "Elizabeth" and its
      variants and cognates are very common in the S.C.A. "Elizabeth"
      alone appears as an element in 505 S.C.A. name and armory
      registrations, "Elisabeth" in 117, "Elizabet" in 18, and "Elisabetta"
      in 27, for example, and there are dozens of related or at least
      similar-sounding names that are also popular. It's entirely a matter
      of personal preference. If you don't mind sharing your given name
      with a lot of other SCAdians, that's fine. There's no limit on the
      number of Elizabeths there may be, and it's not uncommon for more
      than one person to use the same given name even within a single
      branch. But if you want people to instantly think of you when
      somebody says your S.C.A. name, "Elizabeth" is probably not the best

      > Also, who and/or where should I ask for help coming up with the
      > rest of my name?

      Start by reading "Choosing a Society Name: Hints for Newcomers"
      <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/dietmar/hints.html>. Whether you
      work on your own or with a herald, that'll help you avoid the
      mistakes newcomers most often make.

      Then look at reliable lists of names from the period(s) and culture
      (s) that interest you and pick a given name and a byname that you
      like that come from the same general place and time. Your branch
      herald or a consultation herald in your area may be able to provide
      you with books or other resources, and there are a few go-to websites
      that are a big help, the College of Arms' site <http://
      heraldry.sca.org/heraldry/laurel/names.html> and the Medieval Names
      Archive <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/> chief among them. If
      you're interested in a particular name, it can also be helpful to
      check the archive of Academy of Saint Gabriel reports <http://www.s-
      gabriel.org/advancedsearch>. They don't cover all names, by any
      means, but the ones they do cover are usually covered well.

      Just remember: the closer you tailor your search, the more authentic
      your name is likely to be. Pick a given name and a byname that were
      both recorded in Kent in 1335, for instance, and odds are pretty good
      that you'll end up with a name that would seem normal to the people
      who lived there, then.

      I think you said you're in the West, right? Latimer Herald provides
      e-mail consultation for that kingdom. If you have trouble connecting
      with someone local who can assist you, reach out to him <http://
      heralds.westkingdom.org/Contact.htm>. (It's a good idea to mention
      your location when writing with a question, by the way. The answer
      will be affected by which kingdom you call home more often than you
      might think.)

      Good luck choosing a name, and welcome to the Society!

      Coblaith Muimnech
      Barony of Bryn Gwlad
      Kingdom of Ansteorra
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