Friday, February 28, 2014

Period or Not?

I am doing a series of short blurbs for the East Kingdom Gazette concerning names that are widely thought to be period, but aren't (although that number is shrinking) and names no one thinks are period, but are.

The latest is on the name Mongo, which is, in fact, a period name for both Scots and Mongols.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Middle English Word of the Day: Signacle

Signacle is a great word to use when composing period award texts.  After all, what are the award badges but signs of genuineness?   So an upcoming text will "further commaunde, compell & instructe the seide [edited] to ware hens-forward upon her persone the signacles & tokens of the seyd Ordre."

From the Middle English Dictionary:

signacle (n.) Also signacule, sinacle. [OF signacle, sinacle & L signa macronculum.]

(a) A seal, sign of genuineness, hallmark; the sign of the cross; (b) a likeness, an image.

(a)  (c1384) WBible(1) (Dc 369(2))   1 Cor.9.2:  Thou3 to othere I am not apostle, but nethelees to 3ou I am; forwhy 3e ben the sygnacle [vr. token; L signaculum], or litil signe, of myn apostilhed in the Lord.  a1425(a1400) Paul.Epist.(Corp-C 32)   Rom.4.11:  A tokne he took of circumcysioun þat it be sygnacle of ri3twisnesse, þat is, hafande a similitude of a tokned thyng þat he be fadyr of alle lefande.  a1450(c1410) Lovel. Grail (Corp-C 80)   38.62:  A prest..lifte vpe his hond, and the signe of the Croys Made..Nasciens knew that he hol was Be the signacle of þe Man In that plas.  c1475(a1449) Lydg. Aesop (Hrl 2251)   696:  The name of God, ordeyned to impresse, Is the signacle of the celestial seale..And who that euer mysvsith it in falsenesse..he to God doth opinly treason.  c1475(a1449) Lydg. 15 O's (LdMisc 683)   267:  O sothfast Iesü callyd cleer merour Of trowthe, of love..Signacle [vr. Sinacle] and sel, patent and protectour.  a1500(1439) Lydg. Sts.AA (Lnsd 699)   3128:  Thei wern markid with a cros In ther forehed..With that victorious tryumphal signacle.  a1500 Imit.Chr.(Dub 678)  140/2:  This grace is a li3t supernaturall & a special 3ifte of god, and a propre signacle of þe chosen children of god.

(b)  (1440) Capgr. St.Norb.(Hnt HM 55)   894:  O þou wrecch onworþi [the devil]..þat were so dere, For Goddis signacule [L signaculum similitudinis Dei] for soth þou were, And wit3 pride þou lost þat faire figure.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Work in Progress: Scottish Naming Patterns in 13th-15th cen. Latin documents

I'm throwing up some work in progress based on data from the Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707 database (  This project involves identifying naming patterns found in Scottish records.  As I crunch progressively more data, I hope to start developing a list of Scottish name patterns for Appendix A of SENA.

For the 13th century data, name patterns can be found in my article "Names from 13th Century Scottish Parliamentary Records" (

Patterns found in 14th and 15th century Latin documents include:

[given name] + de + [place name]

[given name] + [family name or inherited surname]

The pattern [given name] + filius + [father's name in the genitive form] seems to start falling out of use in documents in the mid 14th cen.

The pattern [given name] + [family name or inherited surname] + de + [place name] appears in Latin documents in Scotland from the 14th cen. onwards:

Willelmum la Zousch’ de Assheby (1328)
Petrus Waghorn de Dunbretane (1357)
Thomas Lang de Drumfres (1357)
Johannes Goldsmyth de Edynburgh (1357)
Johanne Forstar de Corstorfyne (1410)
Willelmo Lazousch de Askeby (1416)
Dauid Menyhes de Vogry (1426)
Johannes Spens de Perthe (1435)

I also find double locatives marked with ‘de’ in Latinized documents in the 14th and 15th centuries:

Dauidis de Balfour de Balifesuey (1315)
Alexandri de Ramsay de Dalhousie (1315)
Willelmo de Douglass de Bothwell (1404)
Johannis de Scrimegeour de Henristoun (1423)
Jacobi de Douglas de Balvani (1423)
Patricii de Dunbar de Bele (1423)
Roberti de Lawedre de Edrington' (1423)
Walterus de Halyburtoun de Dyrltoun (1435)
Thomas de Camera de Abirdene (1435)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Award text: Charitye's Award of Arms

Charitye Dale is a lovely lady with a great 16th cen. English name and rocking Wriothesley-era English arms, so I could not resist either the pun on her given name or fully 16th cen. spellings when writing her Award of Arms text.  The text is based on a declaration of Elizabeth I, which conveniently provided me not only with the key phrase about the nature of charity, but also supplied a spelling guide.

By Gregor the Kynge.  By Kiena the Quene.  Wherfor it is wrytten that Charitye is vinculum perfectionis, the bond or chayne of perfection, wherewith we be knytte and joyned together into one; and wherefor the exercise of Charitye by good men and women serves the advauncement of the Reaulme and increases concord amonges her peoples, things we most desyreth and meaneth effectually by all maner of means possible; and wherefor Charitye Dale is a ladye most fitly and ryghtly named, for she has by her dyvers laboures improved the lot of our subjects; whereunto we do by these presente lettres, in the fullnesse of Royal sanctyon and authoritie, award the aforesayd Charitye these Armes, to be borne by her solely and singlely and in perpetuitye: Argent, on a bend cotised gules a fleur-de-lys between two cinquefoils argent, on a chief azure a cinquefoil between two fleurs-de-lys argent.  Further, if any shall disobediently use themselfes to the breach hereof, we shall see the same duely punished, both for the qualitie of the offence and for the example to all others neglecting our so reasonable commaundement.  Yeven at Carillion upon 1 June in the forty-eight year of the Society.

Monday, February 17, 2014

More Names from the Family Search Historical Records: Mercedes

Precedent from 2004 held that the first documented instance of Mercedes as a given name was from 1690.  Now, thanks to the Family Search Historical Records, we have found instances of the given name within the gray period in Spain and in Spanish-speaking New World colonies.

Mercedes [no surname]; Female; Christening; 23 Apr 1626; San Lorenzo, Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain; Batch: C87108-4

Mercedes De Laora; Marriage; 03 Oct 1632; Santa Ana, Ocaña, Norte De Santander, Colombia; Batch: M65635-4

Mercedes Tobar; Marriage; 10 Aug 1637; Santiago, Santiago, Chile; Batch: M00926-2

Monday, February 10, 2014

More Names from the Family Search Historical Records: Dudley as a given name

Dudley Lacon
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 22 Sep 1589
Christening Place: Saint Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London, England
Batch: P00145-1

Dudley Fyla
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 08 Jul 1571
Christening Place: Saint Gregory by Saint Paul, London, England
Batch: C05426-1

Dudley Swallowe
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 15 Sep 1574
Christening Place:  Saint Gregory by Saint Paul, London, England
Batch: C05426-1

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Award Texts: Fergus MacRae's Pelican

My initial impulse was to do Fergus's text in Scots, as I had done for his investiture as Baron of Carolingia.  However, the scribe was planning on doing a late-period Italian style.  I'm having a very hard time finding good Italian sources in translation.  My Italian is good enough to order food, but not quite good enough to cope with period legal concepts.  So I resorted to one of my usual translated "Italian" sources: the transcriptions of the proclamations of the Council of Trent.

Here's the result:

Kenric, by right of arms King of the East, and Avelina his Queen, unto our good and highly esteemed Fergus MacRae, greetings.  Wherefore, upon this 8th day of February, in the forty-eighth year of the Society, sitting on our thrones in our lands of Carolingia, it seems to us good, opportune, and expedient to convey unto you our most sincere gratitude for those extraordinary and diverse labors that you have undertaken on behalf of the Kingdom of the East, not least of which being your travails in the arts of defense and of the theater, and your loyal and steadfast stewardship of our aforesaid Carolingian lands; and wherefore, it lies within our singular royal authority to bestow such honors, accolades, allowances and benefits as have been prescribed by law and custom since the time of Maragorn and Adrienne, progenitors of the royal line; We do therefore, after mature deliberation, and of our own certain knowledge, and from the plenitude of our royal authority, and with the advice and consent of the venerable Peers of our Realm, appoint, determine, and assign that you shall, ought to be, and will hereafter be named among the membership of the Order of the Pelican.  We further exhort, require, and admonish our heralds to convey unto you Arms by Letters Patent, in a form and manner to be determined, along with such rights, customs, allowances and appurtenances as are right and customary for men of such station.  And that these things may come to the knowledge of all men, and that no one may use the excuse of ignorance; We will and ordain, that this letter be publicly read in a loud voice by certain officers of our court; and that, after having been read, it shall be committed to the press in our good city, that so it may be more conveniently made known throughout the provinces and kingdoms.  Let no one, therefore, infringe this our will, mandate, and decree, or with rash daring go contrary thereunto; if any one shall presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur our royal indignation and wrath.  And so willing and wishing, we sign ourselves below:

Kenric Rex       Avelina Regina

Yes, Fergus is a Peer, and one of my friends, and he doesn't have arms.  I've stopped trying to get that particular horse to drink.

Award Texts: Mylisant Grey's Pelican

Yesterday, Mylisant Grey was elevated to the Order of the Pelican.  Her text is in 14th cen. English, drawn from Anglo-Scots sources:

Be it knowen to alle men þat we, Kenric, by ryþt of armes most illustres Kyng of þe East, & Avelina, by meanes of þe same riht our Queen, witht þe commoun consent and acent of alle þe erls, nobles, barouns and peres of the reaume, do by þes oure present lettres decree, awarde & ordein þat Mylisant Grey be & heerby is eleuated to þe estat of þe Ordre of þe Pellican; and we do forther-ouer gifte & graunt unto þe aboue-seid Mylisant alle libertees, profites, aisements & alle & synguler þaire laweful portinauntes suche as costome & lawe demaundeth for oune of suche estat, þe same to be enioyed quietli, fulli, integrallye & honourabely for þe terme of hure lif; & we do forther-ouer endowe & stablyssh þe fore-named Mylisant wytht Armes by Lettres Patentes, in þe manere and forme sett forth her-after:  Per pale azure and Or, a thistle counterchanged.  Ferthermore, we ordeyne you, & eche of youe, fermely & undere þrete of penaltie, þat you wolle not compasse anye eville, anoyaunces, or injustice or impose any empediement or aggravacioun upon þe aboue-seid Mylisant, or permytte þes thyngs to be imposed upon þe aboue-seid Mylisant by others, by what euere menes you can resiste thatte, contrarie to þe tenour of our graunt and intencioun aboue written.  For garrauntee and greatere securetie of alle þe tofore, we haft causeth þes oure lettres to be shewed to alle of þe court, to be aseelid wytht our syngnes manuell and seels, to be made patente, and to be yeven into þe kepyng of þe aboue-seid Mylisant.  Doon at Carolingia in oure fulle conseil helde in þe same place on 8 ffebruary in þe forti-eightend yere of þe Societie.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

More Names from the Family Search Historical Records: Carmen

I've found evidence of Carmen as a given name both in English and Spanish:

Carmen Rigbey
Christening Date: 18 Jul 1546
Christening Place:  St. Benet Fink, London, London, England
Batch: C02229-2


Carmen Cavelerio
Marriage Date: 21 Jun 1592
Marriage Place: Santa Catarina Martir, Santa Catarina-Mexico Ciudad, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Batch: M61906-7

Carmen Caball 
Marriage Date: 20 Nov 1617
Marriage Place: Santa Maria, La Bisbal, Gerona, Spain
Batch: M89250-3


And yes, I can document Carmen San Diego as a 16th cen. Spanish name.

Antonio San Diego
Christening Date: 26 Feb 1555
Christening Place: La Asunción, Lomoviejo, Valladolid, Spain
Batch: C87235-1

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thoughts on the problem of Outremer

I started out collecting name data from a small sampling of royal charters issued by Milisendis, 12th cen. Queen of Jerusalem.  In that data, I found some interesting things, such as traditionally English/French give names combined with locatives for places within the Kingdom of Jerusalem.  For example:
Hugo de Ybelino (1155) -- Ibelin was a castle in the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Humfredus de Torone (1159) - Torone (modern Toroni) is a city in Greece
Johannes Tyrensis (1146) - referring to Tyre, one of the most significant city in the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Roches de Nazareth (1152)
Odo de Turcarme (1152) - Turcarme was a village in the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Rohardus de Ioppe (1160) - Jaffa is a port city in what was now Israel

As I read it, SENA does not currently permit English/French names to be combined with locatives based on Middle Eastern places.  Does it make sense for the narrow period of time when the Crusader States existed to allow English/French given names to be combined with the Latinized forms of Middle Eastern place names?  Clearly, at least some of the European citizens of Outremer used locative bynames based on the places where they were living.  But did they do it enough to make a pattern?

My data set is still quite small, but more research will be done, particularly if I am able to get my hands on this:  Naming Patterns in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem by Iris Shagrir (2003).  The book is at my undergraduate alma mater, so I may abuse my alumna borrowing privileges some time really soon.

On the other hand, there's a whole pile of Scots naming data waiting to be extracted and analyzed and far more people want Scottish names than want Outremer names.

More Names From the Family Search Historical Records: Things that sound like "Alaric"

One of the persistently popular names submitted in the SCA is "Alaric."  Despite its SCA popularity, it is only rarely found in period documents.  Alaric was a Visigothic king famous for sacking Rome in 410 A.D.   Our best documentation for "Alaric" as a name used by ordinary people is found in Volume I of Morlet, Marie-Therese, Les Noms de Personne sur le Territoire de l'Ancienne Gaule du VI au XII Si., s.n. Alaricus, which dates "Alaricus" to a.875-12th C. The 12th century instance is from a Latin document.

There are also a few instances of "Alaricus" in later Middle English and French chronicles.  All of these examples are discussing the king who sacked Rome.  

Many submitters want to use "Alaric" with late-period German or English names.  The existing documentation for Alaric does not always support such use.  However, from the Family Search Historical Records (formerly the IGI Parish Records), we have a number of given names that sound very similar to "Alaric" that can be matched with late-period German or English bynames:

Allerick Allerts
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 04 Sep 1605
Christening Place: Nieuwekerk, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Batch: C00826-5
This particular example sounds the most like "Alaric" and, because it is from the Netherlands, can be combined with late-period English bynames.

Alrich Geyer
Gender: Male
Marriage Date: 05 Sep 1586
Event Place: Stuttgart, Württemberg, Germany
Batch: M91614-9

Alricus Berst
Gender: Male
Christening Date: 01 Sep 1586
Christening Place: Stuttgart, Württemberg, Germany
Batch: C91613-1

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Award Texts: Katerine's Pelican

When the time came for my dear friend Katerine atte Wyshe de la Rye (aka Kateryne Blak aka Catherine de Sant Marti) to get a Pelican, I knew her scroll should be in Middle English.  So I went to the Anthology of Chancery English on line (;cc=cme;view=toc;idno=ChancEng), a collection of documents from the Signets of Henry V and his son transcribed in the original Middle English.  I managed to play mix and match with phrases and spellings from various documents to create a wholly Middle English text.  Where I couldn't find a particular word, I went to the on-line Middle English Dictionary for help.

For the blazon, I researched heavily in the Middle English Dictionary's examples of heraldic blazonry.  I am tickled by the spelling "asure" for the more usual heraldic term "azure."

Here is the end result:

By Kenric þe kynge and Avelina þe quene to our servant Katerine atte Wyshe de la Rye, right trusti and most beloued we grete yow wel wiþ al our herte.  And for asmoche as we and our counsail hier been acertained as wel be þe effecte and euidence of your werkes as be þe credible reportes and writinges maad vn to vs and to our said counsail fro tyme to tyme of þe singulier diligence & þe fulnotable and laborious seruice þat ye doon vn to þe Reaume of þe Est, & willing & praing yow alwey so to continue, for-that we do by thys lettir endowe, ablen & veste yow in perpetuite wiþ þe estate, title, and right of þe ordre of þe Pellican & ferremore do endowe, ablen & vest yow wiþ armes by lettirs patentes: Asure, a fesse argent doubly cotised golde.  So that our indowment to yow may be knowen sekirly we wol ye ordeine that hit be saised in to oure handes.  Yeuen at Carrillion þe .ix day of Juin, in þe fourti-sefnthe yere of þe Sociate.