Sunday, April 12, 2015

Augmentation of Arms for Mercedes

Yesterday, +Jody Livingston was awarded an Augmentation of Arms for her twenty-five years and more of serving the Kingdom of the East, including as Kingdom Rapier Marshal, Vicar of Carillion and currently as Seneschale of the East.

I wish I'd had the time to work with some of the folks I know who are willing to try their hand at translating English into period Spanish.

Be it manifest and known to all who shall see this public instrument that, in the city of Bhakail on the eleventh day of the month of April, in the forty-ninth year of the Society, in the presence of witnesses, there being present many very exalted and powerful lords and ladies of the Realm, We, Edward and Thyra, by right of arms King and Queen of the East, did make and cause to be made certain gifts and endowments unto our very dear and well-beloved Mercedes Vera de Califia, the tenor of which, word for word, is as follows:

Item.  Finding the deeds and labors of the said Mercedes to be in all ways singular, preeminent, wonderful and remarkable, not the least of which being her diligence and travails as our Seneschale; and further wishing and desiring that the said Mercedes should know the esteem in which we hold her wise counsel and patient adjuvance in all matters touching upon the good weal of the Realm; and further wishing and desiring that the said Mercedes should enjoy all the honours, graces, concessions, prerogatives, immunities, and other things, which are due to her, we do therefore endow the said Mercedes with an Augmentation of Arms;

Item.  We do further command our heralds, having seen and understood the said endowment above-written, and every part and parcel of it, and being certain and assured of everything set forth therein, and desiring to observe and fulfill it, to advise and aid the said Mercedes in the fulfillment of our will;

Item.  We do further, for ourselves and our successors, and their kingdoms and lordships, forever and ever, affirm, avow and agree to keep, observe, fulfill, effectively, in good faith and without deception, renouncing all fraud, mental reservation, deception, fiction, and dissimulation whatsoever, all that is set forth above; and we will and desire and are content that the within decree shall be observed and fulfilled, just as it stands.

In witness whereof we, Edward and Thyra, set our ensigns manual below.

Based on the Treaty between Spain and Portugal, concluded at Vitoria; February 19, 1524

Court Barony for Simon Gwyn

Of all of the people I got to know better working on the triumphant reign of Edward III and Thyra II, Simon is one of my favorites.  I have rarely had a better time on a long drive to an event than when he rode shotgun with me down to K&Q Rapier.   So it was my great pleasure to do a favor for the scribe and bang out a High Middle Ages-style text for his Court Barony.

  +Thyra Eiriksdottir   can you make sure he gets a link to his Barony text here?

Edward, by right of arms King of the East, and Thyra, by agency of the same right the Queen.  To our Dukes, Earls, Barons, Justiciaries, Sheriffs, Provosts, Ministers, and all our Bailiffs and Lieges, greetings.  You should know that we have given and granted in perpetuity, and confirmed by this our present charter, to our good and faithful servant Simon Gwyn the rank, station and honors of a Baron of our Court, and further command, decree and ordain, for ourselves and our successors, that the said Simon shall bear the said rank, station and honors continuously hereafter, without contradiction, delay, or any interference.  So that this gift may be firm and persevere unchanging in perpetuity, we have commended it to writing and have had it reinforced by the protection of our ensigns manual, and if indeed anyone, kings, counts, bishops, judges or other persons should dispute this charter of our gift or its confirmation, unless he make satisfactory amends, he will incur our wrath and be subject to rigorous punishment.  This charter of confirmation was made in the forty-ninth year of the Society upon 11 April, in Black Icorndall.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Alys's Simple Guide to Summarizing Name Documentation

A good, readable and comprehensible summary of documentation is essential for name submissions.  Commenting heralds need to be able to find the necessary information about name elements easily.  Even more importantly, the Pelican Sovereign of Arms needs to be able to find the information necessary to making a name decision.

In fact, Section V.B.1.d of the Administrative Handbook of the SCA College of Arms requires all Letters of Intent prepared by Kingdoms to include "[a] summary of all supporting evidence provided for the submission. . . . Such evidence includes documentation, permissions to conflict, proofs for entitlement, statements of support for transferred items, and evidence for support in the case of branch submissions."

Part of the essential skills for a Submissions Herald, therefore, is the ability to take less the often disorganized documentation received from submitters and create a coherent summary.   Likewise, it makes the lives of Submissions Heralds much easier if consulting heralds provide good summaries and assist their submitters in doing the same.

This Simple Guide walks Submissions Heralds and consulting heralds through the process of preparing a good documentation summary.  While addition materials may be needed for particular complex or unusual names, reading this Simple Guide should contain everything a herald needs to know for most submissions.

What Should Be In Every Summary?

A good documentation summary does not simply list the source in which a name element is found.  It explains what the source says about the name, as well as how to find the specific spelling of the name in the source.

At a minimum, a documentation summary should contain:
  • The name of the article or book where the name element is found;
  • The author of the article or book;
  • The url for any on-line source;
  • If the source has headings, the heading under which the name element appears;
  • The date given for the name element in the source; and
  • Proof of the name formation pattern, particularly if it is in a language other than English.  Common name formation patterns can be found in Appendix A of SENA.  Any patterns not found in Appendix A must be documented.

If documenting a name from the Family Search Historical Records (, at a minimum, you must include:
  • The name; 
  • The gender; 
  • The date when the name was found; 
  • The country where the name was found;  
  • The Batch number; and
  • The url for the specific record(s) cited.

Anything Else That Is Good To Have In A Summary?

If the name elements are not from the same language, you should also indicate whether the language are from compatible Regional Naming Groups under Appendix C of SENA.

If there are relevant precedents that affect the name, those precedents should be cited in the documentation if possible.   For example, if the submitter is capitalizing an Old Norse descriptive byname, the Cover Letter permitting capitalization should be cited.

If the name is a resubmission from Society-level, what was the prior name and the reason for the return?  How does the resub address the reason for return, or is it an entirely new name?

What Format Should I Use?

The Administrative Handbook does not mandate any particular format for name documentation.  Whatever format you use should  should be clear and easy to read.  Large gaps in text and disconnected paragraphs should be avoided, as should dense blocks of data.

I used the following general format during my tenure as East Kingdom Submissions Herald

Name is a [language] [type of name], found in [source], dated to [date(s)].

For example, for the name Mergery Potticary:

Mergery is an English female given name found in “English Given Names from 16th and Early 17th C Marriage Records” by Aryanhwy merch Catmael ( s.n. Margery dated to 1583.

Potticary is an English surname appearing in Bardsley, p. 617 s.n. Potticary, with this spelling dated to 1591.

On Citing Sources

The College does not have official standard citation formats.  However, there are some generally accepted formats that are helpful to follow when summarizing documentation.

When citing a standard, well-known naming book:
  • Generally, such sources are cited by the author's name or names, or abbreviations.  For example, the abbreviation OCM is used for Ó Corrain, Donnchadh & Maguire, Fidelma. Irish Names.
  • The abbreviation R&W refers to Reaney, P.H. and R. M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames.
  • If you are unsure what an abbreviation means, check Appendix H of the Administrative Handbook, which identifies the most common SCA names books.
  • Always be sure to include the header form under which the name element is found (see explanation below).
When citing an on-line article:
  • The most commonly used format puts the article name in quotation marks, followed by the url in parenthesis.
  • The author's name can come either before or after the article name.  For SCA authors, the College generally uses the author's SCA name rather than his or her legal name.
  • For example:   "German Names from Nürnberg, 1497" by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (
    Aryanhwy merch Catmael's "German Names from Nürnberg, 1497" (
The importance of headers:
  • When using a specialty name book or article, there is frequently a header form (often modern) of the name, with various dated instances of the name listed under that header.  Using Talan Gwynek's "Feminine Given Names in A Dictionary of English Surnames" ( as an example, we find the following entry:

Albreda < OFr Albree, Aubree, Auberee, CG Alb(e)rada. [Aubray]
Albray1379 Aubray
Albreda1185 Tippell; 1198 Aubray; 1187-1215, 1218 (W); 1221 Aubray; 1327 Fairbody; 1381 Goodrich
Albree1221 Aubray
Aubray1379 Aubray
Aubreda1219 Aubray
  • Albreda is the header form.  When citing any of the dated period forms under that header, the College uses the convention s.n. (for sub nom) Albreda.    
  • Citing the header form helps Pelican and commenters find the necessary information about the name.  In name encyclopedias such as R&W or OCM, the header is more useful than the page number. 
When citing from Google Books:
  • Citations to Google Books should include the author's name, the name of the work, the relevant page number, and the Google Books url for the work.
  • If the book is a modern work, the publication date is not required.  If the book is a period work, the publication date is essential to dating the name and should be included.
  • Any standard bibliography format for such works is acceptable, as long as the page number and url are included.
  • As an example of a modern names book:  Felix is a cognomen discussed at pp. 25-26 of  A Study of the Cognomina of Soldiers in the Roman Legions, by Lindley Richard Dean (
  • As an example of a citation to a period book:  von Schaidegg -- "von dem Hof Schaidegg" appears at p. 890 of Gründliche Außführung der Reichsstadt Lindaw, die ohnversehens abgelöste und der Ertzhertzogin Claudiae Fürstl, by Daniel Heider, published in 1643 (

When citing a report from the Academy of St. Gabriel:
  • Academy of St. Gabriel reports are cited by report number and url.
  • Simply stating that a name appears in a St. Gabriel report is not enough -- there must be an explanation of what the report says about the name.  For example: Gabriel is discussed in Academy of St. Gabriel Report # 3349 (, which states: "The given name <Gabriel> is found in England as early as the twelfth century: <Gabriel> 1199, <Gabriel filius Reginaldi> 1212, and <Gabriele Spyg> 1296."
  • It is no longer required to cite the sources in the footnotes when referring to a St. Gabriel report.

When citing to the Family Search Historical Records:
  • The Batch number is essential when citing a Family Search Historical Record.  Currently, the acceptable Batches are the B Batch and those listed in the March 2013 Cover Letter.  I Batches are accepted on a case by case basis.
  • While not required, I tend to prefer the following format for Family Search citations, because it includes all of the necessary information for evaluating the name:

    [name]; [gender]; [event]; [date]; [place]; [Batch] (url)

    For example:  Serena Comaduran; Female; Marriage; 24 May 1587; San Pedro, Rubí, Barcelona, Spain; Batch: M88901-2 (

Examples of Good Documentation Summaries:

For the name Caroline von Zell

Caroline is a female German given name, found in the Family Search Historical Records:

Caroline Heuesinger; Female; Christening; 21 Feb 1598; Evangelisch Koendringen, Freiburg, Baden; Batch: C93713-1 (

Zell appears as the medieval spelling of a German place name in "German Names from Nürnberg, 1497" by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (

Under Appendix A of SENA, in German, locative bynames based on place names use the form von X.


For the name Brice del Birche

Brice is a male French given name found in "An Index to the Given Names in the 1292 Census of Paris" by Colm Dubh (

del Birche is an English locative byname found in Reaney & Wilson s.n. Birch, with this spelling dated to 1275.

Appendix A gives the pattern given name + locative byname for both French and English.

English and French can be combined under Appendix C of SENA.


For the name Eoin Ó Mathghamhna

"Quick and Easy Gaelic Names (3rd Ed.)" by Sharon Krossa ( sets out the pattern for clan affiliation-style bynames as:
<single given name> Ó <eponymous clan ancestor's name (in genitive case)>

Eoin is an Early Modern Irish male given name with 58 Annals dates between 1246 and 1600, appearing in "Index of Names in Irish Annals" by Kathleen O’Brien (

Mathghamhain is also an Early Modern Irish male given name found in “Index of Names in Irish Annals” (, with Annals dates of 1255, 1266, 1271, 1314, 1461, 1472, 1483, 1489, 1588.  Mathghamhain is the nominative form; Mathghamhna is the genitive form.


For the name Lucien Durand de Carnavelt

Lucien is a male French given name dated to 1574 s.n. Lucien in "Something Rich and Strange: “Undocumentable” Names From The IGI Parish Records" by Alys Mackyntoich (

Durand is a French surname found s.n. Loys in "Names from a 1587 Tax Roll" by Aryanhwy merch Catmael (

de Carnavelt  is a locative byname found in the same article s.n. Charles.

The pattern given name + byname + locative is found in French according to Appendix A of SENA.


For the name  Serena Glorieux of Bright Hills

Serena is a female Spanish given name found in the Family Search Historical Records:

Serena Comaduran; Female; Marriage; 24 May 1587; San Pedro, Rubí, Barcelona, Spain; Batch: M88901-2 (

Glorieux is a French surname found in the 16th century, according to Academy of St. Gabriel Report 3389.

The pattern given name + surname + locative byname is found in both French and Spanish per Appendix A of SENA.

of Bright Hills -- The Barony of Bright Hills is an SCA local group; this branch-name was registered in July of 1989 (via Atlantia).


For the name Alfhildr Thorfinsdottir

Alfhildr -- The female given name Álfhildr appears on p. 8 of Geirr Bassi's The Old Norse Name.

Thorfinnsdottir is a patronymic byname formed from the male given name Þorfinnr, which appears on p. 16 of Geirr Bassi.  The byname is formed from the genitive form of  Þorfinnr + -dóttir as set forth on p. 17 of Geirr Bassi.  The December 2010 Cover Letter permits the registration of simplified forms of Old Norse names using 'th' in place of 'Þ'.

Accents can be omitted from Old Norse names as long as they are treated consistently throughout the name.  [Bjorn Hildólfsson, 7/2014 LoAR, A-Lochac]

Given name + patronymic byname is one of the patterns found in Appendix A for Old Norse.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Period or not . . . Moira and Maura

Moira is one of those “Irish” names popularly believed to be medieval or Renaissance, but which is currently undocumentable in that form.  The spellings we can document in Anglicized Irish (not Gaelic) are Moire[1] or Mora[2].  Neither is pronounced like the modern “Moy-ra.”  Moire is most likely pronounced as either “Moor” or “Moora.”  In Gaelic, the closest name is Máire[3], prounced roughly “May-ra” or “Ma-ra.”

Many also think of Maura as an “Irish” name, but in fact it appears in period in Occitan French[4], Italian[5], and Spanish[6].

[1]  Moire is dated to 1601 in “Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents” by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (

[2]  Mora is dated to 1541 in “Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents” by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (

[3] Máire is dated between 1396 and 1601 in “Index of Names in Irish Annals” by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (

[4]  “Names from Fourteenth Century Foix” by Cateline de la Mor (

[5]  “Late Period Italian Women's Names” by Juliana de Luna (

[6]  Maura Yespes Setien; Female; Christening; 07 May 1598; Santa Maria Magdalena, Valladolid, Spain; Batch: C04657-9 (

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Still more text "Mad Libs" for harried scribes (and heralds)

I ended up needing to access my own blog yesterday to fill in words for awards where scrolls were missing from Court.  So it seemed a good time to throw some more "Mad Libs" wording out there for the harried scribes.   As usual, if you use more than 50% of it, give me wording credit.

These are a little longer than the others I've offered up, but they can be adapted for higher level awards more easily:

_____, King of the East, and __________, Queen, to all to whom the present letters shall come, greetings and every good thing.  The authority of elders and the order of reason persuades that if human care disposes anything to be firm and certain, so that it may be extended in time, it should be commended to the written office of memory.  Therefore let it be communicated to future posterity that our subject _____________ is of good and noble character, and has distinguished him/herself by __________________________________________________________________________.  That the aforesaid be not forgotten by the passage of time or the inconstancy of human memory, We do now give, grant and by this present charter confirm unto the said _____________ the title, status and style of _____________________.  Lest anyone at any time rail improperly against this our Royal Will, We have reinforced it with our signatures and seals and caused it to be read and witnessed by qualified persons.   Enacted at [place], upon [date] in the [number] year of the Society.


_______ Rex and _____ Regina, to all our faithful in the present and the future, greetings.  Whenever our faithful subjects propose things that are in harmony with the motive of justice and pertain to the good weal of the Kingdom, such things should be granted laudably with ready heart and benevolent mind. And, having heard the petitions of our subjects concerning _______________ and those of his/her deeds as have attained renown, not least of which being _____________________, therefore, commanding, we order that the said ________ be raised to the station, status and rank of  __________________. So that it be truly believed and held firmly in future times, we have signed the present charter with the subscription of our own hands upon this ____ day of _____, A.S. ____, in [place].


And lastly, one more short AoA-type text

_________ the King and _______ the Queen: Inasmuch as We are charged, empowered and authorized by the written law and ancient custom to bestow honors upon those of Our subjects whose deeds are to the betterment of our populace; and inasmuch as our subject _______________ has proven him/herself  to be fit and deserving of such honors as are within Our powers to bestow; We do now by these words and in the presence of such witnesses as are herein assembled, award to the said _____ Arms, in the form following:  [blazon].  In confirmation of the above, we cause this our letter to be given and signed with our names upon this ___ day of October, in the ___ year of the Society, sitting on our thrones in [place].

Pension for a retiring Baroness

So what does a Crown give to a landed Baroness who is stepping down, but who was already a Peer and a Baroness of the Court before assuming the Baronial seat?  In this case, the Crown is granting her (imaginary) lands and the accompanying rights and income-creating privileges so that she can retire in style with finances appropriate to her station.

Edward, King of the East, and Thyra, the Queen, to the good persons of all our land greeting.  Know that we do give, grant and by this our present charter confirm unto our faithful Imigla Venture, in recompense and satisfaction for her service as Baroness of Carolingia, the lands, lordships and castles, with liberties, pertinents and annexes underwritten: namely all of our lordship of the lands of Ventura, with an annual pension for the keeping of the said lands, lordships and castles to be paid annually to her; and with the profits, benefits and escheats of the courts within the said lands and lordships; with wards, reliefs and marriages as often as they occur; and with the right of patronage to the advowsons and presentations of all benefices, churches, hospitals and chaplainries within the said lands and lordships as often as they fall vacant; and with all and sundry other liberties, profits and easements and just pertinents whatsoever, whether not named or named, below the ground or above it, both far and near, belonging, or in future, in whatsoever manner, coming justly to belong, to all and sundry the aforesaid lordships, lands, castles, towers and palace; and the said Imigla shall hold all the above-written freely, tranquilly, fully, wholly, honourably, well and in peace, in and by all things. In witness whereof we have ordered our ensigns manual be affixed to the present charter upon 4 April in the forty-ninth year of the Society, in Carolingia. 

Writ of Execution for Fergus MacRae

Several weeks ago I was going about my business in the Royal Room sorting scrolls, when I was asked, "Hey Alys, do you know anything about period writs of execution?"  Why yes, yes I do  :-)

As part of an ongoing bit of court schtick, and as an excuse to roll out a new persona after 25 years, +Clark Wright arranged with the Crown to have his old persona executed when he stepped down as Baron of Carolingia.   And, because +Edward Grey and +Thyra Eiriksdottir are some of my best enablers EVER, they let me compose a 16th cen. Scots writ of execution based on the 1584 document issued against one of the men convicted of assassinating Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots.  +Soto Erik then did some fantastic last minute calligraphy.

Part of the fun of putting this text together was reading through the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue for various crimes of which Fergus was guilty.  I've footnoted the text with definitions and notes where appropriate.  All definitions are from the Dictionary.

In the judiciall court of our supreme lord and ladie Edward and Thyra, hald in the Baronye of Carolingia upon 4 Aprill in the fourtie-ninth year of the Societie.   Sectis vocatis, curia affirmata.[1]

Fergus MacRae, being indytit and accusit of gret myscheiff and sundrie wrangwous and unlegall deeds, to wit: impudencie[2], proprusion[3] and glipstair[4] of Royall landis and gudes, novell dissaisine[5] of gudes and scheipe[6], and fyre-raising[7].  The saide Fergus being foundin giltie of the abuve written crymes, it is here-by disponit and ordanit that the saide Fergus be punissit thairfoir with all rigour by tynsell[8] of landis and guidis and by extinctioun of fame, titillis, honour and memorie conforme to the lawis of this realme.  Therefore, we decretit and ordanit that the said Fergus suld be had to ane geibbett beside the mercatt croce of the said burgh of Carolingia, his heid thair to be strukkin from his body; further that all his landis, heretageis, offices and possessionis, takis, stedingis, cornis, cattell, actionis, debtis, obligationis, guidis movable and unmovable, and utheris quhatsumevir quhilkis pertenit to him suld and aucht apertene to our soverane lord and ladie and to be applyit to theyr use be reasoun of escheat of foirfalture, to be uptakin, usit and disponit by the Croune at theyr pleasour, as the proces devisit thairapoun bairs.  So commandit, decried and ordanit by Edward the Kyng and Thyra the Queene.

[1] In the original Writ, the entire introductory part is in Latin, with the body of the text in Scots.  Because I was doing this text very quickly, with a short deadline, I did not have time to put my entire adapted introduction into Latin.  But I left the formal convocation of the court that way, because it looked cool.  "Sectis vocatis, curia affirmata" means "suits were called and the court affirmed."

[2] Impudency, -encie, n.  Effrontery, insolence.

[3] (Proprision,) Proprusion, n.  Illegal encroachment or enclosure of real property.

[4] Glipster, -stair, n.  Illegal occupation or seizure of another's land or property.

[5]  Novell dissaisin(e), n.  Wrongful ejection or eviction from landed property or dispossession of goods.  (In other words, he's the mean landlord throwing other people out of their homes).

[6]  Because who will speak for the sheep?

[7]  (Fire-,) Fyre-, Fyir-rasing, n. Also: -rysing.  Malicious or hostile kindling of fire.

[8]  Tynsal(l, Tinsal(l, -el(l, n.   The losing (of possessions, etc.); loss, destruction, harm, detriment.