[Ansteorra] choosing a name (was: what devices have been done)

Coblaith Muimnech Coblaith at sbcglobal.net
Thu Sep 9 14:26:26 PDT 2010

Givan Rede wrote:
> I want to find out what devices had been done and what website do I  
> look for? I want to make sure that I come up with some thing that  
> will pass.

Danet Lincoln replied:
> You have to register a name with or before your device, and I don't  
> see "Givan Rede" up though the next-to-most-recent letter.  So  
> might be best to handle that first.

I'd like to expand on this a bit.

First, if "Givan Rede" is your legal name, you won't be able to  
register that exactly, even if it would otherwise be eligible for  
registration.  "This restriction is intended to help preserve a  
distinction between a submitter's identity within the Society and the  
submitter's identity outside of the Society." (See Part III.A.10. of  
the Administrative Handbook of the S.C.A. College of Arms <http:// 
heraldry.sca.org/laurel/admin.html> for details.) You could register  
something quite similar, however.  "Gavin" <http://www.ellipsis.cx/ 
~liana/names/scots/dost/gavin.html> and "Rede" <http:// 
www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/scots/dost/red.html> are dated to within  
35 years of each other in Scots-language contexts, for example, so if  
"Givan" isn't pronounced like "Gavin", "Gavin Rede" would work (for  
late-15th- to early-16th-century Lowland Scotland).

That said, it's a very good idea to read "Choosing a Society Name:  
Hints for Newcomers" <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/dietmar/ 
hints.html> and to look at some lists of names that were used in the  
Middle Ages and Renaissance to get a feel for your options before  
submitting anything.  You don't want to put together all the  
documentation for a name, pay your submission fee, and then realize  
before it's even made it through the review process that it's not  
actually what you want.

The website for the College of Arms has a number of articles that  
include lists of names and information on naming practices in various  
contexts <http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/names.html>. They have an  
additional advantage, in that if you cite them as documentation of a  
submitted name's plausibility you don't have to print them out and  
include photocopies in your submission packet.  The Medieval Names  
Archive <http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/> has even more articles,  
including some very useful introductions to name grammar in certain  
languages (like Gaelic and Old Norse) that can make it easy for a  
novice to put together a well-constructed name.  I recommend starting  
with one or both of those.

Your branch herald should be able to help you with this process (for  
both names and armory).  If you don't have a branch herald, that  
responsibility falls to your regional herald.  You can reach either  
through <http://herald.ansteorra.org/contacts.php>.  If you're new to  
the Society and not sure which branch and/or region you live in,  
check the map at <http://www.ansteorra.org/>.

Coblaith Muimnech
<mailto:Coblaith at sbcglobal.net>

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