[ANSTHRLD] Brenna O'Dempsey the Gypsy

C. L. Ward gunnora at vikinganswerlady.com
Mon Jul 7 10:26:03 PDT 2003

>The closest that I could come
>would be Brenna O'Dempsey the
>Gypsy--a name completely lacking
>in authenticity that nevertheless
>is probably registerable.  I
>believe that Brenna is either
>non-period or found as the name
>of only a single individual in period;
>nonetheless, it is considered TSCA.
>A female named O'Dempsey is one
>who was named by the English--an
>Irish lady would have been
>"inghean ui Dhiomsaigh." However, a
>Gypsy would not have had a Gaelic
>name, so O'Dempsey is more
likely for a Gypsy.  I have not found
>the spelling "Dempsy" before the 1659
>Census of Ireland--over the line from
>the grey area. I have found no examples
>of "The Gypsy" preceding an English
>or an englished name.

I'd also like to suggest the following very nice timeline of the Rom
diaspora through Europe.  No specific date is given for their arrival in
Ireland, but England and Scotland first get mentions of Rom after 1500:


Do be aware that modern Rom often consider "gypsy" to be perjorative, and
some real world people with a real world Roma heritage could take offense.

<Brenna> is one of the names mentioned in the Academy of St. Gabriel's
"Problem Names Project" at
http://www.medievalscotland.org/problem/names/brianna.shtml which states:

"Brenna may have been in use in medieval and renaissance Italian, but no
evidence exists of its use in any Celtic language, which is the context in
which many people erroneous place it... Brenna is a hypothetical feminine of
Brennus, which is recorded in 3rd and 4th century Roman histories as the
name of leaders of a Celtic and a Galatian tribe [4]. We have no idea what
the original name might have been before the Roman historian latinized it;
it might have been very different. In the context of late Romano-Celtic
culture, which was heavily influenced by Latin, the feminine Brenna is
plausible even though it is not recorded. The name is in use in modern
Italian as Brenno and Brenna; we do not know if it survived through the
Middle Ages or if it was revived sometime afterward [5]. There is no basis
for considering either form of the name to be consistent with medieval
Welsh, Gaelic, or Breton naming."

Looking at Laurel's Letters of Acceptances and Returns for April 2000,
<Brenna Michaela Sine Macghie of Clan MacKay> at
http://www.sca.org/heraldry/loar/2000/04/00-04lar.html :
"Brenna is not Gaelic, but is justfiable as possibly Italian. This makes the
name acceptable by itself, but not with the rest of the name. The mixture of
English and Gaelic spellings in the name is a weirdness."

Checking the O&A, there appear to be 21 registered instances of <Brenna>:

Brenna inghean Fhionnlaoich, Sep 2000 (Meridies)
Brenna dei Leoni la poetessa, Jan 2000 (Atlantia)
Brenna Beldame, Jan 1999 (Ansteorra)
Brenna McKenzie, Apr 1998 (Atlantia)
Brenna Goldherte, Feb 1997 (Calontir)
Brenna of Skye, Jul 1996 (East)
Brenna nic Adam, Aug 1994 (East)
Brenna Kára, May 1994 (Atlantia)
Brenna Graeme, Apr 1994 (Ansteorra)
Brenna Winterbourne, Dec 1993 (West)
Brenna of Phoenix Hall, Jan 1993 (West)
Brenna Logan, May 1992 (Atenveldt)
Brenna Montgomery Cameron, Aug 1991 (Trimaris)
Brenna Montgomery, Sep 1990 (Ansteorra)
Brenna Lowri o Ruthin, April 1989 (Meridies)
Brenna MacGrioghair, Feb 1989 (Trimaris)
Brenna of Storvik, May 1988 (Atlantia)
Brenna Lowri o Lanbedr, Nov 1987 (Meridies)
Brenna the Disinherited, Jan 1987 (An Tir)
Brenna Cathleen the Hwistlere, Jan 1985 (Atenveldt)
Brenna Edlyn Blackrose, May 1983 (Meridies)

Brenna, as a suggestion, you might want to research a little about the
persona you're putting together, and pin down a good, documentable,
all-one-culture name.  It's a pain in the behind many years afterwards to
decide to change your name to something more historical because by then
everyone knows you by the old name and it's not easy getting them to switch
over (I speak from personal knowledge).  It can be done, but I wish now that
I'd done more reading and research when I picked my name when I first joined
the SCA.

This is not to say that the name as you have it is good, bad, etc., just
that it's going to require some contortions to work it into being
registerable as it is.


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