[ANSTHRLD] Can the first name be a shortning of a Locative name?

tmcd@panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Wed Nov 9 13:30:37 PST 2005

On Wed, 9 Nov 2005 francis.schalles at ttuhsc.edu <heralds at ansteorra.org>
> Greetings August Assembly!

Um, it's November.

> How much documentation is required to justify a first name?

As much as is needed to justify it. -- That's not a tautology; your
question pretty much answers itself.  Documentation is no mystery:
it's presenting valid evidence, chains of reasoning, and conclusions
in such a way as to convince the reader that your conclusions are
true.  It's the same sort of reasoning you would use on a jury or in
ordinary life.

Let me try an example: how can I document that there has been a horse
in my bedroom?  There's various evidence that could be adduced.  The
easy way is if I walk in and the horse is there.  I look at the horse.
The horse looks at me.  A policeman can see it and say "I'm arresting
you for keeping a horse in your bedroom."  Or, instead, it might be
gone, leaving only indirect evidence that has to be evaluated.  Is
that alfalfa on the pillow, and what animals traditionally are fed
alfalfa?  The hoofprint on a piece of paper: I should call a farrier
with experience with horses, donkeys, and mules to see if there are
details of shape or shoe to say definitively.  I could probably
determine that the droppings were from an herbivore, a local
equestrian could probably say "looks like horse droppings to me" (but
they don't have experience with cows or mules, for example), but maybe
a DNA expert would have to test it to tell the species -- and maybe
it's impossible to narrow it down that specifically.  Or maybe someone
only has photo of a horse entering my bedroom -- do I have reason to
trust the photographer?  Is the picture Photoshopped?  Are there
background details that show it's my bedroom in particular and when it

Valid evidence, chains of reasoning, and conclusions in such a way as
to convince the reader that your conclusions are true.  Depending on
the resources I have, my conclusions might vary from "Come look at the
horse in my bedroom" to "There appears to have been at least one large
hooved animal in my bedroom, probably of the equine persuasion".

> I have a back up, Francois which shows up in a 1292 census of Paris.

In this case, I don't have just indirect reasoning: I can state of my
own personal experience that François is a horse in the bedroom.

The Saint Gabriel site has an article on the 1292 Census of Paris that
says that François was a male name.  But that begs the question of
why we should trust a Web page -- I can find a Web page that says that
Bigfoot came down in a flying saucer to anally probe Elvis.  More
seriously, a lot of genealogy Web sites are not scholarly: they don't
check facts and they normalize names to modern spellings.  But Saint
Gabriel is a group with a reputation for excellent scholarship for SCA
onomastic purposes: the articles preserve period spellings (unless
stated otherwise) and give reliable dates.

> I wish to register the name, Troye de Lyon. The last part is
> locative to the city of Lyons, Burgundy during the period 1150+ AD.
> As hard as I have tried, I am unable to find any references to the
> name "Troye" during the period. The only thing that pops up is the
> city of Troyes, France.
> Would it be allowed under the rules to choose a shorted locative
> name for the first name?

Short answer: maybe, but I doubt it.

Long answer: if you want to know the philosophical underpinnings, I'm
going to have to quote the name rules extensively and discuss them.

Rules for Submission I.1.a: "All names and armory shall be compatible
with the period and domain of the Society."  RfS II goes into detail.

    1.  Documented Names - Documented names, including given names,
     bynames, place names, and valid variants and diminutives formed
     in a period manner, may be used in the same manner in which they
     were used in period sources. ...

    2.  Constructed Names - Documented names and words may be used to
     form place names, patronymics, epithets, and other names in a
     period manner.

     Constructed forms must follow the rules for formation of the
     appropriate category of name element in the language from which
     the documented components are drawn.  For instance, the standard
     male patronymic in Old Norse consists of the possessive form of
     the father's name joined to the word "son", like "Sveinsson" is
     the son of Svein.  The documented Old Norse given name
     "Bjartmarr" could be used in this construction to form
     "Bjartmarsson", even if this particular patronymic was not found
     in period sources. ...

    3.  Invented Names - New name elements, whether invented by the
     submitter or borrowed from a literary source, may be used if they
     follow the rules for name formation from a linguistic tradition
     compatible with the domain of the Society and the name elements

     Name elements may be created following patterns demonstrated to
     have been followed in period naming.  Old English given names,
     for instance, are frequently composed of two syllables from a
     specific pool of name elements.  The given name "AElfmund" could
     be created using syllables from the documented names "AElfgar"
     and "Eadmund" following the pattern established by similar names
     in Old English.  Other kinds of patterns can also be found in
     period naming, such as patterns of meaning, description, or
     sound.  Such patterns, if sufficiently defined, may also be used
     to invent new name elements.  There is a pattern of using kinds
     of animals in the English place names "Oxford", "Swinford" and
     "Hartford", and so a case could be made for inventing a similar
     name like "Sheepford".  No name will be disqualified based solely
     on its source.

     a.  Invented name elements may not consist of randomly arranged
         sounds or characters.

         Use of components of name elements without reference to a
         period naming pattern, such as combining the syllables of
         "AElfgar" and "Eadmund" to form "AElfmunead", will not be
         allowed.  Similarly, patterns from one language or tradition
         may not be applied to elements from a different language. The
         existence of the two syllable pattern in Old English cannot
         justify combining syllables from the Spanish names "Pedro"
         and "Jose" to invent "Pese".  "Elulol" and "Myzzlyk", which
         create nonsense syllables and link them without reference to
         any period pattern, are also not acceptable.

     b.  Invented given names may not be identical to any other word
         unless a strong pattern of use of a class of words as given
         names in the same language is documented.

         Although "China", "Random" and "Starhawk" have been used as
         given names in recent fantasy literature, they may not be
         registered without evidence that names of countries,
         adjectives, or epithets were regularly used as English given
         names in period.

     4. [below]

You may get excited about Constructed Names and Invented Names.  The
#1 error people make in constructing names is extrapolating beyond the
data.  Look at one example given above.  It lists Oxford, Swinford,
and Hartford.  What I notice is that all of those are four-legged
mammals that are large enough to ford a substantial creek or even
river, and I deduce that that's why the places were named Oxford,
Swinford, and Hartford: people saw oxen, swine, and deer
(respectively) cross the river there.  That's why Sheepford is
justifiable: it fits the pattern.  The data can't justify Treeford:
trees can't cross a stream.  Snailford?  It's an animal, but I can't
see it fording a river.  I think even Mouseford is not justifiable
based on the examples given.  And Oxfield and Ratjump are, I'd say,
even further from those examples.

Note that I didn't say that Treeford, Snailford, and Mouseford are
impossible.  For example, there may be other name patterns, like
"<physical characteristic of a ford> + 'ford'", or "<inn sign> +
'ford'".  It's just that, from the three examples given, I can't
justify any of Treeford, Snailford, or Mouseford.  But I also know of
Guildford as a period lastname, so more patterns may exist (what does
"Guild" mean here -- was it ever a term for a large mammal?).

So you'd either have to
- find Troye as a documented given name in period French (or some
  other language)
- invent it, but based only on known patterns of period French names:
  * find other names where period people took a place name as a given
  * either find Troye itself as a period French spelling variant, or
    find a pattern where people dropped a final "s" in French.

As for invention: I only know about English and Scots, and even there
only a little.  There are a few late period English and Scots names
where a last name was used as a given name: Douglass was originally a
Scots last name, and Guildford Dudley in England was given his
mother's maiden last name.  But I don't know if the SCA allows that in
registrations.  And in those languages, the new first name was the
same as the old last name -- so knowing only about Troyes as a surname
would not justify Troye as a given name in those cultures.

Now, I do see Elyas de Troie in 1220 in England "from Troyes (Aube)"
(Reaney and Wilson, _A Dictionary of English Surnames_, p. 455,
s.n. Troy).  Whether that helps or not, name experts would have to

I'm afraid I can't say whether period French people took a last name
as a first name -- but I suspect that if it did happen, it would have
been a lot later than "1150".

Later, in response to a question,

> My middle name is Troy.

I skipped over one source of names above:

    4.  Legal Names - Elements of the submitter's legal name may be
     used as the corresponding part of a Society name, if such
     elements are not excessively obtrusive and do not violate other
     sections of these rules.

     This allows individuals to register elements of their legal name
     that cannot be documented from period sources.  The allowance is
     only made for the actual legal name, not any variants.  Someone
     whose legal given name is "Ruby" may register "Ruby" as a Society
     given name, but not "Rubie", "Rubyat", or "Rube".  Corresponding
     elements are defined by their type, not solely their position in
     the name.  This means a person with the legal name "Andrew
     Jackson" could use "Jackson" as a surname in his Society name in
     any position where a surname is appropriate, such as "Raymond
     Jackson Turner" or "Raymond Jackson of London", not just as his
     last name element.

Note that it has to be "the actual legal name", so Troye for Troy is
right out.

But suppose you wanted Troy de Leon ... Middle names are tricky.  Some
modern middle names are from given names, like my own Timothy Alan
McDaniel.  But other modern middle names are from last names, like
Lois McMaster Bujold.  The SCA precedent says

      The name Cameron is the submitter's legal middle name. Precedent
      says that, when a middle name is submitted under the legal name
      allowance, it is treated by type:

           DeWayne is the submitter's middle name, not his given
           name. A middle name is treated by type: if it is
           structurally a given name it can be used as a given
           name, but if it is structurally a surname it can only
           be used as a surname. DeWayne is structurally a
           surname so cannot be used as a given name. [DeWayne of
           Locks, 10/99

      Cameron, although occasionally used in the 20th century as a
      given name, is a surname by type. Therefore, it cannot be used
      as a given name unless it is the submitter's given name.

Troy is sometimes used in the 20th century as a given name: Troy
Aikman the football player, for example.  But it looks structurally
like a surname, from the French placename Troyes.  So I think Troy is
not registerable as a first name based on use as a middle name.

(Personally, I would prefer that people adopt period-style names
anyway and not use the Legal Names allowance.)

I hope that that was not too much detail or too confusing.

Danielis Lindicolinum
"Me, I love the USA; I never miss an episode." -- Paul "Fruitbat" Sleigh
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com

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