[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]

Re: Submissions (was coats of arms)

Poster: mn13189@WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU

On Fri, 18 Apr 1997, James and/or Nancy Gilly wrote:

> >Perhaps the good heralds are better at the details now, but when my name was
> >passed, I was told that "MacAlasdair" was how it would be recorded, even
> >though that really wasn't my name.  Rather than argue the point, I yielded
> >to the bureaucrats for their recordkeeping purposes.  Of course, as my
> >personna as lately wandered toward later period and spiffier garb, maybe it
> >was just a foreshadowing.
> >Findlaech mac Alasdair
> They did that to me, too.  I submitted the patronymic, with documentation,
> as Alasdair mac Iain of Elderslie, and was very surprised when it came back
> from Laurel regisetered as Alasdair MacIain of Elderslie, a *very* different
> name.
> Alasdair mac Iain of Elderslie

I have just accepted it as a fact of life that my Gaelic name will be
misspelled more often than not.  But I have decided to take a period
attitude about it.  I don't have exact dates handy, but for most of our
period, the Gaels in Scotland had no surnames as such.  They were quite
content with a single first name (Eogan, or Alasdair, say).  Sometimes, if
they had a special trait, or if there were more than one person in that
village bearing the same name, an identifier would be used (Eogan Og,
meaning Eogan the young).  The Scottish king Malcolm Canmore was actually
Malcolm Big-head!  Now if you traveled out of your village, you would
likely further identify yourself by one of several methods.  You would say
Eogan mac ______ (fill in name of good ol' dad), you would say Eogan _____
(fill in name of the chief of your clan), or you could simply say Eogan of
_______ (fill in name of your village or area).  Of course, if you were
travelling outside of Scotland, none of that would make one bit of a
diference to anyone, so you would probably call yourself Eogan Albanach in
Gaelic Ireland (of Scotland), or in an English speaking nation, Eogan of
Scotland.  And of course, you always had the option of identifying
yourself by your trade.  This is (obviously) where names like Miller and
Smith come from.  I think it is interesting that "Bard" was around as a
surnmae before it became a regularly used word in English (surname 14th
cent., term for singer, 15th cent.).  
	Now, when nosey English census takers came north of the border and
tried to record census information in the Highlands, they needed a surname
for their records (surnames became vogue in England after the Norman's
brought them over).  So, if I chose to call myself Eogan Mac Labruinn, the
census takers would probably write it down as MacLavren, MacLauren,
MacLaren, MacClaren, McLaren, M'Claren, MaClaren, etc., etc., etc.  And
that would be my "official" name.  So when my Royal Bard Promissory scroll
reads "Eogan MacClaren," I take no offense.  This is probably closer to
how it would have been written down by a non-Gael in period, anyway.  I am
just surprised Eogan is spelled right!  When my SCA membership card reads
"EOGAN McLAREN," it doesn't bother me.  I know who I am, and anyone
looking at either of these names would identify them with me.  In the case
of your name being officially registered by the heralds incorreclty, I
understand why you might want to have that changed.  It is the official
SCA record of who you are, and you probably don't want to have to remember
to misspell your own name whenever you register a badge or whatnot.  
But take it in stride, and be proud.  It's all part of having a
non-English name!  Just ask Dafffydddd!
Eogan Og Mac Labruinn (however it's spelled)

List Archives, FAQ, FTP:  http://sca.wayfarer.org/merryrose/
            Submissions:  atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
        Admin. requests:  majordomo@atlantia.sca.org