Society for Creative Anachronism
College of Arms

1702 Sea Ventures Ln
Hampton, VA 23665-2429

For the October 2010 meetings, printed December 1, 2010

To all the College of Arms and all others who may read this missive, from Olwyn Laurel, Istvan Wreath, and Juliana Pelican, greetings.

Items listed below in square brackets have not been scheduled yet. For information about future scheduling, please review the status table located on the Web at

The October Laurel decisions were made at the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, October 11, 2010 and the Pelican meeting held on Saturday, October 17, 2010. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Æthelmearc (09 Jul, 2010), Meridies (21 Jul, 2010), Gleann Abhann (22 Jul, 2010), East (26 Jul, 2010), Meridies (26 Jul, 2010), Ansteorra (27 Jul, 2010), An Tir (28 Jul, 2010), Atlantia (28 Jul, 2010), Trimaris (29 Jul, 2010), West (29 Jul, 2010), Atenveldt (30 Jul, 2010), Laurel LoPaD (30 Jul, 2010), Drachenwald (31 Jul, 2010), Middle (31 Jul, 2010), and Outlands (31 Jul, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Thursday, September 30, 2010.

The November Laurel decisions were made at the Pelican meeting held on Saturday, November 6, 2010 and the Wreath meeting held on Sunday, November 7, 2010. These meetings considered the following letters of intent: Caid (29 Jun, 2010) (pushed due to lack of payment and packet), Caid (31 Jul, 2010) (pushed due to lack of packet), Lochac (31 Jul, 2010) (pushed due to lack of packet), Ansteorra (17 Aug, 2010), Gleann Abhann (17 Aug, 2010), Atenveldt (20 Aug, 2010), Lochac (29 Aug, 2010), Artemisia (30 Aug, 2010), Atlantia (30 Aug, 2010), An Tir (31 Aug, 2010), East (31 Aug, 2010), Meridies (31 Aug, 2010), Middle (31 Aug, 2010), and West (31 Aug, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should have been entered into OSCAR by Sunday, October 31, 2010.

The December Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings held on Saturday, December 4, 2010. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Northshield (31 Aug, 2010) (pushed due to OSCAR posting date), Æthelmearc (04 Sep, 2010), Ealdormere (06 Sep, 2010), Laurel LoPaD (07 Sep, 2010), Calontir (17 Sep, 2010), Gleann Abhann (23 Sep, 2010), Laurel LoPaD (23 Sep, 2010), Lochac (26 Sep, 2010), Ansteorra (28 Sep, 2010), Atlantia (29 Sep, 2010), Drachenwald (29 Sep, 2010), An Tir (30 Sep, 2010), Atenveldt (30 Sep, 2010), Daniel de Lincoln LoItUP (30 Sep, 2010), Lochac (30 Sep, 2010), Northshield (30 Sep, 2010), Outlands (30 Sep, 2010), Trimaris (30 Sep, 2010), and West (30 Sep, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Tuesday, November 30, 2010.

The January Laurel decisions will be made at the Pelican and Wreath meetings in January 2011. These meetings will consider the following letters of intent: Artemisia (30 Sep 2010) (pushed due to lack of packet), Meridies (30 Sep, 2010) (pushed due to lack of packet), Æthelmearc (02 Oct, 2010), Caid (05 Oct, 2010), Laurel LoPaD (06 Oct, 2010), Atenveldt (15 Oct, 2010), Ansteorra (18 Oct, 2010), [Calontir (23 Oct, 2010)], Lochac (25 Oct, 2010), Gleann Abhann (26 Oct, 2010), Meridies (28 Oct, 2010), An Tir (29 Oct, 2010), Northshield (30 Oct, 2010), Atlantia (31 Oct, 2010), Drachenwald (31 Oct, 2010), East (31 Oct, 2010), Laurel LoPaD (31 Oct, 2010), Middle (31 Oct, 2010), and Outlands (31 Oct, 2010). All commentary, responses, and rebuttals should be entered into OSCAR by Friday, December 31, 2010.

Not all letters of intent may be considered when they are originally scheduled on this cover letter. The date of posting of the LoI, date of receipt of the Laurel packet, or other factors may delay consideration of certain letters of intent. Additionally, some letters of intent received may not have been scheduled because the administrative requirements (receipt of the forms packet, receipt of the necessary fees, et cetera) have not yet been met.

REMINDER: Until all administrative requirements are met, the letter may not be scheduled.

From Laurel: Deadline Reminder

We would like to remind all interested parties that the deadline for applications for the position of Laurel, Pelican, and Wreath Sovereign of Arms is March 1, 2011. All interested parties should see the August 2010 Cover Letter for details on how to apply.

We would also like to remind everyone that Laurel is accepting applications for a replacement Ragged Staff Herald. Details are also on the August 2010 Cover Letter.

From Pelican: Some Name Resources (a series)

This month, I'm going to focus on issues around Gaelic and Anglicized Irish names. Irish names, both in Gaelic and in Anglicized Irish, cause a great deal of fear and confusion for submitters and heralds alike. To start, we need to review the kinds of names that we see in these languages.

Gaelic is the language spoken in Ireland since at least the 4th century AD; it goes through a series of stages we call Oghamic Irish, (roughly 400 AD to 700 AD), Old Irish or Old Gaelic (roughly 700 AD to 900 AD), Middle Irish or Middle Gaelic (roughly 900 AD to 1200 AD), and Early Modern Irish or Early Modern Gaelic (roughly 1200 AD to after 1600 AD).

Anglicized Irish is defined by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (in "Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents") as "Irish Gaelic words rendered in a phonetic or pseudo-phonetic form in historical documents written by an English speaker." In other words, they're the names of Gaelic speakers written down by English speakers using the rules for English writing (we often refer to this as "orthography" which is a fancy term for the rules a language follows in writing down sounds).

Examples of names in Gaelic include: Toirdhealbhach Ó Néill, Cormac mac Taidhg Mhic Cárthaigh, Doireann inghean uí Bhirn, and Fionnghuala inghean Fhínghin Uí Mhathghamhna.

The same names in 16th century Anglicized Irish are: Tirlogh O'Neale, Cormack m'Teige M'Carthie, Dorren ny Birne, and Finolla nyn Fynine Y Mahowny.

For Gaelic names, the main source that I use is Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada, "Index of Names in Irish Annals" ( It includes the standardized forms of a variety of names and the years the names were used, as well as documentary forms. In general, it's better to use the standardized spellings, because each set of Annals, which were written in late period from earlier sources, uses an individual orthographic system that combines early and late spellings (sometimes inconsistently using early and late spellings). While we'd register a documentary form consistent with a single set of Annals, it would have to be consistent with the orthographic system used in that set of annals. I also use Donnchadh Ó Corráin and Fidelma Maguire, Irish Names, and Patrick Woulfe, Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall: Irish Names and Surnames (see the next section for notes on how to use Woulfe).

There are a couple of things about Gaelic grammar that you need to know to construct a name (this is all summarized in Sharon Krossa, "Quick and Easy Gaelic Names," First, the form that a name takes is different when it's used as a given name than when it's used as your father's name (in a patronymic byname) or another ancestor's name (in a clan byname or second generation patronymic byname). The given name form is the nominative form, while the form used in bynames is the genitive (possessive) form. Both are listed in Mari's article, while in books like Irish Names, we only have nominative forms. The next thing about Gaelic grammar is that bynames are literal, so that the bynames are different for men than they are for women. The byname mac Fearghusa can only be used by a man, as it means "son of Fergus;" the feminine form meaning "daughter of Fergus" is inghean Fhearghusa. Similarly, the byname Ó Conchobhair means "male descendant of Connor;" the feminine form is inghean Uí Chonchobhair.

For Anglicized Irish forms, we have a new source. For given names, I start with Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada, " Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents" ( For bynames, I generally use Patrick Woulfe, Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall: Irish Names and Surnames; those forms that are given in italics are dated to the time of Elizabeth I or James I (1559-1625). Mari's article also includes bynames, but they are not indexed (yet).

Anglicized Irish bynames are less literal, so that women are sometimes identified using the masculine Mac and O instead of the feminine forms like ni. Women are also sometimes identified in these records using their husband's byname instead of their own byname, so that a woman with the byname M'Geoghegan is identified as her husband's widow.

From Pelican: On Using Woulfe

Patrick Woulfe, Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall: Irish Names and Surnames, is a source that some have found difficult to use. The given names section is completely modern, listing only 20th century forms. An entry in this section does not show that the name in any form was in use before 1600; even if notes characterize a name as being used before 1600, the pre-1600 form is likely to be quite different than the listed spelling. Multiple submissions this month used the given name section for documentation. Instead, some of the sources listed in the previous section should be used.

The surnames section is rather more useful. Only some of the names in that section are dated, and only the Anglicized forms are dated. Those forms which are italicized are Anglicized Irish forms dated to the time of Elizabeth I or James I (1559-1625); there is no way to distinguish which are before 1600 and which after 1600, but all are within the grey period. Other Anglicized spellings are modern and cannot be registered without further evidence that they were in use before 1600.

While the Gaelic forms are not pre-1600 forms, they are generally compatible with forms for around 1600. Early Modern Gaelic takes form by around 1200, and spelling will change relatively little until the 20th century (though in the 20th century, a substantial spelling reform will radically change spellings). As a book published in the early 20th century, Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall: Irish Names and Surnames uses the earlier spellings, which are generally typical of the 16th century as well. So, for those bynames that have dated forms, the Gaelic forms are generally appropriate. Rarely, more recent scholarship will demonstrate that Woulfe was mistaken in his guess about the Gaelic form represented by the dated Anglicized forms. In those cases, the Gaelic form identified by Woulfe will not be registerable. These have been determined on a case by case basis.

Woulfe did lightly standardize the Anglicized names, replacing a variety of forms with M' and O. In general, M' will not be registered (as it is a scribal abbreviation), but must be replaced with Mac or another similar form. When Woulfe gives dated Anglicized forms derived from a single Gaelic root with both M' and O, in general those spellings can be used with either Mac or O.

From Pelican: The Problems with MacLysaght

Multiple submissions this month were documented from MacLysaght, The Surnames of Ireland. In July 2007, Laurel ruled:

A submission this month raised the issue of the quality of documentation available from MacLysaght, Irish Surnames. This book is about modern names and provides modern forms of both Gaelic and Anglicized spellings. At one time, this book was the best reference we had for Irish names, but this is no longer the case. Because MacLysaght provides few if any dates, and because the forms given in this work are explicitly modern, it is no longer acceptable as sole documentation for Irish names.

This situation has not changed. The spellings in MacLysaght, both Gaelic and Anglicized, are modern. Relatively few dates are given, so that many of the names in the book are not clearly dated to period. Therefore, even when dates are provided, MacLysaght is only sufficient to demonstrate that the name in some form was used in period. Other sources must be used to demonstrate which form(s) are period. Therefore, those forms which are documented only from MacLysaght cannot be registered.

From Wreath: A Many-Headed Reblazon Party

This month, a submission brought up the issue of hydras, and how many heads a default hydra has. The Pictorial Dictionary, under the header dragon, notes that the number of heads of a hydra must be blazoned. While the number of heads does not grant difference, explicitly blazoning the number will be an aid to artists in reproducing some submitter's intent. In keeping with this, we have reblazoned all prior armory containing hydras to indicate the number of heads, and will continue this practice in the future.

Send What to Whom

Letters of Intent, Comment, Response, Correction, et cetera are to be posted to the OSCAR online system. No paper copies need be sent.

Submission packets (one copy of each name form plus documentation, including petitions; two colored copies of each armory form plus two copies of any associated documentation, including petitions) to the SCA College of Arms, PO Box 31755, Billings, MT 59107-1755.

Cheques or money orders for submissions, payable to "SCA Inc.-College of Arms" are to be sent to David Duggar, Attn: Laurel Chancellor of Exchequer, 1705 Holiday Pl, Bossier City, LA 71112-3706.

Send roster changes and corrections to Laurel. College of Arms members may also request a copy of the current roster from Laurel.

For a paper copy of a LoAR, please contact Laurel at the address above. The cost for one LoAR is $3. Please make all checks or money orders payable to "SCA Inc.-College of Arms". The electronic copy of the LoAR is available free of charge. To subscribe to the mailings of the electronic copy, please see the bottom of for more instructions.

For all administrative matters, please contact Laurel.

Pray know that I remain,

In service,

Olwynn ni Chinnedigh
Laurel Principal Queen of Arms

Created at 2010-12-01T15:29:55