Can we PLEASE stop telling new or interested women in the SCA that they can’t wear pants? And don’t you DARE play that, “striving to be historically accurate” card on me. It is perfectly accurate for women to wear pants! And besides, it’s not about WHO is wearing the garb, it’s about the garb itself.
There is no restriction. You are welcomed and encouraged to wear whatever period and style you have an interest to wear!
the persona you wish to play wears pants, then by all means wear pants.
If you as a PERSON are more comfortable in pants, then wear pants! As
long as you are making an attempt to have the garb be period, then you
have met the expectations of the SCA.
If you’re writing Medieval historical lit or pseudo-medieval fantasy and need a way to name your Jewish side-characters (we were there!) here’s a site that could be of some assistance. This is about the Iberian peninsula, but people travel… and the past thousand years have seen a lot of us being kicked out of various countries so even if your setting isn’t Spain or Portugal, these may still be useful.
Harley 6149, f. 30r, Mermaid with Mirror Scotland, 1494 British Library Because Heraldry and Names go together like Milk and Cookies.
The best resource for names that I have found is the Academy of St. Gabriel. You can submit a question to them, but they have been on vacation for some time. However, they have several articles as well as their past letters that you can consult.
They have a link to a primer on Scottish Names, [Scottish Names 101], as well as several other articles about both Gaelic (Highland) and lowland names [Link].
As for Moira MacDonald, here is what the Academy has spread across several of their archived letters:
<Moira> is an English phonetic spelling of <Ma/ire>, the Irish form of <Mary>. (The slash represents an accent over the previous letter). We haven’t found evidence that <Moira> was used during the Society’s period, so we recommend that you avoid it. -1050, Academy of St. Gabriel [Link]
<Moira> is an Anglicization of <Ma/ire>, the Irish form of <Mary>. Unfortunately, this Anglicization appears to have been invented after the SCA period. We've found no evidence that it was used in period, and <Ma/ire> itself was extremely rare as a personal name in Ireland until the 17th century: there are a few examples from the 15th and 16th centuries, and the earliest known instance is an isolated 14th century example. The Irish considered the name too sacred for ordinary use; instead they used <Ma/el Muire> 'devotee of Mary'.  (The slash stands for an acute accent over the preceding vowel.) This was pronounced roughly MA VOOR-(y)eh, where the <y> in parentheses stands for a very, very lightly pronounced y as in <yes>. -1440, Academy of St. Gabriel [Link]
<Muirenn> is a fine Gaelic feminine name for your period . It is pronounced somewhere between MOOR-en and MOOR-yen, where the OO is pronounced as in <moo>. This name is not related to <Moira>, a modern English phonetic spelling of <Ma/ire>, which is the Gaelic form of <Mary> . The slash in that name indicates an accent on the preceding letter. -1709, Academy of St. Gabriel [Link]
For MacDonald, in period this simply meant “son of Donald,” not “part of the MacDonald clan” [Link – St. Gabriel]
The SCA Heraldry website also has an article on feminine Scottish names [Link].
I’d also encourage you to consult the herald’s table at an event, or get in touch with your local/regional/kingdom herald for help. There are “book heralds” and “court heralds” – you want one of the former for help with research. I’m not a herald – I’m just a librarian. 😀
All of that being said, don’t feel too pressured to have a surname nailed down before you go to your first event. A first name is enough – I still haven’t submitted my paperwork for my “more period than locative” surname. People will generally call you by whatever you introduce yourself as, and first names are always easier to remember (at least in my experience).
Actually there were so many Black British at that time that Elizabeth I tried to blame the realms ills on them and have them all deported. Twice. She failed, probably because you can’t deport your own citizens very well under most circumstances. It’s actually a pretty pivotal point in English history.
An open le[tt]re to the L[ord] Maiour of London and th’alermen his brethren, And to all other Maiours, Sheryfes, &c. Her Ma[jes]tieunderstanding that there are of late divers Blackmoores brought into the Realme, of which kinde of people there are all ready here to manie,consideringe howe God hath blessed this land w[i]th great increase of people of our owne Nation as anie Countrie in the world, wherof manie for want of Service and meanes to sett them on worck fall to Idlenesse and to great extremytie; Her Ma[jesty’]s pleasure therefore ys, that those kinde of people should be sent forthe of the lande. And for that purpose there ys direction given to this bearer Edwarde Banes to take of those Blackmoores that in this last voyage under Sir Thomas Baskervile, were brought into this Realme to the nomber of Tenn, to be Transported by him out of the Realme. Wherein wee Req[uire] you to be aydinge & Assysting unto him as he shall have occacion, and thereof not to faile.
But while Elizabeth may have enjoyed being entertained by Black people, in the 1590s she also issued proclamations against them. In 1596 she wrote to the lord mayors of major cities noting that there were ‘of late divers blackmoores brought into this realm, of which kind of people there are already here to manie…’. She ordered that ‘those kinde of people should be sente forth of the land’.
Elizabeth made an arrangement for a merchant, Casper van Senden, to deport Black people from England in 1596. The aim seems to have been to exchange them for (or perhaps to sell them to obtain funds to buy) English prisoners held by England’s Catholic enemies Spain and Portugal.
No doubt van Senden intended to sell these people. But this was not to be, because masters* of Black workers – who had not been offered compensation – refused to let them go. In 1601, Elizabeth issued a further proclamation expressing her ‘discontentment by the numbers of blackamores which are crept into this realm…’ and again licensing van Senden to deport Black people. It is doubtful whether this second proclamation was any more successful than the first.
Why this sudden, urgent desire to expel members of England’s Black population? It was more than a commercial transaction pursued by the queen. In the 16th century, the ruling classes became increasingly concerned about poverty and vagrancy, as the feudal system- which, in theory, had kept everyone in their place – finally broke down. They feared disorder and social breakdown and, blaming the poor, brought in poor laws to try to deal with the problem
As you can see, Black people were a pretty important and pivotal part of English society at the time. Basically, the Queen tried to convince the people that they had to “give up” their cobbler’s apprentices and weavers and other various other workingpeople (the Black musicians in the court were of course exempt from the deportations) to the crown, on the basis that they were “vagrants” and “mostly infidels”. This was not only a wild exaggeration (most were Christian with working class jobs like ya do), but it’s not a very compelling reason to frigging report your next-door neighbor Bill the Mason to immigration. Because then who’s going to do your masonry?
So anyways, the Poor Laws had to be passed, because you can’t deport your citizens/workforce and no one would cooperate with something like that.