How about instead of doing persona name research I just sit here and cry because it is 100% as effective.

I had a name. But I have to add stuff to it and possibly shift my time to accommodate it. But I don’t know for sure yet, I still have to talk to herald so they can make me cry.

*offers help, tea, and a cookie?*

Seriously, though! I’d be more than happy to help you find stuff.

I am looking for something *like* a period or late period family tree….except it would be for a household or an order. I have been looking for things like “Armorial Trees” but I can’t really figure out what they would be called or where to even begin documenting them. Any ideas?


(MS Lat. misc. e. 86, f. 37v-38r, Bodelian Lbrary, Treatise on heraldry, also known as “Ashmole Tract.”)

I would look at royal lineages or “Trees of Jesse.” If you’re more interested in showcasing someone’s arms, then search “roll of arms.”

Here’s an early 14th century “Genealogical Roll of the Kings of England”: [Link]

Here’s a chronicle with some genealogies from the last part of the 15th century: [Link]

Here’s an early 15th century manuscript with some genealogical trees: [Link]

This 12th century manuscript has a “tree of consanguinity” (blood relations): [Link]

I’d also encourage you to search the Bodleian library for “genealogy” or “roll of arms.”

This might work too – this is from the British Library’s Stowe 594 (c. 1430-1440), f. 7v-8r. It shows Edward III and Henry, Duke of Lancaster, of the Order of the Garter. They are wearing their own arms on a surcoat, plus the mantle of the order, and they are standing next to the arms of their successors in their Garter stalls (I’m not sure what that means, but there you go): [Link]

Coming up with my SCA persona


So I’m working on figuring out my SCA name and have narrowed it down. I’m definitely using Anne as my first name, but I’m having a harder time pinning down a byname/surname. I’m going to be mainly playing Norman Conquest through the Anarchies England, so am thinking of using a French name.

I’ve got 3 names that I really like:

Beaumont (I like the way it sounds)
D’arcy (Yes, I’m a giant Jane Austen P&P nerd.)
LeRoux (I’m usually a redhead so I kinda want to incorporate that into my persona)

But decisions, decisions, decisions.

Beaumont: 1292 Census of Paris [Link]

D’arcy (de Arcy, Darcy): 12/13th Century England/France [Link]

LeRoux: Couldn’t locate a St. Gabriel or SCA Heralds article, but it looks like it has been registered before as a 15/16th century name.

So the good news is that all of these should be documentable. Search through OSCAR to see what documentation others (who got the name passed) used.

I like LeRoux, honestly. 😀

Hey there! First off, let me say that I adore this resource – absolutely fantastic! Anyways, I’m looking for a bit of information as to names and heraldry in 14th century England – the heraldry specifically seems to be a bit spotty as far as information goes, as the whole movement doesn’t seem to have kicked off until a century or two later. Do you have any resources that I could reference?

I can certainly try to find some! 😀

First of all, as with any heraldry/name related question, I highly suggest consulting heralds either at an event’s Herald Consultation Table or on the SCA Heraldry Chat Facebook group. Heralds don’t bite. Promise!

The SCA Heraldy page has a some article on 14th Century names for England, but they are specific to the county:

Other websites:

The Academy of St. Gabriel has some naming guides for 14th century English names, but it only goes to 1450. It looks like they have a lot of good stuff here – plenty to help you narrow down and make a choice.

You could also search their past reports for “14th century England,” but I would suggest narrowing your location to a county/region first, because it pulls up a LOT. You can use the search on their front page, or look at all the reports here: [Link]

Books: Consult with your local heralds to see if someone already has a copy of one of these on hand, otherwise, you should be able to Interlibrary Loan them at your local library. For those that have a Google Books preview (at least), I’ve included that link as well.

A Dictionary of English Surnames (1991), by Percy Hide Reaney.
Publisher’s Description: This classic dictionary answers questions such as these and explains the origins of over 16,000 names in current English use. It will be a source of fascination to everyone with an interest in names and their history.
Worldcat (See what libraries near you have it) [Link]Google Books [Link]

The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names (1977), by Elizabeth Gidley Withycombe.
Publisher’s Description: Presents the early forms of common names, their equivalents in other languages, pet forms, and etymologies together with historical backgrounds.
Worldcat: [Link]

You’re right – this is harder than names. London’s civic arms date back to about 1380, and the earliest reference to the officer of arms at the College of Arms is 1334. You can read more on the Wikipedia page: [Link]

In the 1390s, Johannes de Bado Aureo published Tactatus de Armis, but the only versions of it I can locate are outside the 14th century window. It’s unlikely the text changed much, since it took so long to make a book.
De arte heraldica, by de Bado Aureo, c. 1440-1450
Bodleian Library Images: [Link]

Powell’s Roll (MS Ashmole 804), which dates c. 1345-1351 has been digitized by the Bodleian Library – you can view those images here: [Link]

If we look to non-period sources, there are plenty of English Armorials that list not only the Royal arms, but civic arms, and the arms of the general nobility.

The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (1884), by Sir Bernard Burke.
Internet Archive: [Link]Supplement that begins the general armorial: [Link]

If you compare a source like Burke’s General Armory to something like this list of the Knights of the Garter [Link] in order to date items. Burke’s doesn’t include images – just blazons – but it has a whole section in the front about how heraldry works. And there are other online resources to understand how to decipher a blazon, such as this one on the SCA Heraldry site: [Link]  There is also the official Burke’s Peerage website, which has images – but again, no dates.

The 107th edition of Burke’s appears to maybe have dates associated with each entry, but it is difficult for me to tell given the inability to zoom in on the few preview pages available. The book is VERY expensive, so check your library – [Worldcat Link] It may be that it won’t circulate (given it’s replacement cost), which means it probably won’t be allowed to go out on ILL. But you could see where the closest copy to you is and then have a field trip!


You might also try:

Anglo-Norman armory two: an ordinary of thirteenth-century armorials (1984), by Cecil R. Humphery-Smith
Worldcat [Link]

This apparently goes from 1250-1315 and has 3,000 coats of arms in it, though the artwork is modern.

Good luck!

Hey! So I’m super new to the SCA, like I actually just started hanging out with the local group a couple of weeks ago…but I’ve been thinking about what persona I want to take on. I’m thinking Scottish, but I’m not sure if the name I’m considering is period? I want to get at least the name down before the event coming up – I’m thinking about Moira MacDonald, especially since MacDonald is my mother’s maiden name and the clan my family is from.

Greetings, and welcome to the SCA!

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'. [4]  (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>. [5]-1440, Academy of St. Gabriel [Link]
<Muirenn> is a fine Gaelic feminine name for your period [1].  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> [2]. 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. 😀

You could also post to the SCA Heraldry Chat Facebook Group to get some guidance as well.

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).

Good luck to you, and welcome!