What Books Should I Use to Document My Name?
In order to be sure that your name was used in period, you should try
to find a dated reference to the name. For SCA purposes, any dated
reference to a name is good, whether it's from a name book or a
history. Sources outside name books can be tricky, because authors
often modernize or standardize the spellings of the names they use.
Of course, many authors discuss their treatment of names; look through
the introduction of any book you reference. If you're wondering if
you have the medieval form of the name, ask
us and we'll try to track it down.
If you're checking out name books, there are some things you should avoid:
Below is a list of authors whose books are standard references for
SCA naming. Some of these authors have put out more than one book,
but any book by any of these people is a reliable source. Most of the
books on non-British names are not in English, but they can usually be
deciphered enough to find a name and a date. For full bibliographic
references, check our library.
- Any book which makes reference to a name as "Celtic" or "Teutonic."
A book that uses these terms is almost certainly cribbing off a 19th-
century source that is outdated and largely inaccurate.
- Books titled "Name Your Baby" (or some such). Almost all of these
are historically useless; the few that are helpful are mentioned in
- Anything without dates. While some authors are better than
others, a dated reference is the 100% sure way to success.
The following authors should be avoided; while their books are not totally
useless there are better books readily available. These books are often
carried in libraries, but they aren't reliable sources of documentation.
- Ekwall, Eilert
- Reaney, P.H.
- Withycombe, E.G.
- Bahlow, Hans
- MacLysaght, Edward
- O'Corrain, Donnchadh
- Woulfe, Patrick
- Old English/Old German
- Morlet, Marie-Therese
- Searle, William George
- Dunkling & Gosling
- Hanks & Hodges (useful for ideas, not for documentation)
- Yonge, Charlotte
This page maintained by Jim Trigg (known
in the SCA as Blaise de Cormeilles),
Last updated June 7, 1999.