Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Name game

So I was browsing the Society for Creative Anachronism's pages on historically accurate names, and got to thinking...what would I have gone by in days of yore?

Theoretically, I suppose I might have the same name, since my given name is Biblical and my surname is at least early modern (see here). This is how British my last name is: my ancestors immigrated to Scotland...from Ireland.

Other appropriately venerable family names are Katherine, Mary, Elizabeth, and Martha, any of which meet the SCA's circa 1600 cut-off.

"Laura", of which my middle name is a variant, is old enough that Petrarch was writing poetry to a Laura in the 1300s.

And apparently the Gaelic given name "Mòr" is equivalent to mine. Or Sorcha or Saoirse.

Other surnames which could have been my lot:

  • Bryant (from my father's name, Brian)
  • Ní Bhriain (like "O'Brian", but with the feminine prefix and Gaelic spelling)
  • Dalton (a male family name)
  • Clarke (for the occupation association, Clarke = clerk = any job to do with writing = literate person)

Interestingly, my mother's mother, mother's father, and father's mother all also come from Britain for centuries back. I mean, British-from-the-dawn-of-time, with maybe a dusting of conquest Norman thrown in.

Good lord, small wonder I'm so terribly pale.

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