Name and Device for Engel der Pfau

Engel der Pfau is a skilled fencer with a flamboyant Landsknecht persona who recently became the rapier champion of our local group.

He decided it was time to register a device, and asked for “an angry, fighting, pissed off peacock, his tail plumes out” on a red and black field.


Quarterly sable and gules, a peacock in his pride Or 
maintaining over his shoulder a billhook bendwise sinister argent.

I found a fierce-looking depiction of a peacock in the Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry and combined it with a wicked-looking polearm traced from a photograph of a medieval exemplar.


Engel is a German word meaning “angel” used as a male given name. This use is documented to 1497 in “German Names from Nürnberg, 1497.”

der is a German article sometimes used to mark descriptive bynames. Examples including “der Fuhs” (“the fox”), “der Rise” (“the giant”), and “der Guot” (“the good”) are documented to the early thirteenth century in “Some Early Middle High German Bynames.”

Pfau is a German word meaning “peacock” used as a descriptive byname. This use is documented to 1560 in FamilySearch batch C73926-2 which shows that Barbara Pfau was christened on 5 December 1560 in Wuerttemberg, Germany.

The documentation I found for these name elements is separated by about three hundred years, which is close enough for Society registration, but I suspect that people with more expertise in German onomastics will be able to locate additional examples that show them all to have been used within the same century, preferably around Engel’s preferred first decades of the sixteenth century.

Name and Device for Hrotger the Tervingi

Hrotger had been using his name for many years without registering it, but was inspired to do so when he encountered my post of simple field-only armory.

In comparison to the simplicity of his chosen armory, researching his chosen name was significantly more difficult, because documentary sources for Germanic peoples in the period immediately following the collapse of the Roman Empire are somewhat limited, and it is not a culture with which I have much familiarity — an interesting challenge, and a good learning opportunity.


Per chevron inverted sable and azure.


Hrotger the Tervingi” is an Eastern Germanic name that might be borne by a Goth somewhere around the fourth century.

Hrotger is a Germanic male given name.

Hrotger appears as the name of a Saxon bishop during A.D. 909-916 in “The bishoprics of Saxony in the first century after Christianization” by Christopher Carroll, published in the August 1999 issue of Early Medieval Europe.

The name Hrotger is given as a witness to a real-estate transaction during the reign of abbot Adalgar (AD 822-875) on pages 50 and 57 of “Traditiones Corbeienses“, an 1843 re-publication by Paul Wigand of a document copied in 1479 from an eleventh-century manuscript which was itself copied from parchment rolls recorded at the time of the original transactions.

“Hroðgar” is given as the name of a Danish king who ruled shortly after 500 AD, according to the Old English poem “Widsith,” which was first composed in the seventh century, although our oldest copy of it was written down in the tenth century.

Tervingi” is a Eastern Germanic demonym used to refer to some Gothic tribes.

The “Theruingi” people are mentioned in “Res Gestae” by Ammianus Marcellinus, written circa 385 AD, as well as their nation, “Theruingorum natio,” and their leader, “Athanarichus Theruingorum iudex.”

If “Tervingi” is ruled unregistrable, or too far removed in time from documentable sources for “Hrotger”, client would accept “Hrotger the Goth.”

Name and Device for Arthur von Eschenbach

Arthur had already selected a name and armory in consultation with another herald, Francesco Gaetano Grèco d’Edessa, so preparing his submission forms was a simple matter of illustration and onomastic research.


Per fess argent and sable, a cross gules and in chief two fleurs de lys sable.


Arthur” is an English masculine given name. It is attested to the sixteenth century, appearing in “The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources” (S.L. Uckelman, ed. 2018).

English given names may be borrowed into sixteenth-century German names under the terms of the February 2015 cover letter.

von Eschenbach” is a Germanic locative byname indicating an origin in a town of Eschenbach. It is attested to the sixteenth century, appearing in “Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen vnd Voelckeren Chronick wirdiger thaaten beschreybung” (by Johannes Stumpf, 1548).

Page 184 of “Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen vnd Voelckeren Chronick wirdiger thaaten beschreybung,” by Johannes Stumpf, 1548.

Name for Sydoc nicTalmach

Sydoc had a registrable name already picked out, so all that was required was some research to document it as historically accurate.


Sydoc nicTalmach is a Scots feminine name of the sixteenth century.

Sydoc is a feminine Scots given name dated to 1540 found in “A List of Feminine Personal Names in Scottish Records” by Talan Gwynek.

This name was originally found in Black’s Surnames of Scotland, s.n. MacKail.

SENA Appendix C says that English, Scots, and Gaelic name phrases can be combined.

nic is a marker (also spelled nyk/nick/nikc/nik) that appears in 16th century Scots records as a contraction of Gaelic ‘inghean mhic’, meaning ‘daughter of the son of’. Unlike in later Irish Gaelic orthography, no space appears after the marker in Scots.

This is shown in the 1595 records for “Katherene NicClaartie” and “Ewphrick Nikccoll” which appear in “Names from Papers Relating to the Murder of the Laird of Calder” by Margaret Makafee.

These names were originally found in Highland Papers (Scottish History Society, 1914).

Talmach is a Gaelic male given name (sometimes spelled Tolmach). Saint Talmach is a minor saint who was a disciple of Saint Brendan in sixth century Ireland. The name is found in The Book of Hymns of the Ancient Church of Ireland by James Henthorn Todd, 1855.

Name and Device for Bahja al-Azraq

Bahja had a name picked out and a lovely first draft of his device designed, but it needed a bit of adjustment to be registrable by the College of Arms.


Or, on a saltire between four rings purpure gemmed gules a pomegranate slipped and leaved Or seeded gules.

Although the original arrangement Bahja had sketched was problematic, we were able to retain all of the charges and the overall color scheme, while shifting them into a new layout which was free of conflicts.


Bahja is a Arabic masculine ism (given name) and al-Azraq is an Arabic masculine laqab (descriptive byname).

Both are found in “Arabic Names from al-Andalus” (Juliana de Luna, 2008).

Name and Device for Anne of Østgarðr

Anne is an active fencer in the Province, who wanted to register armory that was personally meaningful, and had already identified a silver tree as the primary charge.


Per fess sable and vert, a tree and in chief a comet bendwise argent.

The illustration of the tree comes from the Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry, affectionately known as the PicDic, while the comet comes from the Viking Answer Lady’s SVG Images For Heralds collection.


Anne is a female given name in multiple parts of medieval Europe. It is found in the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources at http://dmnes.org/name/Anne as attested to 1485 in Early Modern English, citing Wills and Inventories Illustrative of the History, Manners, Language, Statistics, &c. of the Northern Counties of England, from the Eleventh Century Downwards, volume I of Publications of the Surtees Society. London: J. B. Nicholas and Son, 1835.

Østgarðr is the name of the Crown Province of the East Kingdom, and the byname “of Østgarðr” follows the Branch Name Allowance of SENA PN.1.B.2.f.

Name and Device for Catelin Straquhin

Catelin wanted a name and device that reflected her family’s Scottish heritage, and had already picked a basic direction, so it didn’t take much additional effort to help her select something that was both unique and registrable.


Azure, a stag courant to dexter base between two roses argent.

Catelin had been interested in a “bucking” stag, but as that isn’t a recognized heraldic posture, we went looking for alternatives which would produce a similar visual effect.

While “courant to dexter base” is an unusual arrangement, it has been registered twice, most recently in January 2016.

The white rose was a badge of the House of York.

The illustrations for both charges are taken from Fox-Davies’ 1909 book A Complete Guide to Heraldry.


Catelin is a female given name found in the British Isles.

Straquhin is a late-period byname from the Scottish Lowlands.

SENA Appendix C indicates that after 1100, English and Scottish name elements may be combined.

Name for Gibbs Moryss

Gibbs is new to the SCA, but had done some other medieval-themed activities under that name and wanted to find a registrable equivalent that fit with their late-period English persona and paid homage to a grandfather named Morris.

Gibbs appears to have originally been a pet name or diminutive version of “Gilbert” before becoming established as a distinct name of its own. Morris seems to be an Anglicized version of the French “Maurice.” Both names came to England with the Norman invasion.

We spent some time looking at alternate spellings: Gibbs and Gibbes are both historically attested as English or Lowland Scots names, as are Morris, Moryis, Moryss, and Morrys.

When my first search only turned up documentation of Gibbs as a surname, we thought we might use Morris as a first name, perhaps with the spelling “Moryis Gibbs,” but then reconsidered when multiple people said this made them think of Maurice Gibb, a singer with the Bee Gees.

After turning up some additional sources, Gibbs Moryss emerged as the favorite.


Gibbs is a sixteenth-century English male given name, sometimes spelled “Gibbes.”

“Gibbs Wills” was the name of a man married on October 9, 1619 in Kent, England (Family Search, batch number M01596-5).

“Gibbs Hicksome” was the name of a boy christened on January 18, 1628 in Kent, England (Family Search, batch number C03656-1).

Moryss is a sixteenth-century English surname, sometimes spelled “Morrys.”

“John Moryss” was the name of a boy christened on February 13, 1562 in Langton by Wragby, Lincoln, England (Family Search, batch number C02972-2).

“John Moryss” was also the name of a boy christened on March 26, 1629 in Hereford, England (Family Search, batch number C13862-1).


[Update:] Gibbs’s name was accepted on the August 2018 LoAR, published in October, with the following note indicating that while this version of the name was registrable as English, there was a variation which was more Scottish:

The submitter requested authenticity for 16th century “Lowland Scots-English.” This name does not meet that request. The spelling Moryss is found in English; in Scots, it can be interpolated as a plausible variant spelling from period examples. However, we have no examples of Gibbs as a Scottish given name. In the Letter of Intent, it was documented as a gray-period English surname used as a given name. Thus, while this name can be registered, it is not authentic for the requested time and place.

The submitter may be interested to know that Gib_ Moryss appears to be authentic for circa 1500 in Scotland. If the submitter prefers this form, he may make a request for reconsideration.

Name and Device for Seònaid inghean mhic Aoidh

Seònaid is new to the society, but has thrown herself into it full throttle, and only a few weeks after her first event had designed a device and come up with an authentic name, making my job as herald relatively easy — with just a little fiddling around the edges we were able to get her ideas into registrable shape and submitted.


Per saltire azure and argent, four mullets counterchanged.

The design Seònaid came up with is nice and simple, as were the best period designs.

The fact that there were no conflicts was a pleasant reminder of how much available design space remains open in the society’s armorial.


Seonaid is a Scottish Gaelic female given name attested to the fifteenth century. It is discussed in Academy of Saint Gabriel Report 2120 (Judith Phillips, 2001) which cites Scottish Verse from the Book of the Dean of Lismore (William J., ed., 1937).

Some useful discussion of the interpretation of the source material for Seonaid may be found in the Oct. 2009 LoAR acceptance for Seonaid Upton.

inghean is the Gaelic marker for “daughter of”. It is listed in SENA Appendix A as a standard element of female names when combined with the genetive form of their father’s given name.

inghean is also in shown as a standard name element in “Quick and Easy Gaelic Names” (Sharon L. Krossa, 2007)

mhic Aoidh is the genetive form of Mac Aoidh, a Gaelic male name formed from “Mac” (son of) and “Aoidh” (a common male given name). It is discussed in Academy of Saint Gabriel Report 3038 (Aryanhwy merch Catmael, 2005) which cites Woulfe s.n. mac Aoidh.

The combined form inghean mhic Aoidh is mentioned in Academy of Saint Gabriel Report 1793 as a plausible byname for the daughter of a clan chieftain.


Pronunciation for Gaelic names often requires a bit of puzzling, and this one is no different.

On first glance, some folks might read Seonaid as “Shin-aid,” thanks to the fame of Sinead O’Connor, but the modern pronunciation seems to be “Shoh-nah”, like the name Shona.

The period pronunciation seems to have been similar, but with a soft “t” added to the end. One source describes it as “Shoh-na[tch]”, with the [tch] representing something like a ‘d’ sound but with your tongue against your front teeth instead of the roof of your mouth.

Those of us who aren’t great at making unusual sounds, myself included, can go for something half-way between Shoh-nah and Shaw-nat and they’ll be in the right ballpark.

In the sixteenth century, inghean mhic Aoidh might have been pronounced “Neek Eye”.

In the fifteenth, “inghean mhic” hadn’t yet gotten squashed together, so it would’ve been something more like “Nee-an week Eye” or even “Een-yan veek Eye”

(The h in “mh” is acting as a lenition marker, which softens the sound of the letter that comes before it; I think of “mhic” as trying to say “meek” except that when you say the “m” you’re not allowed to put your lips all the way together the way you normally would for an “m” sound, which leaves you with something closer to a “w” or “v” sound.)


Submitted in December 2017 and accepted on the June 2017 LoAR published that August, with a correction that we’d used the wrong accent on Seónaid.

Name and Arms for Josef von Ulm

I recently consulted with our provincial seneschal to prepare a submission for a member of his household.


Sable, an eagle Or, orbed, langued, and armed argent, and on a chief Or three lozenges ployé gules.

Josef knew he wanted his arms to include an eagle as a nod to the arms of his knight, and wanted a chief with a set of three charges that would reference his hometown football team, the Steelers, and their stadium, formerly known as Three Rivers. The lozenge ployé, sometimes blazoned an “Arabic napkin,” comes directly from the team’s logo.


Josef is a German masculine given name, appearing in the FamilySearch Historical Records as follows:
• Josef Hoecker, Male, Christening, 30 Aug 1626, Roman Catholic, Lichtenwalde Habelschwerdt, Schlesien, Prussia C99829-1.
• Josef Jakob Gutsweiler, Birth, 21 January 1634, Male, Degernau, Baden, Germany C39052-1.

SENA Appendix A states that German names may take an locative byname marked by “von <place>.”

Ulm is a city in the Baden-Württemberg area of Germany. Its name is attested to 854, where it is called “Hulma” in a document signed by King Louis the German. In Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg’s Civitates Orbis Terrarum (Cologne, 1572), the woodcut map of Ulm is labeled both in Latin, as “Ulma,” and in German, as “Ulm” (written “VLM”).