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:

  1. 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 A book that uses these terms is almost certainly cribbing off a 19th- century source that is outdated and largely inaccurate.
  2. Books titled "Name Your Baby" (or some such). Almost all of these are historically useless; the few that are helpful are mentioned in the bibliography.
  3. Anything without dates. While some authors are better than others, a dated reference is the 100% sure way to success.
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.

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.

This page maintained by Jim Trigg (known in the SCA as Blaise de Cormeilles), blaise@s-gabriel.org

Last updated June 7, 1999.