Advice for Choosing an SCA Name
What is your best chance of choosing an SCA name that is registrable?
- First, talk to a knowledgeable name herald. A good name herald will help you, or try to find for you someone else more expert in the culture and time you want to be from. They will be able to guide you to good sources to choose your name from. They will also try to help you interpret the rules and hopefully check for conflict against already registered names.
- Next, try to pick a name as authentic as you can stand it. The more authentic your name is to start with, the better. If you pick a name barely authentic to the current standards, you may or may not be able to register it 5 or 10 years down the line. If you pick a VERY authentic name, it is probably going to be still authentic enough to register in 5 or 10 years. Of course, you can pick a name now and submit it for registration immediately, or pick a name and never register it, but nonetheless the more authentic your name is to start, the longer you will be satisfied with it and the better it will serve you.
What makes a name authentic? First and foremost, sticking to a single culture and/or language and time. If you want to be 14th century English, pick name elements (like a given name and a byname) in use in 14th century England, and combine them in the way a 14th century Englishman or Englishwoman would. You DON'T have to prove that all of the name elements you have chosen were in use in 1351, but if you can (or your name herald can) demonstrate that all of the elements were in use between 1300 and 1400, then you probably have done a reasonable job of picking an authentic name. If you can show your name elements were all in use between 1345 and 1365, kudos to you!
- When you submit your name, allow changes. If something close to what you want is registered, you can always work on getting exactly what you want through the appeals process. If they can't register anything because you don't allow changes, there is the possibility that someone else may register the name you want while you are resubmitting.