16th Century Scottish Gaelic Name

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Sharon Krossa

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May 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/3/96
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Greetings!

I am beginning to research a persona name for myself. I'm going for one of
the ubiquitous 16th century Scottish Highland/Island women (at least for my
first persona!), so I'm looking for a 16th century Scottish Gaelic name.
I'd like to find a less common sort of name (in the context of frequency in
the SCA, not in period), but that isn't exactly vital (or period, for that
manner ;-)

Anyway, I have stumbled across "Eafric" or "Effric", which I found in
Black's _Surnames of Scotland_ (under the heading "Africa"). Other 16th
century (Latinized and/or Scotsisized) spellings listed are "Affrica",
"Effreta" (though my guess is that is a misreading for "Effreca"), and
"Africk". "Eafric" and "Effric" are found in the Book of the Dean of
Lismore, for Eafric neyn Corgitill, a woman who wrote a poem about 1470.
("Effric" is also found in the 16th century). Black also says "The name
appears to have been originally that of a river goddess, 'Afraig'
('Aithbrecc', mod. Gaelic 'Aithbreac', "somewhat speckled"), the goddess of
the (river-)ford. The name survived into the eighteenth century as Effrick
= 'Oighrig', and absurdly Englished 'Euphemia'!"

I have several questions that I hope you all may be able to help me with:

1. Do you know of others in the SCA who have this name? If so, how common
is it?

2. What would be the Common Classical Gaelic (ie, literary Gaelic of
Ireland and Scotland of about 12th to 17th century) spelling of this name?
Black isn't too clear about when the Gaelic spellings he gives are for. I
don't need for this to be documentable, as I would register it under the
Effric spelling, but I would like to know the period Gaelic spelling in
case my name should ever need to appear in a Gaelic document! [I'm not up
on Early and Middle Irish, and the libraries copy of the Irish names book
is currently on loan to someone else and my copy is in the USA! I don't
even know if it would be of any use...] Feel free to just point me at
sources to answer this one :-) I can recall (eventually) the Irish names
book if that would help me!

3. From the Book of the Dean of Lismore's spellings, I know how to
pronounce the name. What I don't know is how this is achieved from the
Gaelic spellings Black gives. How would 'Aithbrecc' and 'Aithbreac' come
out sounding like "Eafric"? Does this mean that the 'b' is actually
lenited? Does anyone have a good recommendation for a source that will
explain Early Irish, or preferably Middle Irish orthography and
pronunciation rules? (I can handle IPA and formal phonetic descriptions, if
that helps...) I suppose I really need to discover the reasonable 16th
century Gaelic spelling before I twist myself too much into knots on this
question :-) [I have the translation of Thurneysen's Grammar of Old Irish,
but I'm finding him clear as mud to understand...]

4. From a purely aesthetic point of view, what do y'all think of
Eafric/Effric as a name? Do you think it's pretty? :-)

5. If you _don't_ think it's a pretty name, please be on the lookout for
pretty but not frequently used in the SCA late period Scottish Gaelic names
for me :-) Unpronouncability is not an obstacle!

Sharon Krossa, possibly to be Effric...

skr...@svpal.org (permanent) -or- s.kr...@aberdeen.ac.uk (until June 1996)

Heather Rose Jones

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May 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/5/96
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Sharon Krossa (s.kr...@aberdeen.ac.uk) wrote:

: I have several questions that I hope you all may be able to help me with:

: 1. Do you know of others in the SCA who have this name? If so, how common
: is it?

To the best of my knowledge, no version of this name has ever been
registered in the SCA. I don't know whether anyone is using it without
registration, but I have never encountered it personally. In contrast,
from what I have seen, it appears to have been a not-uncommon name in period.

: 2. What would be the Common Classical Gaelic (ie, literary Gaelic of


: Ireland and Scotland of about 12th to 17th century) spelling of this name?
: Black isn't too clear about when the Gaelic spellings he gives are for. I
: don't need for this to be documentable, as I would register it under the
: Effric spelling, but I would like to know the period Gaelic spelling in
: case my name should ever need to appear in a Gaelic document!

That would depend to some extent on whose opinion you take as to the
name's origin. O'Corrain & Maguire note a couple of 8-9th century women
with the name, but give the Old Irish form as "Affraic" (derived from the
place name "Africa"), which would correspond to a classical spelling of
"Affraig", as best I can tell. Kneen notes is popularity on the Isle of
Man, but makes no effort at etymology (and gives only a standard Manx
spelling, which is for all practical purposes an Anglicized one). If, as
O'Corrain & Maguire imply, the name is recorded in the 9th century as
"Affraic", I think this would throw a fair amount of doubt on Black's
claim of derivation from "Aithbreac". In the 9th century, one would not
expect any reasonable pronunciation of "Aithbreac" to be able to be
spelled "Affraic" -- the two would be significantly different. If,
however, this is OC&M's reconstructed spelling based on significantly
later recordings of Anglicizations such as the "Affrick" noted in Black
for the 8th century abbess, then we're thrown back on which derivation we
choose to believe. I could wish that Black had given better support for
his theory that a statement phrased "The name appears to have been
originally ..." which sounds rather weak in the face of a conflicting
opinion from a source I respect as much as OC&M.

In the end, I don't know whether we can conclude anything firm about a
standard classical spelling.

: 3. From the Book of the Dean of Lismore's spellings, I know how to


: pronounce the name. What I don't know is how this is achieved from the
: Gaelic spellings Black gives. How would 'Aithbrecc' and 'Aithbreac' come
: out sounding like "Eafric"? Does this mean that the 'b' is actually
: lenited?

Yes, and getting a pronunciation like "Affrek" also assumes a period of
the langauge after "th" had become essentially silent.

: Does anyone have a good recommendation for a source that will


: explain Early Irish, or preferably Middle Irish orthography and
: pronunciation rules?

If you find one, let me know!


: 4. From a purely aesthetic point of view, what do y'all think of


: Eafric/Effric as a name? Do you think it's pretty? :-)

I think it's cool.

Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn

Brian M. Scott

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May 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/7/96
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In article <ADAF51E69...@annex-p5.abdn.ac.uk>, s.kr...@aberdeen.ac.uk
(Sharon Krossa) says:

[most snipped]

>Anyway, I have stumbled across "Eafric" or "Effric", which I found in
>Black's _Surnames of Scotland_ (under the heading "Africa").

>1. Do you know of others in the SCA who have this name? If so, how common
>is it?

Tangwystyl's pretty well taken care of the other questions, but I can add
to her answer to this one. There are, so far as I can tell, three people
who have registered a form of the name. Each has registered a different
version: Affrica, Afraig, and Africa. The 'E' forms aren't represented
at all yet (so far as I can tell). I've run into only one person who
uses the name, and I'm pretty sure that she's the registered Affrica. In
short, it's still a pretty unusual name in the SCA.

Talan Gwynek

E. L. Wimett

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May 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/9/96
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hrj...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones) wrote:
>Sharon Krossa (s.kr...@aberdeen.ac.uk) wrote:

>: Does anyone have a good recommendation for a source that will
>: explain Early Irish, or preferably Middle Irish orthography and
>: pronunciation rules?
>
>If you find one, let me know!

I've always found Thurneysen's Old Irish to be very sound with lots of
examples, comparative linguistic evidence and a good grasp of chronology.

Alisoun


Heather Rose Jones

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May 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/9/96
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E. L. Wimett (SILVER...@mail.charleston.net) wrote:

Thurneysen is wonderful for the "classic", highly standardized Old Irish
of the 6th to 8th centuries. He doesn't really speak directly to the much
more variable usages of the Middle Irish period -- which covers the core
of the SCA era.

Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn

Sharon Krossa

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May 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/10/96
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In article <4mgrgg$i...@agate.berkeley.edu>,
hrj...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones) wrote on 5 May 1996:

>That would depend to some extent on whose opinion you take as to the
>name's origin. O'Corrain & Maguire note a couple of 8-9th century women
>with the name, but give the Old Irish form as "Affraic" (derived from the
>place name "Africa"), which would correspond to a classical spelling of
>"Affraig", as best I can tell. Kneen notes is popularity on the Isle of
>Man, but makes no effort at etymology (and gives only a standard Manx
>spelling, which is for all practical purposes an Anglicized one). If, as
>O'Corrain & Maguire imply, the name is recorded in the 9th century as
>"Affraic", I think this would throw a fair amount of doubt on Black's
>claim of derivation from "Aithbreac". In the 9th century, one would not
>expect any reasonable pronunciation of "Aithbreac" to be able to be
>spelled "Affraic" -- the two would be significantly different. If,
>however, this is OC&M's reconstructed spelling based on significantly
>later recordings of Anglicizations such as the "Affrick" noted in Black
>for the 8th century abbess, then we're thrown back on which derivation we
>choose to believe. I could wish that Black had given better support for
>his theory that a statement phrased "The name appears to have been
>originally ..." which sounds rather weak in the face of a conflicting
>opinion from a source I respect as much as OC&M.
>
>In the end, I don't know whether we can conclude anything firm about a
>standard classical spelling.

Thanks Tangwystyl for this analysis -- I think I am inclined to follow OC&M
on this, as I found it very puzzling that the pronuncation, according to
Black's examples, has been pretty constant since the 8th century or so as
Africk[a], which really would not make sense for Aithbreac or anything that
Aithbreac could have come from (least not as I understand it -- but then,
my understanding of Early and Middle Gaelic isn't great!). Also, Black says
"appears to have been originaly ... Afraig" and only has
Aithbreac/Aithbrecc in parentheses afterwords. What is one to make of this?
Black is sometimes quite good with his etymologies(sp?), but other times he
is just off the wall. Unfortunately, it's often hard to tell which is which
with him! Now, I guess I have to recall that book from the library...

>: Does anyone have a good recommendation for a source that will
>: explain Early Irish, or preferably Middle Irish orthography and
>: pronunciation rules?
>
>If you find one, let me know!

I was afraid you'd say that!

In another article <4mnpf9$e...@csu-b.csuohio.edu>,
b.s...@bscott.async.csuohio.edu (Brian M. Scott) wrote on 7 May 1996:

Thanks Talan for this information! I have just discovered the on-line
armoral, and have now had the great fun finding these names in it myself
(seriously large database, that). Now I know how you come up with this kind
of information!

Anyway, as I would regard Affrica, Afraig, Africa, Eafric and Effric as all
being the same name, it looks like there will be four of us now!

-----

Now, having established my first name (if not a certain period Gaelic
spelling of it! ;-), what I need to know is what, if any, rules there are
for how many generations of ones sloinneadh (patronymic) the heralds will
let one register? I plan to construct quite a long sloinneadh (genealogy is
a mundane hobby ;-), if only for my own entertainment -- how much of this
can I register? Perhaps related to this, how much do you think I ought to
use regularly? ;-)

Black's has examples (for men) with four generations: father, grandfather,
great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, though it is possible the
great-great-grandfathers were actually clan associations. (My bias is to
assume they weren't even while Black's is to assume they were.) I have
noticed in the on-line Armoral (I do hope I'm using that word right) that
people seem to have only registered one or two generations (up to
grandfather). Are there any limits? Would I have to document more than two
generation usage for women as opposed to men? Would I have to document
more than four generation usage if I wanted it longer than this? Am I nuts
for even wanting to do so?

Effric (sloinneadh under documentation... ;-)

Sharon Krossa: skr...@svpal.org (permanent)

Heather Rose Jones

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May 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/13/96
to

Sharon Krossa (s.kr...@aberdeen.ac.uk) wrote:

: Now, having established my first name (if not a certain period Gaelic


: spelling of it! ;-), what I need to know is what, if any, rules there are
: for how many generations of ones sloinneadh (patronymic) the heralds will
: let one register? I plan to construct quite a long sloinneadh (genealogy is
: a mundane hobby ;-), if only for my own entertainment -- how much of this
: can I register? Perhaps related to this, how much do you think I ought to
: use regularly? ;-)

My rule of thumb is to think about SCA registration as the equivalent of
the versions of names recorded in ordinary legal contexts, e.g. tax
and other legal records.

: Black's has examples (for men) with four generations: father, grandfather,


: great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, though it is possible the
: great-great-grandfathers were actually clan associations. (My bias is to
: assume they weren't even while Black's is to assume they were.) I have
: noticed in the on-line Armoral (I do hope I'm using that word right) that
: people seem to have only registered one or two generations (up to
: grandfather). Are there any limits? Would I have to document more than two
: generation usage for women as opposed to men? Would I have to document
: more than four generation usage if I wanted it longer than this? Am I nuts
: for even wanting to do so?

As I say, I would tend to follow the name structures found in the sort of
records Black uses, rather than a genealogical format. (Although you
certainly should know your genealogy! One never knows when something
might arise requiring you to prove kinship, after all.) My experience
with Welsh records is that four generations is an absolute maximum.
Professor Gerald Morgan tells me that the use of a name with four
generations was specifically a claim to gentry status in Wales, although
this would seem to hold true more for the 16-17th centuries, which tend
to be his area of focus. The Scottish records may have a simlar formula
going on where the four-generation set has a particular social or legal
significance.

Another aspect you want to consider is that the registered form of your
name is often treated as the "full formal name" for court and other
purposes. Many people stick to one or two patronyms simply to take pity
on their friends and the occasional herald who has to announce the thing.
In formal circumstances, reciting an excessively long formal name can
turn what should have been a solemn occasion into a joke.

Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn

DHous39726

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May 13, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/13/96
to

My apologies for responding with very limited knowledge. I took some
lessons in the tongue from an Irish priest of the SMA Fathers and
subsequently had tapes form Cumann na gaeliga im Boston.

The problem of the spelling relates to its pronouciation, specifically
"aspiration".
In Gaelic, consonants are not pronounced depending on where they appear in
a phrase and if they follow certain vowels. Example: the word for
'mermaid' is 'magdean mara' and pronouced about as it looks however 'of
the mermaid' would be rendered '"mhagdean mhara' and pronouced in english
vagdean vara.

My point is that its not unreasonable to find the name pronouced with a f
or v sound.

I hope that you find this useful.

David Houston
(Dahi Houston de Baldruim, Esq).

Brian M. Scott

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May 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM5/14/96
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In article <ADB94B619...@annex-p6.abdn.ac.uk>, s.kr...@aberdeen.ac.uk
(Sharon Krossa) says:

>Now, having established my first name (if not a certain period Gaelic
>spelling of it! ;-), what I need to know is what, if any, rules there are
>for how many generations of ones sloinneadh (patronymic) the heralds will
>let one register? I plan to construct quite a long sloinneadh (genealogy is
>a mundane hobby ;-), if only for my own entertainment -- how much of this
>can I register? Perhaps related to this, how much do you think I ought to
>use regularly? ;-)

On the 9/92 LoAR we registered 'Iestyn ap Cadfael ap Ianto ap Danno ap
Richard ap Owen ap Rhys o'r Cwm' on the basis of a Welsh gravestone
bearing the name 'John ap Robert ap Porth ap Daffyd ap Gruffydd ap Daffyd
Vaughan ap Blethyn ap Gruffydd ap Meredith ap Jerworth ap Llewellyn ap
Jerom ap Heilin ap Cowryd ap Cadwan ap Alawgwa ap Cadell of Powys';
this man was born in 1547. Laurel noted that '[t]he gravestone is as
much a legal "document" as a birth record'.

This would seem to indicate that what's important is not so much the
length per se as the evidence for it. You would know better than I,
but my impression is that the long genealogical names in official records
are mostly from the 16th (and I think also the 17th) c. My guess is
that women's names are less likely to have been recorded at such length,
though we have been known to impose a certain amount of modern sexual
egalitarianism on such period distinctions. From what I've seen it
would be hard to justify more than five generations (counting Effric
herself), and I'd probably settle for registering three. I suspect that
it would be inconvenient to use more than two (name + patronymic) on
a regular basis.

(*You're* asking *us*?!)

Talan Gwynek

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