quill pen, scroll, candleThis is a recurring series by Mistress Alys Mackyntoich on whether certain names currently can be documented to period based on existing evidence..  There are a lot of names that people think are medieval, but actually aren’t, and others which people think are modern, but in fact are found in the SCA’s period.  If you would like to suggest a name, send an email to the Gazette.

Today’s name is Merida.

With the popularity of the movie Brave, the heralds have received a couple of requests for the given name “Merida.” Regardless of how the movie uses it, it is not a Scottish name. However, it can be documented to period other ways.

Merida appears as an English given name dated to 1628, which is within our “gray period” and acceptable as documentation. It is not clear whether this name was male or female.[1]

It can also be documented as an English surname. William Merida was married in England in 1580.[2] Since there is a documented pattern of using sixteenth century English surnames as given names, this evidence also supports “Merida” as a given name.

If you have a submitter who is dead set on a Scottish persona named “Merida,” never fear. Because “Merida” is documented as an English name, it can be combined with a Scottish surname, within certain limits. Use the “Ask a Herald” page off the East Kingdom website if you or someone you know would like to use this name and would like more details.

[1] “England Marriages, 1538–1973 “, index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NVJS-6ZW), Merida Daves and Joane Kinge, 29 Dec 1628; Batch: M05807-2

[2] “England Marriages, 1538–1973 “, index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NJQW-K3N), William Merida and Elzabeth Yvens, 12 Sep 1580; Batch: M00080-4