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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 names are Shakespeare’s heroines.

The names of Shakespeare’s heroines are frequently requested as SCA names.  Many of these names are easily found in period Europe.

Beatrice is found in various spellings throughout Europe, including England, France and Italy, through the later parts of period. [1], [3]

Bianca is found as a female name in Italy.[2]

Celia likewise is a female Italian name.[3]

Cordelia is found in sixteenth and early seventeenth century England.[4]

Hero is found as a female given name in England, the Netherlands and Germany.[5]

Juliet is found in early seventeenth century England.[6]

Olivia is found in England and Italy.[2], [7]

Portia can be found as the name of real women in sixteenth century Italy.[2]

We very recently found evidence of Miranda as a female given name in Spain.[8]

We are still researching whether a number of other Shakespearean names are documentable.  As more and more period books and documents become generally available through digitization, we continue to uncover evidence for names we previously thought “undocumentable.”

[1] “English Names found in Brass Enscriptions” by Janell K. Lovelace (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/brasses/women.html)

[2]  “Names from Sixteenth Century Venice” by Julia Smith (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/juliana/16thcvenice.html).

[3] “Feminine Given Names from the Online Catasto of Florence of 1427” by Josh Mittleman (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/arval/catasto/)

[4] “Something Rich and Strange: “Undocumentable” Names >From The IGI Parish Records” by Alys Mackyntoich (http://heraldry.sca.org/names/SomethingRichandStrange.html).

[5]  “England Marriages, 1538–1973 ,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NJ9C-GYB), Hero Olde and Wilmott, 17 Jan 1603; citing Gwinear, Cornwall, England, Batch: M02571-3; “Netherlands, Marriages, 1565-1892,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FN7W-NTG : accessed 22 Apr 2014), Hero Cornelisz and Jannetje Alberts, 08 May 1611; citing Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands, Batch: M01224-8

[6]  “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V5LP-V4L), Juliet Mordent, 15 Jul 1621; citing SAINT BOTOLPH BISHOPSGATE, LONDON, LONDON, ENGLAND, Batch: P00161-1

[7] “England Marriages, 1538–1973 ,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V52F-1F9), Ricardus Howarde and Olivia Hille, 11 Jun 1587; citing High Ham, Somerset, England; Batch: M01936-2

[8] “España, defunciones, 1600-1920,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FNMS-RL8), Miranda Miguel, 10 Feb 1642; citing Murcia, Murcia, Spain; Batch:  B86284-3