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This 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 Moira and Maura.

Moira is one of those “Irish” names popularly believed to be medieval or Renaissance, but which is currently undocumentable in that form.  The spellings we can document in Anglicized Irish (not Gaelic) are Moire[1] or Mora[2].  Neither is pronounced like the modern “Moy-ra.”  Moire is most likely pronounced as either “Moor” or “Moora.”  In Gaelic, the closest name is Máire[3], pronounced roughly “May-ra” or “Ma-ra.”

Many also think of Maura as an “Irish” name, but in fact it appears in period in Occitan French[4], Italian[5], and Spanish[6].

[1]  Moire is dated to 1601 in “Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents” by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnglicizedIrish/Feminine.shtml)

[2]  Mora is dated to 1541 in “Names Found in Anglicized Irish Documents” by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnglicizedIrish/Feminine.shtml)

[3] Máire is dated between 1396 and 1601 in “Index of Names in Irish Annals” by Mari ingen Briain meic Donnchada (http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/Feminine/Maire.shtml)

[4]  “Names from Fourteenth Century Foix” by Cateline de la Mor (http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/cateline/foix.html)
[5]  “Late Period Italian Women’s Names” by Juliana de Luna (http://medievalscotland.org/jes/Nuns/Florence.shtml).

[6]  Maura Yespes Setien; Female; Christening; 07 May 1598; Santa Maria Magdalena, Valladolid, Spain; Batch: C04657-9 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F5Q5-Z68)