It is our charter to register historically-plausible names and devices. While we work within a pretty broad envelope (for example, in how much time separates name elements), we're not generally able to register names that are pure fantasy or otherwise go beyond the structure and content of attested names found in period sources, nor can we register modern designs as armory.
We encourage submitters make use of the resources available in the Society rather than go it alone. An excellent place to start is by emailing Æstel Herald.
Step through the tabs below to learn about the registration process.
Administrative actions: Actions such as transferring a badge to another person, granting permission to conflict, or releasing an item, are not submissions, and therefore do not use a form and do not require fees. For recommended form letters covering a variety of situations, see Appendix D of the Laurel Administrative Handbook.
When submitting a letter, please date and sign in ink with your modern name, and send to the same address you'd normally send a submission to.
Our understanding of period practice, and how we adapt the needs of the Society to that model, changes over time. If something was returned by Laurel years ago, there's a chance that it may be registerable now. However, the fact of prior registration doesn't imply that it's registerable by the general public in the present.
As a result, myths abound. That "the heralds" told you something could not be done does not mean they spoke correctly, then or now. Even if an experienced herald says it, they can be mistaken. It is best never to presume an answer, but to verify against current practice.
There are some key points to keep in mind when researching and documenting names and devices.
If you have any questions, contact the Æstel Herald.
Local heralds: We encourage you to provide what consultation you may to those who wish it. Please call upon the College to assist you as needed: we want to help, even if the help is limited to email discussions with you about projects you're assisting with.
Do keep in mind, however, that you are not authorized to accept submissions on behalf of the kingdom, except in the context of a full-service consult table. There are special requirements, including a good history of reporting, which are considered when making this dispensation.
If you are interested in hosting a consult table without accepting submissions (submitters are sent home with completed forms), there are no restrictions.
For more information, please read the consultation table policy.
- Laurel website, Armory section
- Academy of St Gabriel, Medieval Heraldry Archive
- Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry (illustrated dictionary of a number of charges)
Book of Traceable Heraldic Art (large collection of heraldic charges from period and SCA artists, in various formats including SVG)
- Heraldry for Non-Heralds (a primer)
At some point in the consultation, you'll need to start filling out the forms for your submission and eventually create what is referred to as a submission packet, which consists of a submission form, plus any supporting documentation. Below, you'll find information on how to create a well-organized, complete packet for your submission, as well as hints about what makes for good documentation. You'll also find information about submission fees and the mailing address for your region.
Persona stories, while they may be useful in guiding consultation, don't satisfy documentation requirements. Save yourself the time and postage.
Likewise, don't send essays and books. We work best with brief summaries and photocopies of the relevant page. Sending large amounts of documentation makes it more likely that the documentation will not be read by the very commenters who work to help your submission along.
Additionally, there are some books considered "standard references" by the SCA College of Arms for which no photocopies are necessary. The other aspects of citation are still required: which source, its URL (if online), the header spellings, page numbers, and pertinent information including all spellings and dates of the submitted name elements. A list of these sources is Appendix H of the Laurel Administrative Handbook.
Given a choice between a source which requires photocopies and one which does not, prefer the one that does not. You'll save time and effort by using a source that is both common and trusted.
- Personal names and personal household names: An Tir Name Submission Form
- Branch names, orders and awards, heraldic titles, guilds, etc: An Tir Branch Name Submission Form.
Submissions for branches should also refer to Branch Requirements for Heraldic Submissions.
A name packet consists of:
Names submitted must have some kind of documentation. If you need help with documentation, contact the Æstel Herald.
Good name documentation will note, for each name element, the:
Some sources have an implicit date and culture. For example, our most useful sources for Viking-era Scandinavian names are generally derived from the Landnámabok, which implies both date and location. Other similar sources include dated tax rolls for, say, Yorkshire, census records, and so forth. Sources that span either regions or time will need to note the region and time for individual records.
Example: for Oddr Þiálfason, a 9th century Icelandic masculine name
Oddr: Gierr-Bassi p13 sn Oddr, masculine name. Oddr is the OW Norse form of Odd.
Þiálfi: Nordisk Runnamnslexikon sn Þialfi, masculine name, showing OW Norse form is Þiálfi. Genitive form in NR is shown as Þiálfa.
Þiálfason: patronymic form per GB
Modern Name Allowance: If you are using an element from your modern name in your SCA name, it must be in the same 'place' in the names. For example, if you are legally named 'John Richards', you can use your modern name to justify the use of 'Richards' in 'Stephan Richards', but not 'Richard' in 'Richard Smith'.
If you are going to use an element from your modern name, make a photocopy of your birth certificate or driver's license and include that with your documentation. Please remember to black out important numbers on personal identification, such as your driver's license number or SSN. We just need to see the full name on the ID, and the type of ID and the issuing authority.
- Personal devices and Branch arms: An Tir Device Submission Form
- All other armory (personal, household, branch and guild badges, etc): An Tir Badge Submission Form
- Armigerous groups (households and guilds which the Crown has granted arms to): An Tir Badge Submission Form
Submissions for branches should also refer to Branch Requirements for Heraldic Submissions.
A device or badge packet consists of:
Documentation may be required for armory submissions:
While you must submit your device on the shield-shaped form, and any other armory on the square-shaped form, you may display your device or badge on any appropriate shape once it is registered. Thus, you submit your arms on a shield shape even though you wish to fight with them painted on a round shield, and you submit your badge as a square shape instead of the merit-badge-like circle you see commonly displayed. If you are submitting a fieldless badge, use the square shape, and check the box for a fieldless badge, so we can be assured that you intend a fieldless badge, rather than a badge on a white or silver field.
When drawing the submission on the form, you will be producing a "coloring book" version -- just line art -- and a fully-colored version. Include internal details, though avoid excessive detail that may muddy up the image when colored in. Also, don't fill in solid blocks of color, though you may fill in solid areas of black at your option.
When making the colored forms, for the best results, be careful about what you use to color in the emblazons. Particularly during the warm months, some inks can shift during mailing. Wax media can and will melt, which can destroy a submission. Additionally, some inks can easily go over-dark if over-worked. For this reason:
- good watercolor markers, like Crayola Classic basic colors
- bold, strong colors: blue-blue, not sky blue, not midnight blue; red, not pink; yellow, not orange. While some leeway is given for using multiple hues of the same color for artistic effect (eg, shading or other light detail work), be careful that everything remains unambiguous.
- lighter strokes for darker colors: saturating the paper with ink tends to darken colors too much, turning blue, purple, and brown into black
- the "to be associated with" field at top. Individuals may associate armory with alternate names or household names, provided they are registered. Branches may associate with generic purposes such as "Populace" or "Bards" or "War unit" (things all branches may claim to have), or to registered names belonging to the branch such as "Order of the Goutte de Sang".
DO NOT USE:
- colored pencils
- metallic inks/paints/leaf
- color printers
All submissions require fees, with the exception of resubmissions made within eighteen months of the date on the return letter, which require no fees.
Example: A change of name, a new device, and two badge resubmissions -- one from a return 2 months ago, the other from a return 2 years ago -- are 4 actions. One of the badge resubmissions was made less than eighteen months after its return, and is therefore not charged a fee. That leaves 3 actions chargeable, for a total of $30.
Canada residents: For information on fees, please read the Tir Rígh instructions.
US residents: All submissions received by Lions Blood Herald are USD $10.00 per action, payable to College of Heralds -- An Tir.
- feel free to pay multiple fees with a single check or money order
- note which submission(s) are covered by the fees, such as "Alice's badge & Olaf's name"
- send cash: Fees must be paid by check or money order.
- ask a herald at a consult table to convert your cash into a check: they are not allowed to do so. You may, however, ask someone not associated with a consult table.
Once you have assembled the packets for each action, you should send them, including all required copies directly to the address listed below. While it is a good idea to show them to your local herald (who can get a copy for their records), local heralds are not authorized to accept submissions on behalf of the kingdom. Submissions should never be given to the local herald for submission, nor should they be mailed to Black Lion or anyone else.
- keep submission forms and documentation for a single item together, rather than intermixed with those of other items in the same envelope
- keep copies of what you send: this allows us to re-create the submission package in case of problems in the post office.
- feel free to submit multiple submissions in the same envelope, as you wish
- attach paper clips or staples: we have enough paper clips, and staples are a nuisance to the clerk.
- hand to your branch herald and expect they will take care of things: they are not authorized to accept submissions
- drop off a packet at a consult table except to the specifically-authorized herald responsible
- send with any signature requirement: you risk return by the post office if the submission remains in the box more than a couple days
Canada residents: You will be sending your submissions to Red Flame Herald. Please read the Tir Rígh instructions.
US residents: Send your submissions to: An Tir College of Heralds, PO Box 1064, Corvallis OR 97339
Your submission will go through two levels of processing: Kingdom and Laurel. In the normal case where a submission works its way through without issues, a submission received by Lions Blood in January will eventually appear on a Letter of Acceptances and Returns around September. Most of the time is set aside to provide commenters sufficient time to discuss the submission, root out problems, and research options. The last couple months are spent proofreading the decision of Laurel, to ensure the decision is correct and well-reasoned, and that typos (in particular, in names and blazon) are corrected before publication.
Month Jan Paperwork received by Kingdom Feb Submissions published for Kingdom commentary Mar Commentary Apr Kingdom decision made. Submissions published for Laurel commentary. May Commentary Jun ... Jul Laurel decision Aug Proofreading Sep Decision published in a LOAR.
Any comments people make cannot be construed as decisions. Decisions about submissions are published by the Laurel office and the kingdom submissions herald, and based on discussion with a number of members of the College of Arms across the Society. Experienced heralds know to couch their discussions carefully. Those who are in a decision-making capacity will try very hard to avoid answering the question at all. Questions of offense, obtrusive modernity, or whether a submission presumes on names or arms we should protect, are answerable only by the Laurel office. These are not in themselves reasons for return by the kingdom submissions herald, though they may provide the opinion of commenters at kingdom.
After a submission has spent sufficient time to have fair and accurate commentary, a decision is made about how to proceed. At some point after the decision is made at Kingdom, or after Laurel publishes a Letter of Acceptances and Returns (about 6-8 weeks after decisions meetings at Laurel), Kingdom will attempt to notify you of the decision and any relevant reasons for return, or even occasional complements from Laurel such as "Nice 14th century Venetian name!".
If an item is accepted, it is yours to use until such time as you choose to release it. If a modification was made to the name, and you wish to have an alternative modification considered, a timely Request for Reconsideration can be made. Contact the submissions staff for details.
If an item is returned, it is important to understand the reason for return. You are strongly encouraged to consult with the College submissions staff to interpret the return, which will almost always be couched in technicalities intended for the use of a consulting herald. Citations of our standards, references to precedent, and the like provide a consulting herald with information about the nature of the discussion that took place, and what needs to be addressed.
At this point there are a couple options:
Resubmit with an adjustment to art or grammar While Kingdom can (with permission) make small adjustments to artwork, it cannot be changed at Laurel. Names can be adjusted within reason, but sometimes the changes are deemed too far from the original submission or the expressed intent of the submitter to be made in-process.
Resubmit with a complete redesign Occasionally, the original submission simply is infeasible at its core, and needs to be rethought at a deeper level. This is often seen when encountering conflicts with real-world armory and names, or other protected items where the owner cannot be contacted.
A resubmission with a change precludes appeal of the decision that led to the return.
There is no charge for a timely resubmission, within 18 months of the decision.