You’ve done the research, made the copies, and handed over the forms and the fees to your herald. Now what? Why does it take so long to hear back?
First, your submissions are taken to the monthly meeting of Caid’s College of Heralds. In every kingdom, the heralds have a method of reviewing submissions, checking for conflicts, making sure the documentation is adequate, and otherwise trying to ensure that everything is registerable. In some kingdoms (notably the geographically wide-spread ones), this process is done in a series of mailings to the members of the kingdom’s College of Heralds, and can take several months. In Caid, we’re fortunate to have most of our heralds close enough together that we meet monthly to do this in person. These meetings are open to anyone with an interest in the subject; information can be found in the Crown Prints or by contacting the Crescent Principal Herald.
If a submission is found to have significant problems (such as a lack of documentation, conflicts, or a significant problem with the artwork), the kingdom returns it to the submitter with instructions on what needs to be done to make it registerable. All of the submissions that have been “approved and sent to Laurel” are packaged up along with a Letter of Intent (the “LoI”), a listing of all the submissions in the packet along with any relevant commentary, and sent to the Laurel Sovereign of Arms. This process generally takes 1 to 3 weeks, depending on Dolphin’s mundane obligations.
At the Laurel level the LoI is posted on the Online System for Commentary and Response (OSCAR), which is found at oscar.sca.org. (The LoI may be read by anyone, see the kingdom OSCAR policy here on how to request permission to read the commentary and to make comments). There is a two month period after the LoI is posted for heralds from throughout the Known World to provide commentary. They make whatever commentary they feel is important, noting problem or providing additional documentation to support a submission, as well as responding to comments from other heralds.
The third month after the LoI is posted, the submissions are considered by Pelican (for name decisions) and Wreath (for armory decisions). The commentary on each submission is reviewed and a decision made to either registered the item or return it (with an explanation). In a few cases, the item must be pended for further discussion within the College of Arms. The name and armory decisions must be merged into a single Letter of Acceptances and Returns (LoAR) for the month. The LoAR then goes through at least two proofreading passes (involving about 10-15 heralds) to try and ensure no mistakes are made and that the letter is readable. This generally takes 2 to 3 months, depending on the mundane schedules of Pelican and Wreath. Once the LoAR is released it is published through various subscription lists and posted online HERE . Once the LoAR has been received, one of Caid’s staff heralds will send an e-mail notification to individual submitters, letting them know of Pelican and Wreath’s decisions. Please respond to this e-mail notification so that the College knows that you received the notification.
Example timeline: A name is considered at the January College of Heralds meeting and forwarded to Laurel. It appears on the February LoI. March and April provide the commentary period. The name is then considered at the May Pelican meeting. The LoAR is created and is sent for proofreading. The May LoAR is then published about August and a notification is sent to the submitter via e-mail. If the name was accepted it will appear in the October or November Crown Prints (depending on publishing schedule of both the CP and the LoAR). In general you should hear about a Laurel-level decision about 8 months after the item is submitted; however, everyone involved in the process is a volunteer. Sometime Real Life is an issue and the process takes a little longer; sometimes all the schedules align and it takes a little less time.
If the name had been returned by Dolphin, you should have received notification of that in January or February. If you have a question about your submission status, contact Dolphin or check the meeting minutes.
Once your name and armory are registered with the SCA College of Arms, they are registered to you forever. If you wish to have your registered items released or transferred to another person upon your death (physical, not persona), you may submit a Heraldic Will stating this to Laurel. A suggested form for a heraldic will can be found in the forms section.
Sometime in the future, someone may want to register a name or armorial design that is similar enough to yours to be in conflict. The usual first line of contact for someone seeking permission to conflict is the kingdom principal herald. Therefore, it is appreciated that those with registered names and armory keep their contact information in the College files current. Even if you stop playing, it is nice to have some way to get in touch with you. This is not a requirement, of course, but something to consider.