An Order of Precedence Sorter
by Lord Dagonell Collingwood

When I was Garnet Herald, I met a number of local pursuivants who had written their group's order of precedence into a computer file for ease of making updates. This is fine for as long as that gentle holds the office. However, when the office changes over, the new pursuivant usually has to re-type the entire list because their computer isn't compatable with their predecessor's computer, if they have one at all! There IS a better way.

You will need: a pack of 4x6 index cards, preferably ruled, if you have a large group, two packs; a file box for same, available at most office supply stores; a hole punch, ditto; a small dowel, a chopstick will do; and a pen.

Decide how many levels of precedence you need to keep track of. In most groups, adjacent levels each having a few members may be lumped together. I recommend six levels; Peerages, Baronages & Grants, Orders of Merit, Awards of Arms, Orders of Honor, and Baronial Awards. Punch six holes, evenly spaced, across the top of all the cards. The holes should be in identical locations on each card, preferably no more than twice their own diameter from the top edge. If you truly need more than six levels and they don't all fit easily across the top, continue down the right-hand side. The topmost card is your master key. Label its holes.

Each person in your group gets assigned to one index card. Write their SCA name across the topmost complete line. Under their name, write their list of awards. Each award should have it's own line. Remember to include the date they received it. You can also include additional information on the back of the card if you wish, e.g. legal name, mailing address, registered heraldry, offices held, etc. For each award listed, punch out the paper between the appropriate hole and the top of the card. That hole should now be a notch.

Now the cards have to be put in precedence order. This is also the first test to see if you've done everything correctly. Straighten out the cards so that they all face the same way and the holes line up. Put the master key in front. Slide the dowel through the first hole, Peerages until it emerges from the back of the deck. Lift the dowel straight up. The cards of those gentles in your group who have peerages will remain on the table while the rest of the cards are lifted by the dowel.

Remove the deck from the dowel and lay it aside. Sort the cards on the table into their precise order of precedence and place them in the file box. Take the remainder of the deck and repeat the process with subsequent levels. If the file box comes with divider cards, you may wish to place the dividers between levels to aid future sortings. Place the master key in the front of the file box.

When any member of your group receives an award, remove their card from the file box. Write down the award received and the date. Punch the appropriate hole into a notch if they don't have an equivalent award. If the new award increases their precedence, place their card in the appropriate location, otherwise return it to its original place. Please note, an award equal in precedence to something you already have, does NOT increase your precedence.

The following is a list of the awards for the Kingdom of AEthelmearc which fall within each level, to help determine precise precedence. If two individuals have awards of the same precedence, the older award is listed first. Awards on the same line are considered equal.

[1] Court Baronies technically belong here, with the Kingdom Orders of Merit. However, most of them are awarded along with a Grant of Arms which would place them just below the Orders of High Merit. If this is the case, be sure to notch both the second and third level holes.