The site for all Scots, Scots descendants and Scotophiles, right across the world     

A light-hearted e-magazine with facts, figures, folklore, photographs; with lots of wee bits  of general info about Scotland - and some big bits. A site for folk to read, browse and, if you like - contribute to.


In WEE BITS, in The Mag., thre's an article on the correct colour of Blue for The Saltire WELCOME to Find it in Scotland. The site's navigation menu Main Headings are down the left-hand panel. Click on these to see what's in each one. Some sections have a LOT in them.
~ Happy Browsing ~

~ Scottish Surnames & Forenames ~ 

 Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me!  When we think of Scottish names, in the main, we think of surnames like MacDonald, MacTaggart, Bruce, Ferguson, etc., and forenames such as Gregor, Angus, Duncan, Malcolm (which are often surnames, also). BUT, there are many other Scottish names not linked to the Clans and Families of Scotland, some carried up from southern climes, some derived from trades and occupations, some - weel, some are difficult to place.

[Arbuckle; noted in Lanarkshire - 15th century. Bertram; - a 13th century west Fife name. Kirkby; 13th century Berwickshire]

...Which is whence this wee section arises. Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me!

It'll be an ongoing and increasing list ( we don't like lists, generally, as they tend to be boring; in this case, however, it's difficult to present names in any other way). We will try to avoid being boring however, by dropping in interesting facts wherever we can find them. And, though we are not going to start at letter 'A' and work through the alphabet, we will put these in alphabetical order, for ease of finding.

So, have a look; if what you want is not herein, please ask us to add your name(s) of choice, and we will do what we can...

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Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me!  BAILLIE... (surname)

Derived from the Old French Bailli - a bailiff; a Bailie in Scotland was the equivalent to an Alderman in England. First recorded in Lothian in the early 14th century.

The Baillies, for centuries, were Border Lairds, and the name has always been most common in South Scotland.

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The Whats New section will tell you - whats new in the Mag.  CATHAL... (forename)

Cathal is an old Celtic name meaning 'mighty in battle'. From this useage came MacCathail - son of Cathal - giving rise to surnames such as MacCall, Macall, Mackall.

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Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me!  COCKBURN...  (surname)

Early records show Cockburn used to indicate place, in the sense that there was a person called "John de Kockburn" in Collessie, Fife in the mid-13th century. It refers to a place in Berwickshire, and is now pronounced "Co'burn". Most comon in Lothian & Borders.

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The Whats New section will tell you - whats new in the Mag.  EWAN... (forename)

The name EWAN is the modern spelling in favour, of the name also occurring as OWEN, EUAN, EWEN,EUEN, and EWHEN.  They all derive from the gaelic EOGHANN, which was linked to the Latin EUGENIUS (well-born) - hence the modern EUGENE - also still quite common in Scotland.

No-one is quite sure where the name EOGHANN came from; it appears in Celtic history, and legend, and it is the root for surnames like MacEwen, MacEwan, MacEwing.

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Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me!  LAIDLAW... (surname)

Believed to derive from "Lodelawe". The Ragman Roll of 1296 records one 'William of Lodelaw' as being an Ettrick Laird obliged to do homage to Edward I of England. It was a place-name, but the origin is not established. Laidlaw became a common surname in the eastern Borders, recorded in Peebles, Selkirk and Lauder, amongst others, in the 17th century. 

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The Whats New section will tell you - whats new in the Mag. Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me! MACBEATH/ MACBETH... (forename and surname)

This is not a Clan name, but a Family name. Originally, it was a Royal Forename, from mac beatha (son of life), and came to be understood as "one of the chosen" or " religious one".

Macbeath is the commoner spelling of the surname, but from this, pronouncing the 'B' as 'V' came MacVie, MacVey, Macveigh. It was a common surname throughout Gaeldom, found often in Ireland.

It even found its way into foreign parts, being anglicised to Beaton.

[The well-known Macbeth (1005-1057) was mormaer (thane) of Moray, and became King of Scots after killing King Duncan in battle; Shakespeare made it up!]

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Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me!  THOMSON... (surname)

THOMSON - 'son of Thom' - used to be the third most common name in Scotland, and only recently dropped till it now lies fifth. The Thomsons were predominately from the Lowlands, with the earliest record in Ayrshire of a John Thomson, in 1318. The name appears frequently in records all over the Lowlands.

"Thomson" is a polygenetic name ; it has many points of origin; it doesn't belong to any particular area of Scotland; and its bearers do not claim descent from a common ancestor.

There is a Gaelic equivalent, in MacThomas, and we have other derivatives, such as "MacTavish" (son of Tammas) and "MacCombie" ( son of Tommy).

Famous "Thomsons" include:
  - Alexander ' Greek ' Thomson - Architect
  - Joseph Thomson - Scottish explorer
  - Thomas Thomson - Scottish chemist
  - William Thomson - Lord Kelvin
  - John Thomson of Duddingston - Landscape painter


(ThomPson is mainly from the North of England; the medial 'P' is a glide consonant typical of English phonology.)  {information from 'Scottish Surnames' by David Dorward; mercatpress}

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Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me! WALTER/ WALTERS... (surname, leading to WATSON)

Not originally a scottish name, but became the basis for several other scottish names. WALTER is a germanic forename, brought over here by the Normans; they tended to miss out the letter "L"  in speech, giving rise to the abbreviated "Wat".

There is record of a Patrick Walter in Kirkcudbright in 1376, but little of any Walters thereafter. However, "Walterson" is found in Orkney & Shetland, and this gave rise to "Watsoun" and "Watson", both of which appear in scottish records in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

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