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Scottish Surnames and Forename (given name) Patterns

On this page, you will find information concerning Scottish Forenames and Surnames that you should find useful. Some are subscription sites, others are free. Do it yourself, or have us conduct a search for you by calling or submitting a request for a Free Estimate. If you find any invalid links, please let us know.

Scots often named children by the following simple rules:

  • 1st son named after father's father
  • 2nd son named after mother's father
  • 3rd son named after father
  • 1st daughter named after mother's mother
  • 2nd daughter named after father's mother
  • 3rd daughter named after mother

Some families strictly applied these rules, while others merely played with the idea, and still others, simply ignored the convention completely.

However, knowing the rules can still be helpful in determining a correct entry when facing a lack of information in the OPR’s. It can also present confusion when eight children of the same family in a small parish name follow the convention, since each generation retains the same set of forenames.

The use of traditional naming patterns followed emigrants to America, but has gradually declined, and while some families still follow the rules, it is no longer generally accepted

Clans of Scotland with a List of Septs and Dependents

Scottish Forenames updated annually by the General Register House

Surnames in Scotland over the last 140 years from the General Register House

Try the FREE surname search at the Origins Network and trace your origins online Free Surname search at Origins

Introduction to the Derivation of Scottish Surnames by William L. Kirk, Jr., Ph.D.

Surnames & Naming Patterns in Scottish Culture

Medieval Scottish Names by Sharon L. Krossa

Surname Helper on RootsWeb surname helperSearch for websites with particular surnames

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Last updated: 12 Jul 2010