Scottish Names... a light-hearted look at history and
origins of Scottish First Names, Surnames and Place Names...
...and occasionally, a name that's nane o' thae at a'.
"..An legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned, Like taps o' THRISSLE." (To a Haggis)
Welcome to our section on Scottish Names – First Names, Surnames
and Place Names. a mixtur-maxtur o' how they cam' aboot & whaur they cam' frae, their meanings, and
stories concerning - in no particular order.
Most people, whatever their nationality,
have names derived from somewhere or something – very few, we believe, are just invented! And at some point in our
lives we want to find out where we have come from. But before going down the whole
genealogical route, a start would be to see where our names originate from.
In our experience, many English names,
for example, originate from the job that the forefathers did: Baker, Butcher, Chandler, Killick, Farmer, Lorimer,
Fisher … you get the idea.
The Celtic nations seem to be a little different – many of
their names coming from places, or family groupings such as Clans – but the origins can often be either obscure, or
have a number of explanations of the derivation (sometimes leading to acrimonious exchanges - or a wee stramash -
between the different advocates)...
…for Example:- FRASER (Frazer) Motto -
"All my Hope is in God"; and for Fraser of Lovat - "Je suis prest" (I am ready) ...
...possible derivations: 1) the first record of the name
pops up in the mid-twelfth century as "de Fresel", "de Friselle", and "de Freseliere", It appears to be a Norman
name, but the derivation of this is unknown. 2) a medieval scribe could have miscopied and/or corrupted a Gaelic
name beyond recognition. 3) The name derives from the French word for the fruit Strawberry - "fraise"; the fruit
appears in the Coat of Arms. 4) the name came from a Frenchman called Pierre Fraser, Seigneur de Troile, who
arrived in Scotland in the late 8th century AD.
on occasion the derivation can be simple: for example
the n ame Scott literally means “he who is Scottish” or
somebody who speaks Gaelic. To quote - “As Scotus as much meant a Gael as Flandrensis meant a Fleming or Galweiensis a native of
Galloway, the great Border clan of Scott must have been settlers from beyond the
Forth.” The Scotts in their early days gained stature through being “well
married” and so acquired vast lands. In time, the Scott clan became one of the most powerful Border clans. By
the end of the fifteenth century it was reckoned that the Chief of the Scott clan could easily rally together
“1000 spears” or 1000 men if need be to go to war.
The name Scott is the most popular Scottish
name in America: it's the 34th most common name overall throughout the country - approximately 470,000 people have
the last name Scott.
Now, we're not
going to bore you with the long list of an A-Z of names, along with their history; rather, we're going to
choose particular names and places and give a history of their origins, particularly where there are any
interesting facts we can glean.
remember – if you want a particular name or place included in this
section - e-mail us with your request; you'll get us here: