Auch2000's - Family Names and Clans/Scotland the Brave

Family Names and Clans
Written and Researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski, B.F.A.

Music playing is called "Amazing Grace"
from Bagpipes At Best

The Arms of the City Of Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland was founded circa 500 AD. A small band of migrants was lead by the three sons of Erc (son of Eochaidh). The sons were Angus, Fergus, and Loarn. They were of the race of Conaire, the royal dynasty of Munster in Ireland. The three brothers and their 150 followers founded the kingdom of Dalriada, that was named after the Irish region of Dalriada from which they came, and this kingdom is now part of the County Antrim. Legend tells use that the family of Angus settled in Islay. The family of Fergus settled in Knapdale and Kintyre. While the family of Loarn settled in the northern section of Argyll. Irish monasteries were founded in western Scotland, most notably St. Columba's monastery, which was set up in 563 on the island of Iona. Iona later became the burial place of kings.

Scottish Surnames

In Scotland, surnames were acquired:

(a) by taking the father's Christian name and using it as a patronymic (e.g. Davidson, MacGregor)

(b) by taking the name of one's occupation (e.g. Smith or its Gaelic equivalent Gow)

(c) by taking a locality name (e.g. Ross, Sutherland, Wood, Hill)

(d) by receiving a nickname which sticks (e.g. Brown, Little, Young)

(e) someone who adopts an existing surname because they fancy it.

Lowland Names: Thomson, Robertson, Wilson, Anderson, Johnstone, Paterson, Watson, and Henderson.

Pet form of surnames: Robbie for Robinson/Robson or Dickie for Dixon/Dickens.

Scottish names from English Nobles: Balliol, Bethune (Beaton), Bruce, Colville, Fraser, Hay, Melville and Montgomery.

English/Scottish names: Murray, Ross, Forbes, Douglas, Graham and Gourlay.

My Surnames Are:

Bartholomew ... Clark ... ... Dall ... Dow ... Fairfull ... Farquharson ... Gourlay ... Grieve... Kidd ... Malcolm ... Mathieson ... McFarlane ... Moir ...Moyes ... Murdock ... Oglivie (Findlater) ... (Findlater) ... Ogilvie (Airlie) ... (Parish of Airlie) ... Shee ... Watt ... Wilson (Gunn)


Clans emerged as a product of political turmoil and social opportunity. Men of the warrior clan and their kindred, offered protection to many families, either willingly or by force. These men were called Celts, Gaels, and Norsemen.

Clanship was a product of local associations, kinships, and feudalism. The Crown granted charters, as did powerful landowners. The clan chief and lairds ruled over their particular "oighreachd" (estates). As with the rest of the world, elite warriors were rewarded so as to assure their (the people's) protection. The law of primogeniture made heirs of these chiefs (first born sons)...hereditary chiefs.

"Clan" is derived from the Gaelic word "clanna" meaning "children." Clan chiefs governed their people, assisted by their own chosen officers, managers, and civil servants. Brehons (judges) were usually hereditary too.

Scottish Clans:

Clan Anderson ... Clan Balfour ... Clan Chattan ... Clan Gunn ... Clan Malcolm ... Clan McCollum ... Clan McFarlane ... Clan Ogilvie ...

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Webmaster: Margaret Sypniewska
Owner: Raymond Sypniewski, B.S., M.A.
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This page was last updated on August 12, 2005

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