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Links to Scottish Surnames
Patronymics/Surnames/Word Definitions - Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
The surnames below (not all inclusive) are found in SURNAMES OF SCOTLAND by Prof. George Black. SURNAMES OF SCOTLAND is recommended by NAS (National Archives of Scotland) as a book to use in your research of your Scottish surname. In this book, you will find information on variant spellings of names, patronymic information, etc. Check your nearest public library for a copy.
Another published resource you may want to refer to is "CLANS, SEPTS & REGIMENTS OF THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS (CSRSH) by Frank Adam, Revised by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon King of Arms, 7th Edition, 1965 (first published 1908). It is my understanding that this specific book is referred to quite often at Lyon Court in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Lord Lyon is the absolute in decisions on Clan Chiefs.
Please be aware, that this does not mean your family absolutely originated in Scotland or is absolutely connected with one Clan. In order to determine your roots in Scotland, you would need to do genealogical research on your own family. When doing your research, it is important to remember that there were variant (different) spellings of almost any name. Hundreds of years ago, for the most part, only scribes and the upper class was able to read and write. Many names were spelled by sound. It may be difficult at times to recognize your ancestral line. Also - there are names which may have been split between Clans in Scotland. Example: Todd is a sept of split Clans - both Clan Gordon and Clan MacTavish.
These first two names show examples of variant spellings of one name and some information about them from published resources.
CASH (Cash, Caish(e), Cass, Kash, Kass, MacCamish, MacCash, MacCosh, etc.)
From the "Surnames of Scotland", pg. 466: MACCASH, MACASH, MACCAISH. Perthshire surnames, probably contracted forms of MacTavish. Hector McCaishe was one of those holding the castle of Dunivaig against Bishop Know, 1616 (or 1614) (Cawdor, p. 232) (Other variant spellings on this page: M'Ash, McCaish, M'Caish, M'Cais)
From the Denmylne Mss. in the Highland Papers, pg. 203-205, the name of Hector McCaishe was spelt as Hector McCawis and Hector McCaus.
From the "Surnames of Scotland", pg. 456: MACCAVISH, MACCAUSE, MACCAVISH, MACCAWIS, MACCAWS. In Gaelic, MacThdmhais, 'son of Tammas', the Scottish form of Thomas. (Other variant spellings on this page: McCawis, M'Awis, MCause, Makavhis, Makawis, M'Caws, Makcawis, VcAlves, McAves, VcCavyes, McCaweis, McCaueis, McAvis, McAvish, Mccavish, Mcavish, M'Awishe, M'Cauish, McKawes, VcKaviss)
From the "Extracts from the Potalloch Writs", The Genealogist New Series, Edited by H. W. Forsyth Harwood, Barrister-at-Law, Volume XXXVIII, 1922, pg 138-142 - Lands of Dunardarie -- The Chiefs names are spelled as VcCaus, McCawis, McCzawis, McTavish, VcCawis.
You can see from just these three sources, the possible connection of Cash with Clan MacTavish, even so far as the Chiefly line having some of the same spellings as the Cash surname. However, again - this is not proof that your Cash family is a part of Clan MacTavish or even related to the families of the Chiefly line. You must do your own genealogical research to determine that fact, and not fall into the romance of being convinced that you are "part" of any Clan because of a surname spelling. You will find information on surnames and cautions about them by Prof. George Black in SURNAMES OF SCOTLAND in his length "Introduction". Click here for an excerpt. Pay close attention to the words in the item you are research: probably, possibly, perhaps.
This gives an example of why surnames must be researched in many areas and not just from books written by those of the surname itself.
Another caution is that "whatever you learn today may very well change tomorrow". New information is uncovered, etc. Be prepared to keep an open mind.
Many of the Cash family in the US believe we are descended from the sister (or half-sister) of Malcolm IV of Scotland - Ada married Duncan, Earl of Fife. If that is true, then this family is descended from Kenneth MacAlpin of Scotland and his Irish ancestors. Under these circumstances, Earl Downey (father of the developer of the Scottish Connection) would possibly be the 33rd cousin 3 times removed of the Chief of Clan MacTavish.
Chief MacTavish states that Cash is a connected name of Clan MacTavish, deriving from M'Ash and MacCamish. This family also believes that our name may have been MacCash in Scotland. If this is true, then the "Surnames of Scotland" by Professor George Black supports MacCash connection to MacTavish.
MacTAVISH (MacCawis, McCawis, M'Ash, McCaweis, VcCaus, M'Thamais, McTawisch, Mctawys, McTaevis, M'ktaus, McThavish, etc.)
CLANS, SEPTS & REGIMENTS OF THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS (CSRSH) by
Frank Adam, Revised by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon King of Arms, 7th
Edition, 1965 (first published 1908), Page 301 (8):
"MacTavish, Thompson, etc. The MacTavishes, Tasessons, Thompsons, etc. are said to derive their origin from Taus Coir, an illegitimate son of one of the Lords of Lochow, who lived in the days of King Alexander II. Henry White (Fionn) said: Many of the Argyllshire MacTavishes now make Thomsons of themselves, while others are known as Tawesons. The surnames, MacLehose and MacLaws, are regarded as corrupted forms of Mac-Gille-Thomais son of the gille or servant of Thomas. There was a strong colony of MacTavishes in Strathglass at an early period. But these repudiate dependency on Clan Campbell, and MacTavish of Dunardrie is Chief of that clan, whilst Thomson of that Ilk on the Border is regarded as a remotely connected or indeterminate connection of he MacTavishes."
SURNAMES OF SCOTLAND by Prof. George Black, p. 768: THOMSON, son of Thom, q.v. A fairly numerous surname in Scotland ..Many individuals of this name in Perthshire and Argyllshire are really Mactavishes. The surname in these districts is an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Thomais, son of Thomas, or Mac Thomaidh, son of Tommie .. Thome, Tomson, Thomsoun, Thomsone, Tomsone, Thomeson, Thomasson, Thomeson, Thomesoune, Thomason
A lack of formal education resulted in variant spelling of names. Before 1650 in Scotland, you many times found the case where the common man was not schooled in reading and writing.
Excerpt from "North Knapdale in the XVII and XVIIIth Centuries" by Alexander Fraser, B.D., 1964, pg. 29
"Culturally, the parish was in a state of transition. The great majority of the people, and even some of the smaller lairds, such as Alexander MacTavish of Dunardry (1633) could not read or write."
Mac and Mc are the same thing. If you hear that Mac is Scottish and Mc is Irish, this is incorrect. Mc is simply a variant or contraction (shortened spelling) of Mac.
If you would like to visit a "web site" to check out your surname information, try Electric Scotland for official Clans and Electric Scotland for other Scottish names, or Gathering of the Clans. The names may today be considered official clans or may be a sept or connected name of an official clan.
For general information and numerous links, check Ancestor Genealogy and Surname Search or Cynd's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet. The grandaddy of sites is Rootsweb for online research and free online lessons.
Court of the Lord
Lyon, King of Arms
Leaflets from the Court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms
Use of Corporate Arms, Crest Badges, Scottish Heraldic Flags, Petition for Arms, Ancestor Research, Differencing, Wearing of Sashes by Ladies in Evening Dress, Acquisition of Grant and Matriculation of Scottish Arms, Use of Personal Arms, the Lord Lyon, Clans/Families/Septs
Scottish Documents Online
General Register Office for Scotland
SCOTTISH FAMILIES - from Electric Scotland - "This section is devoted to Scottish Families. As you may know not all Scots are members of Clans and we feel there is a need for those Scots to also have a place to gather on Electric Scotland. As we discover links to appropriate places on the Web we'll enter them here. This section is also a place for those Clans that we don't have a specific web page for. "
Example: McGibonney Family Association
Whether you are a member of a Clan or not, be proud of your Scottish heritage. Take time to visit one of the highland games/festivals and become acquainted with others who are celebrating their heritage. After all, we Scots are "kin".
Here is another link for surname research: Sur-Names.com
Please be careful of any research on the Internet. Make sure your research is done at sites that are reputable and educational - not just someone's homepage. Although people try to be honestly helpful, they may or may not have the correct information. The best place to research is still (and always will be) libraries, universities, historical societies, national archives, research facilities.
Web vs. the Library
List of Possible Scottish Surnames
ABERCROMBY, ADAM, AGNEW, AITCHESON, AKINS, ALEXANDER, ALLAN, ALLISON, ANDERSON, ANSTRUTHER, ARBUTHNOTT, ARMSTRONG, ARTHUR, AUCHINLECK
BAILLIE, BAIRD, BALFOUR, BANNALYNE, BANNERMAN, BARCLAY, BAXTER, BEATON, BELL, BENNETT, BETHUNE, BEVERIDGE, BIRRELL, BIRSE, BISSETT, BLACK, BLACKSTOCK, BLAIKIE, BLAIR, BORTHWICK, BOSWELL, BOWIE, BOYD, BOYLE, BRODIE, BROUN, BROWN, BRUCE, BUCHANAN, BUDGE, BURNETT, BURNESS, BURNS
CALDER, CAMERON, CAMPBELL, CARMICHAEL, CARGILL/CARGILE, CARNEGIE, CASH, CATHCART, CHALMERS, CHARTERIS, CHATTAN, CHEAPE, CHISHOLM, CHRICHTON, CHRISTIE, CLELLAND, CLARK, COCHRANE, COCKBURN, COLQUHOUN, COLVILLE, COMYN/CONNAL, COOPER, CRAIG, CRANSTOUN, CRAWFORD, CULLEN, CUMMING, CUNNINGHAM, CURRIE
DALGLEISH, DALRYMPLE, DALZELL, DARROCH, DAVIDSON, DEAS, DENNISTOUN, DEWAR, DINWIDDLE, DONNACHAIDH, DOUGLAS, DRUMMOND, DUNBAR, DUNCAN, DUNDAS, DUNLOP, DURRIE
ELLIOTT, ELPHINSTONE, ERSKINE
FALCONER, FARQUHARSON, FERGUSON, FINDLATER, FLEMING, FLETCHER, FORBES, FORRESTER, FORSYTH, FRAME, FRASER, FRASER OF LOVAT, FULLARTON
GAILBRAITH, GARDEN, GAYRE, GEMMELL, GIBSONE, GILLIES, GLADSTAINES, GLAS, GLEN, GORDON, GOW/MACGOWAN, GRAHAM, GRANT, GRAY, GRIERSON, GUNN, GUTHRIE
HAIG, HALDANE, HALL, HAMILTON, HANNAY, HARKNESS, HAY, HENDERSON, HEPBURN, HERD, HOME, HOPE, HOG, HORSBURGH, HOUSTON, HUME, HUNTER
INGLIS, INNES, IRVINE
JARDINE, JOHNSON, JOHNSTONE
KEITH, KENNEDY, KERR, KIDD/KYD, KILGOUR, KINCAID, KINNAIRD, KINNEAR, KINNINMONT, KIRKPATRICK
LAING, LAMONT, LANDRUM, LAUDER, LEARMONTH, LEASK, LEITH, LENNOX, LESLIE, LINDSAY, LITTLE, LIVINGSTONE, LOGAN, LOCKHART, LUMSDEN, LYLE, LYON
MACADAM, MACALISTER, MACALPINE, MACALLUM, MACAULAY, MACBAIN, MACBEAN, MACBETH, MACBRAYNE, MACCALLUM (Malcolm), MACCASKILL, MACCLACHLAN, MACCASH, MACCOLL, MACCOMB, MACCORD, MACCORQUODALE, MACCULLOCH, MACDIARMID, MACDONALD, MACDONALD OF CLANRANALD, MACDONALD OF SLEAT, MACDONNEL OF GLENGARRY, MACDOUGALL, MACDOWALL, MACDUFF, MACEACHAN, MACEWEN, MACFADYEN, MACFARLANE, MACFIE, MACGHIE, MACGILL, MACGILLVRAY, MACGREGOR, MACHARDY, MACIAIN, MACINNES, MACINROY, MACINTYRE, MACIVER, MACKAY, MACKEAN, MACKELLAR, MACKENZIE, MACKERRELL, MACKIE, MACKILLOP, MACKINLAY, MACKINNON, MACKINTOSH, MACKIRDY, MACLACHLAN, MACLAINE OF LOCHBUIE, MACLAREN, MACLEAN, MACLELLAN, MACLENNAN, MACLEOD, MACLEOD OF THE LEWES, MACLINTOCK, MACMICKING, MACMILLAN, MACNAB, MACNAGHTEN, MACNEACALL, MACNEIL, MACNICOL, MACPHAIL, MACPHERSON, MACPHETTER, MACQUARRIE, MACQUEEN, MACRAE, MACSPORRAN, MACTAGGART, MACTAVISH, MACTHOMAS, MACWILLIAM, MCWHIRTER
MAITLAND, MANUEL, MARGILL, MAR, MARJORIBANKS, MARSHALL, MARTIN, MATHESON, MAXWELL, MAULE, MELVILLE, MENZIES, MERCER, MIDDLETON, MILLER, MILNE, MITCHELL, MOFFAT, MONCREIFFE, MONTGOMERY, MORGAN, MORRISON, MOW, MOWAT, MOWBRAY, MUIR, MUIRHEAD, MUNRO, MURDOCH, MURRAY, MURRAY OF ATHOLL
NAIRN, NAPIER, NESBITT, NEWLANDS, NEWTON, NICOLSON
OGILVY, OLIPHANT, OLIVER
PAISLEY, PATTERSON, PATTILLO, PENNYCOOK, PENTLAND, PITCAIRN, POLLOCK, PORTEOUS, PRESTON, PRIMROSE, PRINGLE, PURVES
RAMSAY, RANKINE, RATTRAY, RIDDELL, ROBERTSON, ROLLO, ROSE, ROSS, RUSSELL, RUTHERFORD, FUTHVEN
SANDILANDS, SCHAW, SCOTT, SCRYMGEOUR, SELLARS, SETON, SEMPILL, SHAW, SHEPHERD, SIMPSON, SINCLAIR, SKENE, SMITH, SNODDY, SNODGRASS, SOMERVILLE, SPENS, STEVENSON, STEWART, STEWART OF APIN, STIRLING, STRACHAN, STRANGE, STUART OF BUTE, STURROCK, SUTHERLAND, SWINTON
TAILYOUR, TAYLOR, TEARLACH, TELFER, TENNANT, THOMPSON, THOMSON, TRAILS, TROTTER, TULLIS, TURNBULL, TWEEDIE
WALKINSHAW, WALLACE, WATSON, WARDLAW, WEDDERBURN, WEIR, WEMYSS, WHITE, WHITELAW, WILSON, WISHART, WOOD
The history of Scotland and its places and surnames is long and complicated. Things such as patronymics, politics, and play a part in our ancestry. Please do not be satisfied in reading one book and assuming you have the history of Scotland. In order to understand our ancestor and the heritage they passed to us, it will require a dedication of years of commitment and study from you. However, the rewards are wonderful; and, the heritage we pass on to our children cannot be measured. Enjoy and be proud!
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Web site created Dec 1999
Web page updated 25-May-2006