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Scottish Surnames

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Scottish Surnames, Abercorn to Aytoun

ABERCORN
Local: from the village of Abercorn in Lanarkshire.

ABERCROMBY
Local: from the parish of Abercromby in Fifeshire. Aber, a place where two streams meet, and crombie, a bend. The family are descended from Humphredus de Abercrombie, temp. Robert I.

Abercrombie, John (1780-1844) of Aberdeen. Philosopher and Physician. In 1830 he published a work on 'Intellectual Application of Logical Methods in Science'. Recognised as the first consulting physician in Scotland.

Abercrombie, Sir Patrick (1878-1957). Architect and town-planner. Author of the Greater London Plan.

Abercromby, Sir James, 1st Baron (1776-1858) of Dunfermline. Judge Advocate General, Speaker in the House of Commons (1835-39).

Abercromby, Sir John (1772-1817) of Clackmannanshire. Army General. Distinguished himself in Egypt and France. Captured Mauritius in 1809.

Abercromby, Patrick (c.1656-1716) of Aberdeenshire. Antiquary and historical writer, best known for his Martial Achievements of the Scots Nation.

Abercromby, Sir Ralph (1734-1801) of Menstrie, father of Sir John. General in command of the expedition against the French in the West Indies in 1795-96. Defeated Napoleon at the battle of Aboukir Bay. He shares with Sir John Moore the credit for renewing the ancient discipline and military reputation of the British soldier. Victor of the battle of Alexandria.

Abercromby, Sir Robert (1740-1827) of Tullybody. Army General. Served with distinction in North America and Canada.

ABERDEEN
Local: from the town of Aberdeen in Aberdeenshire. Aber, the mouth of a stream, and Don, the name of the river on which the town is situated.
Aberdeen Family History Society

Aberdeen, George Hamilton-Gordon 4th Earl of (1784-1860) of Edinburgh. Prime Minister of Britain (1852-55). Foreign Sec. under Wellington (1828-30) and Colonial Sec. under Peel (1841-46).

Aberdeen, John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon 7th Earl of (1847-1934). Governor-General of Canada (1893-98) and sometime Lord Lieut. of Ireland.

ABERDOUR
Local: from the village of Aberdour in the Kingdom of Fife.

ABERNETHY
Local: from the town of Abernethy in Perthshire.
Aber, the mouth of a stream, and nithy, dangerous. The family are descended from Alexander Abernethy, temp. Robert I. Abernethy Family History

Abernethy, James Smart, born 1907 in Fettercairn. Became Legal Adviser to the Commissioner of Lands and Protector of Labour, North Borneo (1937), Food Controller N. Borneo (1941) and Resident Magistrate Tanganyika in 1949.

ACHANY
Vide, Hannay

ACHMUTY
Local: from the lands of Achmuty in Fifeshire.

ADAIR
Thomas, the sixth Earl of Desmond, while on a hunting excursion lost his way, between Tralee and Newcastle, in the county of Limerick, where he was received and entertained by one William McCormick, whose daughter he subsequently married. At this alliance the family and clan took umbrage, and forced him to resign his title and estate to his youngest brother. He died in France in 1420, leaving issue, Maurice and John; Robert the son of Maurice returned to Ireland, where he killed Gerald the White Knight in single combat at Athdale, whence lie received the name of Adaire. He afterwards settled in Scotland, where he married Arabella daughter of John Campbell, Lord of Argyle.

ADAM
Man, earthly, red. The families of Adam and Adamson, are descended from Duncan son of Alexander Adam, temp. Robert Bruce.

Adam, Alexander (1741-1809) of Forres. Writer and author of Roman Antiquities in 1791.

Adam, Sir Fredrick (1781-1853). Scottish General at Waterloo.

Adam, James (1730-94) of Kirkcaldy. Architect, brother and partner of Robert.

Adam, Jean (1730-94) of Greenock. Poetess, best known by her 'There's nae luck aboot the hoose'. Believed to have died in a poor-house.

Adam, John of Maryburgh. Architect, brother of Robert.

Adam, Robert (1728-92) of Kirkcaldy. World famous architect. With his brother James, designed also the furnishings, fittings and the furniture to suit the houses they planned. From the 1750s till his death Robert erected and made alterations to at least 45 country mansions.

Adam, William (1689-1748) of Maryburgh. Architect father of Robert, James and John aforementioned, whom they called 'Old Stone and Lime'.

Adams, James W. L. (1909-) educ. Arbroath and St Andrews. Professor of Education, Queen's Coll., Dundee (1955-). Education Officer (Scotland), BBC (1939-47). RAF Education Service (1942-45).

Adams, William George Stewart (1874-1966) of Hamilton. Professor of Political Theory and Institutions, Oxford (1912-33). Sec. to the Prime Minister (1916-19). Lecturer McGill Univ., Canada (1931) and visiting Professor, Univ. of Toronto (1949), and South Africa (1953-57).

AGNEW
Local: from the town of Agneau in Normandy. Agneau in Norman-French signifies a lamb. A branch of the family came into England at an early day, and some of them accompanied Strongbow to Ireland; others of the family settled in Scotland, where Andrew Agnew was sheriff of Wigtonshire in 1430.

The Agnews of Lochnaw became Hereditary Sheriffs of Wigton in 1451. The first of the name in Scotland is William des Aigneu, who, in Liddesdale around 1190, witnessed a charter between Ranulf de Soulis and Jedburgh Abbey.  Andrew Agnew, however, was first of family on record when he was appointed Constable of Lochnaw Castle in 1426. A branch of the family went to Ulster and obtained a grant of lands near Larne from James VI. Their castle, Kilwaughter, is now a ruin, but many families from the USA and Australia descend from this line.

AIKENHEAD
Head of the oaks.

AIKMAN
From ack, an oak, and man.

AINSLIE
From ains, a spring, and ley, a field.

AIRTH
Local: from tlie village of Airth in Stirlingshire. The family are descended from Sir William de Airth, temp, Robert Bruce.

AITKINSON
From At, an abbreviation of Arthur, and kins, a child.

AITON
The town near the water, from ea, water, and ton, a town.

ALDJOY
Originally from Italy. Peter Aldjoy obtained the lands of Easter Walkinshaw, by marrying, in 1547, the heiress Marion Morton.

ALEXANDER
A benefactor. The family are descended from Alexander Macdonald, a great-grandson of Somerled, Thane of Argyle.

Alexander, Sir James Edward (1803-85). Scottish General in the Crimea (1855-56) and Maori war (1860-62). He was responsible for the preservation of Cleopatra's Needle.

Alexander, Sir William (1567-1640) of Menstrie Castle. Poet and Statesman. Sometime Lieutenant for the plantations of New Scotland (Nova Scotia). Known as the founder of Nova Scotia.

ALLAN
From aluinn, fair, handsome.

Allan, Douglas Alexr., (1896-1967) of Fife. Director of the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh (1945-1961), Representative, Museums Assoc., to Canada and the USA (1960) and Central Africa (1961). Was Director, City of Liverpool Museums (1929-44).

Allan, Janet Laurie, of Strathaven. Appointed Commissioner of the Salvation Army in 1955. Territorial Commander, Salvation Army, Western India (1951-54) and of Southern India (1954-57).

Allan, Robert (1774-1841) of Kilbarchan. Poet and songwriter. Was by trade a weaver.

Allan, Sir William (1782-1850) of Edinburgh. Historical painter. Appointed Limner to the Queen in Scotland in 1841.

Allan, William Nimmo (1896-) of Callander. Appointed Consultant on Irrigation in Sudan in 1947.

ALLARDYCE
Local. From Allardice, originally Alrethes, in Kincardineshire. The family were seated there, temp William the Lion.

ANDERSON
The son of Andrew, which signifies a brave man.

This surname is strongly connected with St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, although it is common in both Aberdeenshire and the Lowlands. The Andersons or MacAndrews are probably connected with the Clan Anrias, a sept of Clan Ross. These MacAndrews are
regarded as being connected with the Clan Chattan federation, and settled in Connage of Petty. Prominent branches of Clan Anderson arc the Andersons of Dowhill, of West Ardbreck in Banffshire, and of Candacraig in Strathdon. Arms were awarded in the sixteenth century to Anderson of that Ilk, but his family has not yet been identified. The Chiefship has remained dormant for centuries. There are no locations specifically identified with this name.

Anderson, Adam (- died 1846) Professor of Natural Philosophy at St Andrews. Contributed original papers on the measurement of the highest mountains by the barometer.

Anderson, Arthur (1792-1868) of Lerwick, Shetland. Pioneer and benefactor, co-founder in 1840 of the world's largest passenger fleet-the P & 0 Steam Navigation Shipping Company.

Anderson, Sir Colin Skelton (1904-) Director of the P & 0 Steam Nav. Co., and Chairman of many companies (1960-69). Provost of the Royal College of Art (1967-).

Anderson, Sir David (1895-1966) of Glasgow. Engineer and Principal, Coll. of Technology, Birmingham (1930-46). Published numerous papers on technical education.

Anderson, Sir Duncan (1901-) of Aberdeen. Civil Engineer involved in road, rail, bridge and tunnel construction. Controller, Caribbean Region Colonial Development Corp., (1951-53). Sometime Chairman, British Oxygen Co., and Director BOAC.

Anderson, Francis S. (1897-) of Aberdeen. Chairman Bacon Market Council (1964-). Director, British Sugar Corp. Ltd. (1960-64). Was Director of Fish Supplies, Min. of Food (1943-45). Under-sec. Min. of Food (1946-54) and Chairman, International Wheat Council (1949-59).

Anderson, lan (1891-1970) of Morayshire. Member of London Stock Exchange for 33 years. High Sheriff of Surrey (1942-58). Member of the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland (The Royal Company of Archers).

Anderson, James (1739-1808) of Hermiston, nr. Edinburgh. Writer on political economy and agriculture. Inventor of the 'Scotch Plough'.

Anderson, John (1726-96) of Rosneath nr. Dunfermline. Scientist. Author of Institutes of Physics (1786). Invented the 'Balloon Post' and a gun which in 1791 he presented to the French National Convention.

Anderson, John (1805-56) of Galloway. Missionary and founder of the Free Church Mission, Madras.

Anderson, John (1896-) of Beith, Ayrshire. One-time Scientist at the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment, Portsmouth.

Anderson, Revd John George (1866-1943) of Orkney. Became Archbishop Moosonee and Metropolitan of Ontario in 1940-.

Anderson, John Henry (1814-74) of Aberdeenshire. Magician, known as 'The Great Wizard of the North'. Performed in the Adelphi, London, where he caught a bullet fired from a gun.

Anderson, Moira of Kirkintilloch. Singer and concert artist. Be-came known as a singer with the White Heather Club TV series. Her own BBC TV series Moira Sings, and Moira in Person (1973) were popular. She has done several Commonwealth tours. She is married to Dr Stuart MacDonald.

Anderson, Rona of Edinburgh. Actress. Appeared in the BBC series No Wreaths for the General (1963), Dr. Finlay's Casebook, Dixon of Dock Green, etc. Her films included The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969). She was married to the famous Scottish actor the late Gordon Jackson.

Anderson, Thomas (1819-74). Scottish organic chemist, remembered for his discovery of Pyridine.

Anderson, William G. Macdonald (1905-) of Dundee. Was Director-General of Works, Air Ministry (1959-63).

The Andersons. This name, now fairly widespread throughout Scotland, means " son of Andrew " and in the Highlands is rendered as MacAndrew. In the Lowlands, however, the form of Anderson is more common. The MacAndrews are regarded as a sept of Clan Chattan, having been associated with that Confederation of Clans from the beginning of the 15th century. In the Kinrara manuscript it is claimed that the MacAndrews came to Badenoch from Moidart about the year 1400.

One famous member of the clan was John MacAndrew of Dalnahatnich, known in Gaelic as lain Beg MacAindrea. He was a bowman of note and the terror of all who fought against him. Many tales are told of his exploits and his vengeance upon the cattle lifters who raided Badenoch. In 1670 some Lochaber men raided Badenoch and drove away a large number of cattle. They were pursued by a body of men, including lain Beg, under the command of William Mackintosh of Kyllachy. The cattle lifters were overtaken and in the fight which followed lain Beg killed most of the raiders. Only one Lochaber man escaped and he carried with him the full story of his comrades' fate at the hands of lain Beg MacAindrea. The men of Lochaber swore vengeance against little John and made many attempts on his life.

As a consequence he led an unsettled exisence for many years but was always able to defend himself. Traditionally some MacAndrews are associated with the MacDonnels of Glengary and wear their tartan. The most prominent branches of the Andersons were Dowhill, Wester Ardbreck and Candacraig in Strathdon.

ANGUS
Local:
from the county of Angus. Angus Genealogy

This name means 'Unique Choice'. An Angus was king of Dalriada in the ninth century, the name is associated with Clan Machines, who are believed to have evolved from the Dalriads. The Earldom of Angus was held by the Stewarts and Douglases and is now vested in the Dukedom of Hamilton.

ANNAND
Local: from the river Annan. Aon, am, one and one, the river that divides the dale into two shares.

ANSTRUTHER
Local: from the parish of Anstruther in Fifeshire. The word Anstruther signifies a marsh, or swamp. The family arc descended from William de Candela, Lord of the lands of Anstruther, temp. David I.
Anstruther Free Church History

ARBUTHNOT
Local: from the barony of Arbuthnot in Kincardineshire. Aber, the mouth of a stream, both, a dwelling, and neth, a stream that descends ; aberbothneth, the house near the conflux of the stream. The family are descended from Hugh de Arbuthnot, 1160.

The surname adopted by Duncan, son and heir to Hugh of Svvinton from Berwickshire. The latter had received the lands of Arbuthnott in Kincardineshire from Walter Olifard at the end of the twelfth century. The family still hold the lands.

Arbuthnot, John (1667-1735) of Kincardineshire. Physician and wit. Friend of Pope and Swift. Appointed Physician to the Queen in 1705. Wrote History of John Bull (1712) and The Art of Political Lying.

Arbuthnot (Robert Keith Arbuthnott) 15th Viscount. Major-General, Chief of Staff, Scottish Command (1948-49). Commander 51st Highland Division (1949-52).

ARCHIBALD
Powerful, bold.

ARCHIE
The diminutive of Archibald.

ARESKINE
Vide, Erskine. Erskine Genealogy

ARMOUR
Contracted from armorer, a maker of armor.

ARMSTRONG
The Armstrongs derive their surname from the following circumstance : an ancient king of Scotland having his horse killed under him in battle, was immediately remounted by Fairbairn his armor-bearer. For this timely assistance the king amply rewarded him with lands on the borders, and to perpetuate the memory of so important a service, as well as the manner in which it was performed (for Fairbairn took the king by the thigh and set him on his saddle), his royal master gave him the appellation of Armstrang, and assigned him for a crest, an armed hand and arm, in the left hand a leg and foot in armor, couped at the thigh, all proper. The chief of the clan in the early part, of the sixteenth century was John Armstrong of Gilnockie ; he was hung as a free-booter by James V, in 1529. The family have always been noted for their courage and daring. In the Lay of the Last Minstrel, the chief when about to assemble his clans, says to the heralds:
" Ye need not go to Liddisdale,
For when they see the blazing bale
Elliots and Armstrongs never fail."

Alexander, first chief, held the ancient seat of Mangerton in Liddesdale, Roxburghshire, in the late thirteenth century. Originally Northmen, the Armstrongs came via Normandy or Northumbria, becoming expert light horsemen. They could field 3000 at their zenith. They held lands in Ewesdale, Eskdale and Annandale.

In 1363, Gilbert Armstrong was Scotland's ambassador to England. In 1610, the clan was 'broken' on the death of the 10th chief, but for many its pride was restored on the night of the Moon Landing on 21st July 1969. Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, surely has some good Border blood in his ancestry.

Armstrong, John (1709-79) of Liddesdale. Physician and poet. Appointed in 1746 to the London Soldier's Hospital, and in 1760 Physician to the forces in Germany.

Armstrong of SANDERSTEAD, Baron (Life Peer). William Anderson (1915-80) of Stirling. Official head of the home Civil Service (1960-74). Chairman Midland Bank (1975), Midland and International Bank (1976-80).

The Armstrongs. An act passed by the Scottish Parliament in 1587 " for the quieting and keeping in obedience of the inhabitants of the Borders, Highlands and Isles," containing a roll of " the clans that have Captains, Chiefs and Chieftains as well on the Borders as the Highlands," proves that so long ago as the sixteenth century Border families were described as clans, and one of the most important of these families was the Armstrongs.

There is a traditional story that the progenitor of the clan was Fairbairn, an armour bearer of a king of Scotland who went to the assistance of his master when the king had his horse killed under him in battle. Fairbairn, grasping the king by. the thigh, set him on his own horse. For this service the king granted Fairbairn lands on the Borders, and gave to him the name Armstrong. The first family of the name on record in Scotland is found in Liddesdale in 1376.

The Armstrongs, a numerous and warlike clan, held lands all along the Borders, chiefly in Liddesdale, where their power was unquestionable. They are said to have been able to muster 3,000 men, and their lawlessness kept the borders in turmoil.

The Armstrongs of Gilnockie were the principal branch of the clan, and John Armstrong of Gilnockie in the early part of the 16th century was captured, through a stratagem, by King James V, and, with over thirty of his followers, was hanged at Carlingrigg. The event is the
subject of one of the best of our Border ballads.

ARNUT
The family descend from Michael Arnott, temp. Malcolm IV, and were seated in Fifeshire early in the twelfth century. The name has also been written Arnet and Arnett.

Arnott, Neil (1788-1875) of Arbroath. Doctor who became famous as a practical scientist. Prolific writer on natural science. Invented many useful appliances.

ATHOL
Local: from a district of Perthshire. Ath, a ford, and al, a rock.

AUCHENLECK
Local: from the parish of Auchenleck in Ayrshire. Ach, a mound, and leac, a flat stone. Auchenleck appears to have been a place where the Druids held their services. The family are descended from Sir John Auchenleck, 1450.

AUCHTERLONY
The height of the meadow or marsh.

AYRE
The surname Ayre (Air, Aire) appears in Scotland in early records as 'de Are' or 'de Ayr', which supports the claim of a territorial origin. In Ayrshire, the county and the town take their name from the river Ayr, which has had different spellings over time, namely Ar c.1177, Are 1197, Air c.1230, Ayre 1237, Aare c.1400. The AYRE page of this website lists names and sources since the thirteenth century. The name, a sept of clan Boyd, is found in references such as Burke's Peerage, Electric Scotland, and Rich Boyd's Clan Boyd Family Society.

AYTOUN
Local: from the parish of Aytoun in Berwickshire.

Ayton of AYTOUN, Sir Robert (1570-1638) of Fifeshire. Poet, studied law in Paris and became Ambassador to the Emperor. Wrote poems in Latin, Greek and French. He is credited with the little poem 'Old Long Syne', which possibly suggested Burns's famous 'Auld Lang Syne'.

Aytoun, William Edmonstone (1813-65) of Edinburgh. Poet, humorist and Writer to the Signet. His Lays of the Cavaliers went into 48 editions.

If you have a web site devoted to any of the above family surnames, please e-mail me your web address for free inclusion on this page.



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