May 16, 2019
Up until modern times, Scots had a strict naming tradition for their children, usually after the child’s grandparents, parents,
aunties and uncles, or after their clan chief. Here is a simple explanation:
|1st Born Son||Named for paternal grandfather
|2nd Born Son||Named for maternal grandfather
|3rd Born Son||Named for the father unless he shares a
name with one of the grandfathers
|1st Born Daughter||Named for maternal grandmother
|2nd Born Daughter||Named for paternal grandmother
|3rd Born Daughter||Named for the mother unless she shares a name with one of the grandmothers.
|Subsequent children||Named for the paternal and maternal aunts and uncles.
|If immediate family names ran out||Often named for the great grandparents/aunts/uncles or a friend.|
If a child died, the next child born of that gender would often be named after the child who died. Also, the first born children
(or subsequent ones) could often be named after a benefactor, such as the clan chief, someone a parent inherited from or the
king (especially during the Jacobite risings, if you named your child George, it might mean your allegiance was Hanoverian or
if you named your child James or Charles, that you were Jacobite. Of course, this wasn’t always the case, but it can be an
These are only guidelines, some families were more lenient than others, and over the years (particularly after the Jacobite
Risings, I noticed) the naming tradition relaxed a lot, especially the order in which the children were named.
Have fun and happy researching!
Arundel Castle, former home of Adeliza of Louvain, the fair maid of Brabant
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