Morayshire Family History Sharing

 

 Scottish Naming Traditions

 

Identifying the children in a family can be a little easier if the parents and or community had a naming tradition. It is often an Irish/Scottish practice but not always strictly followed. Some places have a practice of having multiple names for family members. I have found also that the female surname continues to be used as a middle name, more so when the family have moved to another country.

 

These naming patterns are not iron clad, but were used extensively. I have found the patterns to be extremely useful in identifying possible family groups. Towards the end of the 1800's however, people were beginning to expand a little on the naming of their children and not always 'stick' to tradition, thus giving far more variety of names. Was that a good thing for family historians - there may be less people with the same name and similar ages but at least you had a good idea of whose side of the family you were looking for !

 

as a general rule but not set in stone

Daughters

1. Firstborn daughter - named after her maternal grandmother (her mother's mother)

Variation - named after her paternal grandmother (her father's mother)

2. Second born daughter - named after her paternal grandmother (her father's mother)

Variation - named after her maternal grandmother (her mother's mother)

3. Third born daughter - named after her mother

4. Fourth born daughter - named after her mother's oldest sister

Variation - named after her maternal great grandmother (her mother's maternal grandmother)

5. Fifth born daughter - named after her father's oldest sister

Variation - named after her paternal great grandmother (her father's maternal grandmother)

Sons

1. Firstborn son - named after his paternal grandfather (his father's father)

Variation - named after his maternal grandfather (his mother's father)

2. Second born son - named after his maternal grandfather (his mother's father)

Variation - named after his paternal grandfather (his father's father)

3. Third born son - named after his father

4. Fourth born son - named after his father's oldest brother

Variation - named after his paternal great grandfather (his father's paternal grandfather)

5. Fifth born son - named after his mother's oldest brother

Variation - named after his maternal great grandfather (his mother's paternal grandfather).

 

USE OF MIDDLE NAMES IN NAMING TRADITIONS

One of the more bewildering questions was "Where did the Surname-like middle names come from?" Could it be ....

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  It was customary to name at least one child's middle name after the surname of the local parish minister who christened that child.
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   It was also customary to name a child's middle name after the surname of the person for whom they are named. In my research the middle name Fridge had been used for a few generations, especially common in the American side of the family - where did it come from ? Why Fridge ? It was not until I managed to go back one more generation that I found an Anne Frigge (Fridge) married to one Alexander Murdoch. This middle name is used more than once in the same family and in one instance is used as a Christian name.  Further research has found that the surname could be Frigg but who knows ? !!
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   It was also common to give sons and daughters a middle name denoting the maiden surname of the mother. This is very useful when trying to identify the maiden surname of the mother. For example, William Murdoch Riach picks up his mothers maiden name as his middle name and his brother also follows this tradition but added to his name is another name of Stark - that is another problem to be solved
bullet        If a child died during the parent's childbearing years, it was very, very common to use that name again. For example, Janet Riach born 1752 and died in her younger years, the next girl to be born would bare the same name, hence another Janet born in 1761.

Having said all this, life can be very confusing when there are a number of children with the same name and of a similar age born from brothers, cousins and other close family members.

But who said family history was easy ??

 

Carol Sklinar 2004

 

 

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