The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History

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New York Public Library, 1946 - Names, Personal - 838 pages
A listing of Scottish surnames and their origins.

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“The surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history”, by George Fraser Black, was published in 1946, by New York Public library, having been rejected by commercial publishers. It is a big, thick book, but the subject is really family history rather personal nomenclature, and the derivations of the surnames are sometimes faulty. Entries that could be expanded or amended include the following:
Adair: if this from Edgar, then it is (Anglo-Saxon) Eadgar = ead (riches, prosperity, happiness) + gar (spear). In Norse, Ë­inn wielded a spear named Gungnir. Several of his by-names referred to his spear carrying, including Geirvaldr. Thus the spear was the holiest weapon, and consequently gar is a frequent component of Anglo-Saxon names.
Aikman: of the various suggestions made by Black, “Old English Agemund” is somewhat adrift, as that is clearly Agmundr, a Norse cognate of Anglo-Saxon Ecgmund = ecg (edge of a weapon) + mund (protection). His second guess, “Old English Ăcemann, oak-man (Šc+mann)”, is more probably correct, though perhaps it would be more accurately rendered as Acman = ac (oak) + man (man).
Aiulf: (Anglo-Saxon) Ăthelwulf = Šthel (noble) + wulf (wolf). The wolf was a sacred animal, associated with Woden. In Norse, Ë­inn was accompanied during his wanderings across the surface of the Earth by two wolves, Freki and Geri (meaning something like: hungry and greedy). Wulf is the commonest element in Anglo-Saxon names.
Alard: (Anglo-Saxon) Ealheard = ealh (temple) + heard (hard), while Ăthelweard = Šthel (noble) + weard (guard). A more likely origin is Ăthelheard = Šthel (noble) + heard (hard).
Almond: oddly, Black derived this from “Ealhmund, a name which occurs in the Northumbrian genealogies as Alchmund”, and cited “Sweet, Oldest English texts, p. 168”. But that page contains lists of bishops, and the “Alchmund” in line 22 was Ealhmund, Bishop of Winchester (“In uenta’ civitate”). Ealhmund = ealh (temple) + mund (protection), but another possibility is Ăthelmund = Šthel (noble) + mund (protection).
Alwyn: (Anglo-Saxon) Ălfwine = Šlf (elf) + wine (friend).
Anketyn: (Norse) ┴sketill = ßs (god) + ketill (kettle, meaning a sacrificial cauldron).
Archibald: the deuterotheme -beald means bold, therefore of the two explanations offered by Black, right bold or holy prince, only the first is tenable, and it seems to be approximately correct.
Arkle: (Norse) Arnketill = arn (eagle) + ketill (kettle, sacrificial cauldron).
Arnketil: (Norse) Arnketill = arn (eagle) + ketill (kettle, sacrificial cauldron); the cognate Anglo-Saxon was Earncytel.
Arnold: (Anglo-Saxon) Earnweald = earn (eagle) + weald (power), or a cognate.
Ascelinus: (Norse) ┴sketill = ßs (god) + ketill (kettle, sacrificial cauldron).
Aulay: Ëlafr, ┴leifr, and “Old English Anlaf” are all variants of (Norse) Ëleifr = anu (ancestor) + leifr (heir).
Auld: (Anglo-Saxon) Ealda or Alda was a short form of any name commencing with Eald- (old, wise).
Bairnsfather, Bairnfather: (Norse) Bjarnvar­r = bjǫrn (bear) + var­r (guard). The comment “The final -r is silent” is rather curious, as it seems to show a lack of awareness of Norse declension: nominative Bjarnvar­r, accusative Bjarnvar­, dative Bjarnvar­i, genitive Bjarnvar­s or Bjarnvar­ar (Icelandic is the same, except that the nominative is Bjarnvar­ur).
Baldred: (Anglo-Saxon) BealdrŠd = beald (bold) + rŠd (counsel).
Bernard: the derivation supplied by Black is essentially correct, but it is worth noting that the original meaning of beorn was bear, but it later came to mean chief.
Bertolf: (Anglo-Saxon) Beorhtwulf = beorht (bright) + wulf (wolf), or a cognate.
Bertram: not Anglo-Saxon, but from (Old High German) Berahthraben = berhta (bright) + hraben (raven). The raven was a sacred bird. It was believed that two ravens, called (in Norse) Huginn (thought) and Muninn (mind), were the eyes and ears of Ë­inn, flying over the world each day, and returning to his shoulder to report back in

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I just wanted to add something about the Mackintoshes that he talks about. He says that the Mackintoshes of Perthshire and Inverness have no connection other than the name and that they both descend from different toschachs.
This is totally untrue. The Mackintoshes in Glenshee are a separate branch of the Clan Mackintosh. There have been several books from the Mackintosh Clan that spell out the whole history of the Clan Mackintosh.
As far as I have been able to see, William Skene who proposes that there are several toschachs is incorrect as well. There is only one toschach, and that is found in the circumstances that brought Shaw Macduff, son of Thane and Earl of Fife, Duncan Macduff. Shaw was granted lands near Inverness for supporting King Malcolm III for his support. The people in these lands called him the "son of Thane" in gaelic, which translates to Mackintosh.

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