The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames: With a Vocabulary of Christian Names (Google eBook)
It is hard to imagine life without surnames, but surnames were a rarity before the 11th century. Names originated from localities such as Nisbet and Ralston, baptismal names such as Anderson and Lawrence, trades such as Baxter and Fletcher, offices such as Bannerman and Walker, professions such as Clerk and Kemp, peculiarities of body and/or mind such as Fairfax and Armstrong, armorial bearings such as Cross and Horn, nativity such as Fleming and Scott, and many other sources. Persons that joined a particular clan, regardless of descent, assumed the surname of the chief as an act of loyalty. There are distinctions between Highland and Lowland surnames. Highland surnames are usually patronymic with various prefixes and additions such as Mackenzie and Robertson, but there are also surnames derived from localities, peculiarities, armorial bearings and offices. Lowland surnames show Norman influence, and are generally local, but many surnames are derived from baptismal names, peculiarities, armorial bearings, office, occupation and trade. Entries are arranged alphabetically by surname and include varying amounts of information. A separate section is devoted to Christian names, alphabetically listed, with brief meanings provided.
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