Authentic Highland Names

I have a friend born in the Scottish Highlands during World War II who still vividly remembers the first time she ever saw a black person. She was in college. I would say that until the mid-twentieth century many of those in the British Isles had rarely ventured far from their home county.

Because of more limited media and transportation options in those earlier days, regional dialects and surnames were apt to stay pretty pure. That is why I adore Henry Brougham Guppy’s 1890 work titled Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. (This book was recommended to me by fellow author and blogger Sarah Waldock. Check out her interesting blog at http://sarahs-history-place.blogspot.com/.) Writing his work 130 years ago, Guppy was able to methodically pinpoint which regions and counties various surnames were located.

For Scotland, he divided the country into four regions: Scottish Border Counties, the Lowlands south of the Forth, Central Scotland, and the Highlands north of Forfarshire, Perthshire, and Argyllshire.

Because a lot of romance readers love books set in Scotland, and particularly in the Highlands, I thought I’d share those Highland names he pinpointed more than a century ago.

Here’s the List

Cruickshank

Cumming

Duncan

Farquhar

Farquharson

Forbes

Geddes

Fordon

Grant

Innes

Low

Lumsden

McDonald

McIntosh

Mackintosh

McKay

MacKay

McKenzie

Mackenzie

McKie

Mackie

McLeod

Macleod

McPherson

Macpherson

McRae

Macrae

Middleton

Milne

Munroe

Rennie

Ross

Stephen

Strachan

Sutherland

Urquhart

Watt

Now that we live in such a global village, I’m betting you know many, many people with those surnames. – Cheryl Bolen, whose latest release is Last Duke Standing, Book 3 in the Lords of Eton.

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4 thoughts on “Authentic Highland Names

  1. For first names, here are some of the first names of officers in Scots regiments on the Peninsula, in no particular order: Hamilton, Baillie, Ewn, Stewart, Duncan, Donald, Buchan, Dugald [still the old spelling note you] Kenneth, Lachlan, Gideon, Alexander, Hector, John, William, Archibald [no longer Erkenbald] Charles, David, Lennox, Guy, Leckie [from Alexander] Neil, James, Norman, Patrick [more Patricks from Ireland] Theodore, Malcolm, Sholto, Nugent, Keith, Esmé, Erskine, Robert, Alpin, Colquhoun [bless you] Maxwell, Aeneas/Eneas, Kewan, Allan, Angus, Godfrey, Reginald, Murdoch, Digby, Terence, Mungo, Bartholomew, Denis, Gregor, Ronald, Hugh, Illay

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