Naming Patterns

Scottish families sometimes used a specific tradition of naming their children after family members. Although this does not always apply to every family, it might provide a clue or two when trying to determine the name of an ancestor.

The ANCESTRAL Scottish Onomastic Child-naming Pattern

The 1st son was named for his father’s father.
The 2nd son was named for his mother’s father.
The 3rd son was named for his father’s father’s father
The 4th son was named for his mother’s mother’s father
The 5th son was named for his father’s mother’s father.
The 6th son was named for his mother’s father’s father.
The 7th through 10th sons were named for their father’s 4 great-grandfathers. 
The 11th through 14th sons were named for their mother’s 4 great-grandfathers.

The 1st daughter was named for her mother’s mother.
The 2nd daughter was named for her father’s mother.
The 3rd daughter was named for her mother’s father’s mother
The 4th daughter was named for her father’s father’s mother
The 5th daughter was named for her mother’s mother’s mother
The 6th daughter was named for her father’s mother’s mother
The 7th through 10th daughters were named for their mother’s 4 great-grandmothers. 
The 11th through 14th daughters were named for their father’s 4 great-grandmothers.


The PARENTAL Scottish Onomastic Child-naming Pattern

The 1st son was named for his father’s father.
The 2nd son was named for his mother’s father.
The 3rd son was named for his father.
The 4th son was named for his father’s eldest brother
The 5th son was named for his father’s next brother

The 1st daughter was named for her mother’s mother
The 2nd daughter was named for her father’s mother
The 3rd daughter was named for her mother
The 4th daughter was named for her mother’s eldest sister
The 5th daughter was named for her mother’s next eldest siste