Author Topic: Scottish surname change  (Read 448 times)

Offline mientajb

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Scottish surname change
« on: Tuesday 05 September 17 21:32 BST (UK) »
My ancestor was born John McKennay in Maybole, Ayrshire, in 1802. His predecessors also appear to be McKennays in the same area. By 1824, however, in his first marriage he is shown as McKinnon. His second marriage is the same and the Mckinnon name has continued until this day.

I have checked on Scotlands People and there do not appear to be any Mckinnons in Ayr, birth/marriage/death in the period from 1700 to 1800. However, by the early 1800's there appear to be many Mckinnons in Ayr.

I read somewhere that certain clan names were proscribed following the Jacobite uprisings and that this was not rescinded until the 19th Century. Is this correct as this may be an explanation for the name change. The McKinnon clan certainly fought for the cause.
Bookless,Varty, Collins, Birchall, Nicholson, Corlett, Barnett

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Offline iluleah

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Re: Scottish surname change
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 05 September 17 21:40 BST (UK) »
It is much more likely a simpler explanation and that would be people in the main didn't read/write so they wrote X when they needed to sign any document and so as spelling was unimportant at that time, words were spelt how they sounded...so he told some scribe his name and it was written down as it sounded to that person, next day he had to put his mark X and told that scribe his name and it was written down as it sounded to him... only when someone down the line could write their name did they do that but over the decades/centuries prior the name could be spelt differently each and everytime it was written
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Offline Skoosh

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Re: Scottish surname change
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 05 September 17 21:42 BST (UK) »
The only name to be proscribed was MacGregor & that was long before the Jacobite rebellions. Galloway surnames had some strange variations. could that be the case here!

Skoosh

Offline Rosinish

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Re: Scottish surname change
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 05 September 17 22:37 BST (UK) »
I agree with iluleah but...

I think not only was it written how it sounded but what the scribe thought it should be, knowing the person giving the info. was illiterate i.e. if a name which the scribe hadn't come across before may have assumed it to be one which was known to them?

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Offline majm

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Re: Scottish surname change
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 06 September 17 04:22 BST (UK) »
Agree and offer the following thread with example of Macquarie, a Scot, a governor of NSW, and the chap who directed the establishment of the first civil BDM register for NSW.  :)  He could vary the spelling of his own surname several times within the one document that he wrote in his own hand.   :)
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=770638.0

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Offline kinnigit

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Re: Scottish surname change
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 06 September 17 06:07 BST (UK) »
Also my great grandmother Edith McKay - born Michie in Ayrshire but the family name was recorded as McKay when the family arrived in New Zealand in the 1870s.  I blame a mishearing of the name and an illiterate James Michie her father.

Offline sallyyorks

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Re: Scottish surname change
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 06 September 17 07:24 BST (UK) »
Agree with the other replies.

I have a branch in England whose name is written in records, both parish and census, as a diffferent spelling, or name even, in every record right up to the 1870/80s.

At first we thought it was simply  mistrancribed but on examining the original image it really does change with each record. In some cases quite starkly. Just about every census transcription had to be corrected on an*cstry up to the 1880s and for each of the brothers of the family. 

Technically you are supposed to transcribe what is written exactly on the original image and so it had been transcribed correctly , but they would have been a nightmare to find for future researchers if the name they settled on later, when they became literate, had not been edited as one unified name/spelling.

It had taken three of us as researchers quite some time to untangle all the name variations.

Offline Forfarian

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Re: Scottish surname change
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 06 September 17 08:23 BST (UK) »
I read somewhere that certain clan names were proscribed following the Jacobite uprisings and that this was not rescinded until the 19th Century. Is this correct as this may be an explanation for the name change. The McKinnon clan certainly fought for the cause.
I think 1802 is far too late for a Jacobite rising to have anything to do with  your ancestor changing his name. Perhaps one of his relatives had a brush with the law and his branch decided that an adjustment of surname would be expedient?
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Offline mientajb

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Re: Scottish surname change
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 06 September 17 18:13 BST (UK) »
Many thanks for all of your replies. You are probably right and I am reading too much into this.
I still find it interesting that there were no McKinnons in the parish records of Ayrshire for over a hundred years and then there were lots.
Thanks again.
Bookless,Varty, Collins, Birchall, Nicholson, Corlett, Barnett