Scottish and Irish Naming Patterns

Typical Naming Pattern

Sons:

  • 1st born son named for father’s father
  • 2nd born son named for mother’s father
  • 3rd born son named for the father
  • 4th born son named for father’s oldest brother
  • 5th born son named for mother’s oldest brother

Daughters:

  • 1st born daughter named for mother’s mother
  • 2nd born daughter named for father’s mother
  • 3rd born daughter named for mother
  • 4th born daughter named for mother’s eldest sister
  • 5th born daughter named for father’s eldest sister

Middle Names

  • It was customary to give a middle name to a least one child after the surname of the local parish minister who christen the child
  • It was customary to name a child’s middle name after the surname of the person for whom they were named
  • It was common to give a child a middle name after the maiden name of the mother

Variations

  • If a child died during the parent’s childbearing years, it was common to use that child’s name again.
  • Sometimes named out of pattern to honor a person who has died.
  • Sometimes reversing the naming pattern (for example: naming the first born son after the mothers father)

These patterns are not exclusive rules but were used extensively in the 1700’s and up to the late 1800’s. It is felt that these patterns were followed as sign of respect and a sense of honor for their ancestors.