Scottish and Irish Naming Patterns

Typical Naming Pattern


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.

The passing of a generation: Aunt Ellie RIP (1915-2013)

I received this email from one of our cousins, Bill Sayre, sent last night Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

Dear Cousins,

My Aunt Ellie, Elnora Hart Johnson, passed away today at her home in Florida. She was the last of my mother’s generation and will be sorely missed. She was attended by her daughter, Nancy and grandson, Chad, and was lucid until the end.

Elnora Hart Johnson

She had suffered a previous stroke, a recent heart attack and was believed to have had a cancerous mass in her colon.

Aunt Ellie was a surrogate mother to me and my sisters since we lost our mother (Ellie’s older sister) in 1955. She was also the person to whom the book, A Family Journal, was dedicated. I am so thankful she was able to enjoy its content between Christmas and now. She was overwhelmed by the project we all helped produce and wrote two thank-you notes to me. In fact, her daughter brought it to the hospital to share passages prior to her death.

It now falls to us in our generation to pick up the torch and hold it high. We are Harts, loving and proud.


Our Loss.

Dorothy Estelle (Burke) Rainson was born in Waterloo Iowa over 94 years ago.

Dorothy, or as I always called her” Aunt Trassie”, was a person who would always find the good in everyone and could always find the positive in a bad situation. She was the person who could always make you feel better. When I was around 3 years old or younger, my mother and Aunt Trassie took me and my cousin to get our childhood vaccinations, a very frightening experience. Her radiant and infectious smile combined with her comforting voice made my childhood vaccinations more palatable. That was my earliest memory of Aunt Trassie.

Her always positive attitude and thoughts, even at a time when things look the most bleak, made her shine and stand above the rest. This same resolve was always a comfort for those she would console during their times of despair. During the time my mother was dying, Aunt Trassie dropped everything and flew many miles to be with her. I know she did this not to be just with my mother, but she was there to help the rest of us get through a very hard time.

Throughout the years, after every meeting or conversation with Aunt Trassie, I was always left feeling good and smiling.

There are many people who could relate the same admiration for Dorothy’s demeanor.

I will miss her smile, laughter and the wonderful stories she would tell, but I do take comfort in the fact that I was able to know and love a truly good and wonderful person, who is now with God.

The Journal

Not often does someone have the foresight to document their life for future generations to view. In the case of William H. Hart, not only did he document a portion of his life in a journal, but he also provided valuable information he gathered at various family reunions. William also gathers various anecdotal tidbits of information from and about his parents and grandparents. While William questions if anyone will even look at his writings or gain information from them. Little does he know that almost 90 years later he has provided us with a view of our family history that we could have only guessed at without the information he has shared with us. It is one thing for him to have written the journal, but without the dedication of his grandson who has preserved and shared William’s writings we may never have gained this insightful view. We thank William Hart for preserving a piece of history for us, and thank his grandson William Sayre for sharing the history with us.

More information from the journal will be provided in future postings