Fam­ily names

The Oban Times - - Community News -

TRA­DI­TIONAL Chris­tian names are com­ing back into fash­ion, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent na­tional sur­vey.

Not so long ago, it was the cus­tom in the High­lands and is­lands to name new-born fe­males af­ter close male rel­a­tives who had died from nat­u­ral causes or had been killed in the war. Hence we have Hughina, Mur­dina, Wil­helmina and Johnalda to give just a few ex­am­ples.

There was also a well- es­tab­lished for­mula for car­ry­ing for­ward fam­ily names which, if strictly ad­hered to, would al­low any­one to trace their fore­bears with­out hav­ing to rely on writ­ten records which did not come into be­ing much be­fore 1855 other than what might be recorded in fam­ily bi­bles.

The first son was called af­ter his fa­ther’s fa­ther; the sec­ond son af­ter his mother’s fa­ther, the third son af­ter his fa­ther’s fa­ther’s fa­ther; the fourth son af­ter his mother’s mother’s fa­ther; the fifth son af­ter his fa­ther’s mother’s fa­ther; the sixth son af­ter his mother’s fa­ther’s fa­ther and the eleventh through to the four­teenth sons af­ter their mother’s four great grand­fa­thers.

The first daugh­ter was named af­ter her mother’s mother; the sec­ond daugh­ter af­ter her fa­ther’s mother; the third daugh­ter af­ter her mother’s fa­ther’s mother; the fourth daugh­ter af­ter her fa­ther’s fa­ther’s mother; the fifth daugh­ter af­ter her mother’s mother’s mother; the sixth daugh­ter af­ter her fa­ther’s mother’s mother; the sev­enth through to the tenth daugh­ters af­ter their mother’s four great grand­fa­thers and the eleventh through to the four­teenth daugh­ters af­ter their farmer’s four great grand­moth­ers.

How the par­ents re­mem­bered all this rig­ma­role is al­most be­yond belief but, of course, the hu­man mem­ory ap­pears less re­li­able to­day than it was yesterday.

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