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Scotch Irish Surnames

by Tiffany Burrows

The term Scotch-Irish is used mostly in the U.S. In England and Ireland, the same group is called Ulster Scots, since they had descended from the Lowland Scots who had settled in the northern Irish province of Ulster. Fleeing religious persecution and economic hardships, the Scotch-Irish immigrated to the United States mostly in the eighteenth century, settling largely in Pennsylvania.

Craig

The surname Craig is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word "creag," which means "a rock." The name first appears in records in the areas of Lanarkshire and Ayrshire around the year 1180. Spelling variations of the surname existed even within the same family. Common alternate spellings include Craigh, Creag, and Creagh, according to HouseofNames.com.

Irwin

The surname Irwin was originally given to people living in the parish of Irving in the county of Dumfriesshire or the parish of Irvine in the county of Strathclyde. During medieval times, scribes spelled surnames phonetically. As a result, variations of the name emerged, including Erwine, Irvine, Erwine, and Irwing, among many others. The earliest recorded Irwin was William de Irwin, armor bearer to King Robert Bruce, according to HouseofNames.com.

McDonald

McDonald means "son of Donald," with Donald meaning "world ruler." Spellings for this surname varied from one generation to the next. Also, accents often shaped how surnames were spelled. If a Scot moved to another area or country such as England, that person would spell the surname based on the way it sounded there. Common alternative spellings include MacDonald, McDonnell, and McDaniel, according to Scottish-Genealogy.org.

McLaughlin

The surname McLaughlin has variants in Irish and Scottish. The Irish form, Lachlan, is derived from MacLochlainn, which means "son of Lochlan" and often takes English forms such as MacLaughlin or MacLoughlin. In Scotland, the surname most often appears as Maclachlan but takes the English form McLaughlin in other countries. The word "loch" that forms part of this surname means "lake" in Old Irish. However, the word Lochlan can also refer to the homeland of Norse invaders of the ninth and tenth centuries. The first person to use this name may have been Domnall MacLochlainn, the High King of Ireland, who died in 1121, according to ClanMacLochlainn.com.

About the Author

Tiffany Burrows graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree. She was on the yearbook staff in high school. While in college, she was an intern a local television station. She contributes to eHow and Answerbag through Demand Studios.

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