What Are Some Scottish Family Names?


Quick Answer

Some Scottish last names are Smith, Brown, Wilson, Anderson and Thompson. Smith is the most common Scottish surname in the United States, followed by Brown and Wilson.

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Full Answer

Smith is common among those of Scottish, English and Irish heritage as well as among African-Americans, who trace their ancestry to slaves forced to adopt the names of their owners. In the 2000 census, more than 2 million Americans were surnamed Smith, and more than half a million people shared it in the United Kingdom. It is also common in Europe in various forms such as Schmidt in German and De Smid or Smit in Dutch. It literally means someone who works with iron.

The origin of the surname, Brown, is as a description of someone with brown hair, complexion or clothing. It is also the second most-common last name in Scotland and Canada and the third most-common in Australia. The surname is particularly concentrated in southern Scotland. Variations in other European languages include De Bruyn in Dutch, Brun in Danish, Le Brun in French and Braun in German.

The last name Wilson is of early medieval English origin and means "son of Will." However, the Scottish Wilsons are supposedly of Viking origin, and the name in that case was a derivation of "wolf's son." One prominent American with this last name was President Woodrow Wilson, who was the 28th U.S. president.

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