This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Smith most common surname in Scotland
Smith, Brown and Wilson are the top three surnames in Scotland, according to a survey published today.
The survey, carried out by the General Register Office for Scotland for the years 1999-2001, found that there has been little change in surnames over the last 140 years.
The main findings are as follows:
- Smith, Brown and Wilson are currently the top three surnames in Scotland;
- Smith has been the most common surname in all surveys since that covering the early years of civil registration;
- On a national basis, there has been little change in surnames over 140 years;
- Just over 1 in 8 surnames begin with Mac/Mc;
- Patterns of surnames differ widely in different geographical areas.
In addition the paper contains some analysis of surnames from the 1901 Census and previous surveys of surnames conducted by the Registrar General for Scotland over the last 140 years.
The top 20 Surnames in Scotland, using a sample of over 335,000 names from registrations in 1999,2000 and 2001 are:
1. SMITH 4,291
2. BROWN 3,030
3. WILSON 2,876
4. CAMPBELL 2,657
5. STEWART 2,626
6. THOMSON 2,616
7. ROBERTSON 2,536
8. ANDERSON 2,297
9. MACDONALD 1,844
10. SCOTT 1,839
11. REID 1,771
12. MURRAY 1,690
13. TAYLOR 1,595
14. CLARK 1,574
15. ROSS 1,481
16. WATSON 1,390
17. MORRISON 1,388
18. PATERSON 1,382
19. YOUNG 1,373
20. MITCHELL 1,367
Data for the current survey has been collated from birth and death registrations in the years 1999 - 2001. This resulted in a total sample of over 335,000 events spread over the three-year period. A change from previous practice was the omission from the sample of marriage registrations, due to the increasing proportion of marriages taking place in Scotland between persons not resident in Scotland.
As in previous surveys, the current survey does not distinguish between the varying use of capital letters within surnames, e.g.
MacDonald/Macdonald. Smith is the most common surname, accounting for 1.3 per cent of the sample. The top ten names account for 7.9 per cent and the top 20 account for 12.4 per cent.
Information on the top 10 surnames in Scotland by area is available at www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/grosweb/grosweb.nsf/pages/01surnames together with analysis of surnames from the 1901 Census.