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Sutherland names in 1745 / 46

By Peter Lawrie, ©2015
 

In 1745, the Earl of Sutherland was firmly in the Hanoverian camp. He ordered his land agents to compile a list of the 'fencible' men between the ages of 16 and 60 capable of bearing arms. The result was a list of 2174 names from which he subsequently raised six companies of militia. While their military record was not inspiring, the list is a valuable resource as there a few other nominal lists extant for Sutherland in this period. For most of the parishes in Sutherland, parish records only began in the 1790s. The full list can be downloaded here. The agents were largely English speakers attempting to gather names from a largely monoglot Gaelic population. Thus there are variations in spelling which I have standardised when it is obvious that, for example bayn and bain; buy and buie; or to take Lowland examples: denune and denoon; or lesley and leslie are the same. While the names are overwhelmingly Highland, the numbers of Lowland names at this time seems greater than might be expected.

The nine parishes controlled by the Earl and the numbers listed are as follows

Clyne, 155
Creich, 309
Dornoch, 373
Farr, 299
Golspie, 208
Lairg, 181
Loth, 176
Kildonan, 188
Rogart, 285

Out of a total 40 different first names, the most common were (I have anglicised the gaelic forms in brackets)
453 John (Iain)
290 Donald (Domnal)
288 Alexander (Alasdair)
284 William (Uilleam)
137 George (Seoras)
124 Robert (Raibert)
100 Hugh (Uisdean)
93 James (Seamus)
88 Angus (Aonghas)
1961 out of 2174


Surnames were more varied (around 229 in total) and included some patronymics There were
314 MacKay
203 Sutherland
149 Ross
102 Murray
88 Munro
78 MacDonald
67 Gun
65 MacLeod
62 Gordon
55 Matheson
44 MacKenzie
1227 out of 2174

Muster roll of the Sutherland Estate in 1745/46