Clans, Septs, Names and Naming

 From Keith to Dick

Since I am tracing the Dick family line. I was very curious as to how we got from Keith to Dick.  I found the following information on http://www.thekeithclan.com/

The Dickson families of Inneresk, recorded in the Lyon’s register of 1672 derive from a Richard Keith, who was descendant from Keith-Marischal. Richard was known as “Dick”, and his descendants assumed the Dickson surname (some ended up as Dixon).

History of Surnames

Originally, people had no use for surnames. They lived in communities that were small enough that it was unlikely people would have the same given name. Also, people rarely traveled great distances so it was unlikely they would meet anyone sharing the same name. As communities grew and people started traveling more there became a need to differentiate between people sharing the same given name. This caused surnames to come into existence.

Surnames were originally given to a single person. These surnames would change from generation to generation, making it difficult to keep track of family relationship. As time moved on people stopped changing surnames from generation to generation.

Permanent surnames began to be used in Scotland around the 12th century, but were initially mainly the preserve of the upper echelons of Scottish society. However, it gradually became necessary to distinguish ordinary people one from the other by more than just the given name and the use of Scottish surnames spread. In some Highland areas, though, fixed surnames did not become the norm until the 18th century, and in parts of the Northern Isles until the 19th century.

http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/content/help/index.aspx?560

Clan Surnames

The variety of surnames within a Scottish clan do not represent separate and definable sub-clans but instead reflect the vagaries of transition of the Gaels into the English naming system as well as marriages, migrations and occupations.  The Scots Gaelic for Clan Keith is Ceiteach. (Click here to hear it pronounced.)

Many who belong to Clan Keith do not bear the Keith surname. Some descend through a maternal line. Others derive from genetic Keiths who assumed different surnames, and still others come from families which gathered under the banner of the Clan Keith in early times and are considered equal to Keiths in their belonging. Clansmen of the latter two definitions derive from what are called “septs”.  They include:

Austin, Cate(s), Dickson, Dixon, Dixson, Dick, Falconer, Faulkner, Harvey, Hackston, Haxton, Hervey, Hurrie, Hurry, Keath, Keech, Keeth, Keyth, Kite, Lumgair, MacKeith, Marshall, Urie, Urry

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