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Naming Patterns


The first son was named after the father's father.
The second son was named after the mother's father.
The third son was named after the father.
The fourth son was named after the fathers eldest brother.
The first daughter was named after the mother's mother.
The second daughter was named after the father's mother.
The third daughter was named after the mother.
The fourth daughter was named after the mothers eldest sister.


If Olaf had a daughter that he named Inga. Inga  would be named:  Inga Olafsdotter (or Olaf's daughter)
If Olaf had a son that he named Sven, his son would be called:  Sven Olafson.
When Sven has a daughter that he names Olga, Olga's name would be Olga Svensdotter.
Her brother Lars would be:  Lars Svenson.


Our Dunn family was really stuck in the pattern. William begot James, James Begot William, William begot James etc., etc., etc., down through the generations. It was the traditional Scots way of naming. This was also apparent in the women of our family. You will also find that middle names are quite significant if your ancestors are from Scotland. Often the middle name reflects a previous generation Sur-name. For instance, William Abercromie Dunn, was the son of James Dunn and Mary Birnie. James parents were William Dun (notice spelling change in descendants) and Margaret Abercrombie. William Abercrombie Dunn and his wife, Annie Young, named their children, in my grandfather's generation, with the same pattern as described first. His children were:

        James Dunn  no middle name (named for William's father)
        Robert Young Dunn  (named for wife's father:  First and middle name)
        William Birnie Dunn (named for father and middle name is that of William's mother.)
        Lillie Haddow Young Dunn (named for Annie's mother:  Lillias Haddow and her father's surname: Young)

My Grandfather: Andrew Carnegie Dunn, was a broken part of the pattern. William didn't have an older brother. The name, Andrew Carnegie, came from his employer and friend. The Andrew Carnegie, Steel Magnate.

Mary Birnie Dunn, named for William's mother, Mary Birnie.

This continues through the remaining 12 children. Sylvia was the first to discover the naming pattern when she did the initial research. She found alternating William and James and found it more than a coincidence. It didn't take long to discover that it was a common practice amongst the Scots.



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 by Jan Cortez 2003 - Present
with permission from Fred Bonjour, Joan Brausch, Denny Zank and Sandy Redmond 1996-2003.