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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 12:06 GMT
Most common surnames revealed
John Smith, Gordon Brown and Brian Wilson
Smith, Brown and Wilson are the most common surnames

Smith, Brown and Wilson are the three most common surnames in Scotland, according to a new report.

The General Register Office for Scotland survey said that more than one in every eight last names begins with Mac or Mc.

The data comes from the registration of births and deaths over a three year period from 1999.

Smith has been the most common surname in all surveys since the early years of civil registration.

1. Smith
2. Brown
3. Wilson
4. Campbell
5. Stewart
6. Thomson
7. Robertson
8. Anderson
9. Macdonald
10. Scott
11. Reid
12. Murray
13. Taylor
14. Clark
15. Ross
16. Watson
17. Morison
18. Paterson
19. Young
20. Mitchell

The report says that, on a national basis, there has been little change in surnames over the past 140 years.

However, the patterns of surnames differs widely in different geographical areas.

Smith is the most common name in 20 of the 32 local authority areas of Scotland, but in the Western Isles, Macleod is most common.

Macdonald is top of the list for the Highlands.

Orkney's most popular names are Rendall, Drever and Sinclair.

In Shetland, Johnson comes ahead of Smith, whereas in the Scottish Borders it is Scott which takes the top spot.

Stewart enjoys particular popularity in Stirling and Perth and Kinross.

The west of Scotland has a high proportion of names with Irish roots such as Kelly and Docherty.

O'Donnell and McLaughlin are also relatively common names in this area.

The survey used a sample of more than 335,000 names from registrations in 1999,2000 and 2001.

It does not distinguish between the varying use of capital letters within surnames such as MacDonald/Macdonald.



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