Early Blantyre Surnames

I’ve been researching the first and founding surnames of Blantyre.

Prior to 1699, and leaving aside the nobility, there is evidence of some prominent and long standing surnames in this area, some of which still exist today.

Between 1553 and 1699, there were only 304 registered births in the Parish Register for Blantyre. Think about that for a moment. In that 146 year period, only 304 births, on average only 2 people a year born! Thats perhaps a good indication of how rural and unpopulated the hamlets within Blantyre Parish were in the 16th and 17th Centuries. What about the names then? Who were these “founding Blantyre families” who would help shape the farms, homes and hamlets. Staying with a time from 1553 – 1699, they were in alphabetical order:

Allan, Anderson or Andersone, Arbuckle, Borland or Bordland, Boyd, Broun or Brown, Brunlie, Christie, Clark or Clerk, Coats or Cotts, Crag or Criag or Criage, Cuthbert, Decks, Dyks, Fairservice, Fleming, Folds, Gilcrison, Gilkerson, Gilmer or Gilmoor or Gilmour, Graham, Haddo or Haddow, Hamilton or Hamiltoune, Henderson, Hog or Hogge or Hoggs, Jackson or Jacksone, Liddel or Lyddell, Lindsay, Lyon, Maxwell, Millar, Miller, Monro or Monroe, Montgomerie, Neismith, Orr, Paterson or Patterson, Pollock, Scott, Sellar or Sillar, Sim or Sym, Smith, Steill, Stephan, Steven, Stewin, Stivensone, Strange, Struthers, Syme, Thomson or Thomsone, Tours or Towrs or Tures, Trembl or Trumbl, Turnbull, Watson, Williamson and Wilson.

Indeed all 304 registered births had one of these 57 ‘original’ surnames. I was surprised to see some French influence in some of the names. By far the most births were attributable to Coats,  Jackson and Miller families.

This is of course not to say that there were other births in that time. Perhaps not registered. It is also telling of Blantyre’s growth that in the next 50 years from 1700 – 1750, there were as many again than had happened in the previous 146 years! By 1750 the population of Blantyre was around 500 people.

Is YOUR name or perhaps a variation of it on one of these original surnames?

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