Septs of CLAN FRASER
When Dr. George Fraser Black [1866-1948] retired after 35 years with The New York Public Library, he prepared for publication the material on Scottish surnames collected over 40 years. Publishers in the 1930s were hesitant to take on a work which they did not consider a "best seller", without a financial guarantee, which the author was unable to provide. In 1939 the prospect of publication in Britain was dashed by the outbreak of war. So, starting in August 1943, the entire work was published by installment in the Bulletin of the N.Y. Public Library. In 1993 The Surnames of Scotland, containing over 8000 entries, was in its 10th hardcover printing, and came out with its first paperback and first U.K. edition.
In the Introduction Dr Black noted: A great many things were done two, three, or more hundred years ago to 'please the lairds' and 'changing ones surname was one of these things.' It was by this means that Clan Mackenzie was so rapidly enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries. Its rapid increase was due to the inclusion of the old native tenants living on the territories acquired by the chiefs from time to time, conciliated, or when needed, coerced, so as to make them good Mackenzie subjects and soldiers.
Another method used by chiefs of clans to increase the number of followers bearing their name was to bribe poor parents with a 'bow o meal' to substitute in respect of their children the clan surname for their own. An old Gaelic saying around Beauly illustrative of this is Frisealach am boll a mine, 'Frasers of the boll of meal,' indicating that some Bissets had changed their name from Bisset to Fraser for that reason. We have records of this among Farquharsons, Forbeses, and Gordons.
Surnames in the Highlands are of comparatively late date. In charters and other documents even as late as the first quarter of the 18th century we have examples wherein a man is designated by his father's, and sometimes by his father's and grandfather's names. In 1718 we find John Mc Unlay keaneir for John Mac Fhionnlaidh mhic Iomhair, i.e., John son of Finlay son of Iver.
Black also commented on the corrupt spelling
of names: During the Middle Ages the knowledge of the art of writing was confined
largely to churchmen. They wrote down the names in forms suggested by their sound.
By the end of the 15th century the spelling of names in the public records of
Scotland appears to have become completely demoralized, and the same name may be found
spelled half-a-dozen ways in the same document. Writing before 1666 the Rev. James Fraser
[author of the Wardlaw MS] remarks that 'it is an epidemicall disease to
which many ancient surnames are subject, to be ill spelled and variously disguised in
writing,' and true it is there was no greater sinner in spreading this disease than Fraser
himself! This 'epidemicall disease' was also noted by a writer of the 16th century
who remarks of a contemporary that he vreeitis not veill and spellis far var.'
In The Surnames of Scotland, George F. Black describes Sept as a Scots word meaning sub division of a clan, and explains the origin, meaning and history of some of these Sept names and variations in spelling thereof, as follows:
Bisset - A diminutive of bis,
for rock dove". From the English Biseys, brought by William the Lion in
1174, to seek their fortune in the Scottish Court. Henricus Byset witnessed a
charter by William the Lion granted before 1198, and his son, John Byset, obtained from
the king the grant of lands in the north. In 1242 Walter Byset, lord of Aboyne, after
being worsted by the young earl of Atholl in a tournament at Haddington, burned the house
in which the earl slept, and the earl with it. For this crime, Walter Byset and his
nephew, John Byset (founder of the Priory of Beauly in 1231) were exiled, their property
devolving to others of the family.
Brewster - From brewer or brewster - originally a womans occupation. Thomas le Breuester in the county of Lanark rendered homage in 1296. Johannes dictus Brouster held land in Aberdeen in 1382, Robert Brewester, a Scot, received letters of denisation in England in 1480, another Robert Broustar was burgess of Glasgow in 1487, William Broster held land in Arbroath in 1513, Thomas Brouster was curate to Sir John Swinton of that Ilk in 1515, and Duncanus Broustir appears in Murthlac in 1550. In the north, this name is a translation of Macgruar (brewers son).
Cowie - Pronounced Cooie or Ku-ie. From the ancient barony of Cowie in Kincardineshire. Sir Alexander Fraser, 1st of Cowie, was Chamberlain of Scotland (1319-26). Herbert de Cowy witnessed a charter by Nicholas de Dumfres in 1394. John Cowy was admitted burgess of Aberdeen, 1505. Janet Cowie or Cuj was a witch in Elgin in 1646. A family of the name was long associated with Newburgh, Fife, and John Colwye, bailie of Newburcht, is recorded in 1617.
Frew - Derived from lands in the district of Menteith, known as the Fords of Frew. Alexander Frew witnessed a bond of friendship, 1581, David Frew was reader at the Kirk of Dunrossness, 1624, Robert Frew was portioner in Gattonsyde in 1693, a pension was paid to Elizabeth Frew in Edinburgh, 1735, and James Frew was tenant in Shankhead of Kilsyth in 1795.
Frissell, Frizell - Old forms of Fraser. Walter Freselle had a safe conduct into England, 1424. David Frysaille witnessed resignation of lands of Walle in 1474. John Fresall was parson of Douglas in 1482, dean of Lestalrig and canon of Glasgow, 1491-93. Alexander Frizell is recorded in Milhill of Wandale, Lanarkshire, 1734.
Grewar, Grewer - Shortened from MacGruar, who appear to have settled in Kindrocht (now known as Braemar) in the 15th century. John Grewyr was tenant in Fortour c.1520, and Thomas Growar, burgess freeman of Glasgow, 1628.
Mackim - Gaelic MacShim, son of Sim, diminutive of Simon. Ranald McKym was tenant in part of Cullychmoir, Delny, in 1539.
Mackimmie - Gaelic MacShimidh, son of Simon. Probably derived from the Simon Fraser killed at Halidon Hill, 1333.
Macsimon - son of Simon. The Lovat chiefs are Mackimmies.
Mactavish - From Gaelic MacTámhais,
a form of MacThamhais, son of Tammas the Lowland Scots of Thomas.
Mactavishes are numerous in Argyllshire. The Craignish MS says the
Mactavishes or Clan Tavish of Dunardarie descend from Tavis Corr, second illegitimate son
of Gillespick, son of Callen moir math, good bald Coline (SHSM, iv, p.207).
The Mactavishes of Stratherrick are considered a sept of the Frasers.
Sim, Sime, Sym, Syme - Diminutives of Simon, Simeon. Sim is not always representative of Clan MacShimidh and is a common English name as well. John Syme was a friend of Robert Burns, and surgeon James Syme (1799-1870) was born in Fife.
Simon - The personal name of the Frasers of Lovat. In Gaelic with Mac prefixed, MacShimidh, it is pronounced Mackimmie.
Simson, Simpson, Symson - son of Sim. William Symsoun was burgess in Edinburgh, 1405. David Sympsone was elected common councillor in Aberdeen, 1477. Weillie Symsone was a tenant of the abbot of Kelso, 1567. Andrew Symson, Printer to the Kings most excellent Majesty was an Episcopal minister prior to the Revolution in 1688, when the bigotry of Presbyterianism deprived him of his living and he turned printer.
Twaddel, Twaddle - From Tweeddale, where the Frasers moved from East Lothian in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Tweedie - From the lands of Tweedie in the parish of Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, but it is also a very old name in Peebleshire. The Tweedies had the reputation of being a savage race and were always ready to misuse their strength to dominate their neighbours.
There is a wonderful legend about the origin of the Tweedies. A knight of Tweeddale in the 12th century, after fighting for many years in the Holy Land crusades, finally returned to Scotland to find his lady love with a boy playing at her feet. When the knight asked, "Where did he come from?" his wife was quick to respond, "From the Tweed. His father is the spirit of the Tweed himself."
At the beginning of the 14th century the lands of Drumelzier passed to the Tweedies through marriage with a daughter of Sir William Fraser of Drumelzier. By the 1500s they were at the height of their power and were constantly at odds with rival clans. In 1559 James Tweedie of Drumelzier, John Tweedie of Fruid and his brothers William, Patrick and John, along with Thomas Tweedie, were accused of the cruel slaughter of William Geddes, son and apperand air [sic] to Charles Geddes of Cuthilhall but got off with fines and warnings from the Privy Council. William Tweedie of Drumelzier and Adam Tweedie of Dreva were among those charged in the brutal murder in 1565 of David Rizzio, personal secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, but both escaped punishment. Adam Tweedie of Dreva attacked Robert Rammage, slicing off his ears but, when taken before the Court of Judiciary in January 1566, was absolved. In 1592 James Tweedie and his friends murdered James Geddes in the Cowgate in Edinburgh. Pennecuik in 1715 described the Tweedies of Drumelzier as a powerful and domineering family now quite extinct.
Below is the most extensive list I have found:
ABERNATHER ABERNATHIE ABERNATHY ABERNEATHIE ABERNETHI
ABERNETHY ABERNETTI ABERNYTHE ABIRNATHER ABIRNATHIE
ABIRNETHIE ABIRNETHNY ABIRNIDHR ABIRNYTHY ABRENETHY
ABRENETHYN ABRENYTHE ABRENYTHI ABRENYTHIE ABRENYTHYN
ABRNNETE ABURNETHE ALBIRNYTH
BESACK BESAT BESATE BESEK BESET
BESSAT BISCET BISET BISETH BISEY
BISSAIT BISSAITE BISSART BISSAT BISSATGE
BISSED BISSET BISSETH BISSETT BISSOTT
BIZET BRACIATOR BREUESTER BREWESTER BREWSTER
BROISTAR BROSTAR BROSTER BROUSTAR BROUSTARE
BROUSTER BROUSTIR BROWISTARE BROWSTARE BROWSTER
BUISEID BUSET BYSET BYSETH BYSSATE
CIM CIMOCKES COLVIE COLWYE
COUYE COVIE COVY COWIE COWY
COWYE CUJ CYM CYMUND
FFEIZER FFRASER FFRAYSER FRAHER FRAISER
FRAISSER FRAISSIER FRAIZER FRASAIR FRASEE
FRASEIR FRASER FRASHER FRASHIER FRASHURE
FRASIER FRASSEL FRASSER FRASUER FRASURE
FRAYSER FRAYSSER FRAYSUIR FRAZAR FRAZEE
FRAZER FRAZIER FRAZURE FRAZZAR FRESAL
FRESALE FRESALL FRESARE FRESEL FRESELIERE
FRESELL FRESELLE FRESER FRESILL FRESLE
FRESSAIR FRESSELYE FRESSER FREYSER FREZEL
FREZILLE FRICHELL FRISALE FRISELL FRISELLE
FRISER FRISSAL FRISSELL FRISSELLE FRIZELL
FRIZELLE FRYSAILLE FRYSSAR FRYSSELL FRYSSER
GELRUTH GILLEROTH GILLERVRICH GILLREITH GILLROFF
GILLROID GILREATH GILREBTH GILREITH GILROD
GILROOTH GILROTH GILROUTH GILROWTH GILROY
GILRUCHT GILRUFF GILRUTH GILRUTHT GILRWIF
GILRWITHT GREWAR GREWER GREWYR GROWAR
GRUAR GRUDGEAR GRUER GYLLEROCH GYLRUTH
LOVAT LOVETH LOVETT LOVATT
M'ALWRAITH M'GHILLE-REOCH M'GILLERAWYTH M'GILLEREACH
M'GILLEREITH M'GILLEREOCH M'GILLEREWYCHE M'GILLERWRICHE M'GILREWY
M'GRUDER M'ILERITH M'ILLEREOCH M'ILLREAVE M'ILLRIE M'ILLVRIKE M'ILLWRICK
M'ILRAE M'ILRAW M'ILREVIEW M'ILROYCH M'ILURAICK M'ILWRAITEH M'ILWRAITH
M'ILWRATHE M'KEMY M'KHIMY M'KIMMY M'KTAUS M'KYMMIE M'RUDDER M'TAVEIS M'THAMAIS
MACGILLERIABHACK MACGILLREICK MACGREWER MACGROUTHER
MACGROWTHER MACGRUAR MACGRUDAIRE MACGRUDDER MACGRUDER
MACGRUER MACGRUTHAR MACGRUTHER MACILARAITH MACILARITH
MACILLERIACH MACILLERIBHAICH MACILLRICK MACILLURICK MACILRAIACH
MACILRAITH MACILRAVIE MACILREACH MACILREAVIE MACILREVIE
MACILRIE MACILURAITH MACILURICK MACILWRAITH MACILWRICK
MACILWRITH MACIMMEY MACIMMIE MACK HIMY MACKEMMIE
MACKILRAITH MACKIM MACKIMMIE MACKYMMEY MACRITHER
MACSHIM MACSHIMES MACSHIMIDH MACSIMON MACSYMON
MACTAMHAIS MACTAVISH MACTHAMHAIS MAGILLEREACH MAGILLEREACHT
MAK HYMME MAK KYMIE MAK KYMMY MAKE GILLE REE MAKEKYMME
MAKEMI MAKEMY MAKGILLERCOCH MAKGRUDER MAKILREVE
MAKLEWREACH MAKRUDDER MAKYMMIE MCCHILLRIE MCCROUDER
MCELVRICK MCGILLEREACH MCGRADER MCGREVAR MCGROWDER
MCGRUER MCGRUTHER MCGRWDDER MCHRUDDER MCHRUDER
MCILLEREOCHE MCILLRIE MCILRIVICH MCILWRICK MCILWRITH
MCKEMIE MCKILLEREOCH MCKILWIRK MCKILWRATH MCKYM
MCKYMMIE MCTAEVIS MCTAWISCH MCTAWYS MCTHAVISH
MEIKLEVRICK MICKELWRATH MICKELWROCK MILLERITH
OLEVEIR OLEVER OLIFARD OLIFER OLIPHAR
OLIPHEIR OLIPHER OLIPHIR OLIVER OLIVIER
OLOVER OLVER OLYAR OLYPHERE OLYVER
SEMSOUN SIM SIMCOCK SIMCOCKES SIMCOX
SIME SIMECOK SIMEON SIMES SIMESON
SIMKINS SIMKINSON SIMMEY SIMMIE SIMMNIT
SIMMONDS SIMMONITE SIMMONS SIMMS SIMNETT
SIMON SIMOND SIMONDS SIMONETT SIMONETTUS
SIMONIS SIMONS SIMONSON SIMPKIN SIMPKINS
SIMPSON SIMS SINCOX SINKINS SINKONSON
SYM SYMAN SYMCOCKES SYMCOT SYMCOX
SYMCOXE SYME SYMEKOK SYMEON SYMES
SYMESONE SYMESOUNE SYMESSON SYMKINSON SYMMES
SYMMESON SYMMIE SYMNSON SYMOND SYMONDES
SYMONDESSON SYMONDSON SYMONET SYMONIS SYMONS
SYMONSON SYMONSOUND SYMONYS SYMOSUNE SYMOUNT
SYMPCOCK SYMPKYNN SYMPSON SYMPSONE SYMPSOUN
SYMPSOUNE SYMPTSUN SYMSON SYMSONE SYMSOUN
TOUDELL TUEDDAILL TUEDDALL TUEDI TUEDIE
TUEDIN TUEDV TUEDY TUEDYE TUEEDIE
TUEIDIE TUEYDIE TUODALL TUODELL TWADAL
TWADDALL TWADDELL TWADDLE TWEDALE TWEDDAILL
TWEDDALE TWEDDEL TWEDDELL TWEDDLE TWEDIE
TWEDY TWEDYE TWEEDALE TWEEDDALE TWEEDDELL
TWEEDDY TWEEDIE TWEEDLE TWEEDY TWEIDDY
TWIDALE TWIDDLE TWIDY TWODELL TWYDDIE