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Hello all ---

I just read the following letter to the editor in one of a number of 
(  RootsWeb-Review-request@rootsweb.com  )that I suscribe to and thought it 
would be of interest to the list members .

Joe Greigg


The experience reported by Glenn Gibb (or Glendinning) [ML 5:34]
is less unusual than he might have thought. The idea that non-
armigerous people in Scotland inherit their surnames is a 20th-
century innovation. In Scots law a surname is a description or 
identification, not an admission of paternity. Of course, it is 
usually the task of the father of a child (as its legal 
guardian, not directly as its parent) to "take unto it" a 
surname with which to start life, and this is today usually the
father's surname, but there is nothing in Scots law to insist 
that, for the non-armigerous, it must be the father's surname. 
Accordingly, it is possible in ancestral searches to be misled 
by finding siblings with different surnames, and the farther 
back in history ancestor hunters venture, the greater the
possibility of experiencing this.

However, surnames recorded in the Registers of the Lord Lyon 
descend with the arms, just as do peerage titles. The name in 
which arms are granted or matriculated or confirmed is a "name 
of dignity," and to change it requires from the Lord Lyon a 
"Certificate regarding Change of Name." Such changes are usually
a result of a "name and arms" clause in a will that requires a
legatee to change name and arms with the approval of the Lord 
Lyon in order to benefit from an inheritance. Such changes have 
not been uncommon in Scotland's history, and even today one can
immediately call to mind full brothers with different surnames.

I hope this will act as a useful caveat for those researching 
Scots ancestry.
                          Frederick Hogarth, The Baronage Press
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