Blue Thistle Genealogy

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Features about Scottish family history

A Confusion of Names !          (2)

At first glance, the idea of researching the Sives family in rural East Lothian looked like being pretty straightforward - Sives is an unusual name, rural areas have a small, fairly static, population base, and so forth.

However, these facts can also be complicating factors, unfortunately! If you have a set of parents who have several children, the likelihood is that all these children, when they married, will have followed the naming conventions of the time, giving their parents' Christian names to some of their children. In the case of sons, of course, the surname is also passed on.

For example, if John and Jessie Macdonald had 4 sons and 3 daughters, all of whom had families of their own, you might well end up, in generation 3, with 4 John Macdonalds, 4 Jessie Macdonalds,   plus 3 Johns and 3 Jessies some of whom might just have been given Macdonald as a middle name!

Add to this the fact most of these children would be born within a 10 -15 year period of one another, and that many of them would be in the same, or neighbouring parishes, and you have a recipe for total confusion!

Another couple of generations further on still re-using the same names, and you can appreciate the problems of identifying who were definitely the parents of whom!




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