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Fife Surnames

Anstruther

The Scottish King Alexander I bestowed land around Anstruther, Fife, to William de Candella in the 12th century. Future generations then took on the name of Anstruther. The family is thought to have descended from the Normans in Italy and may have assisted William the Conqueror in his battles. In the early 19th century, the estates of Carmichael in Lanarkshire came into the hands of the Anstruthers.

Balfour

This family is associated principally with lands around Markinch, Fife, and the name is linked to the River Ore (Bal-Orr). Early traditions suggest that the lands were granted in the reign of Duncan I, while later records show that family members included Mary Beaton, a lady in waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots; Cardinal Beaton; Sir Andrew Balfour, creator of the Botanic Garden of Edinburgh; and Arthur James Balfour, prime minister. Branches of the family are also associated with Kinloch, Burleigh, Denmylne, Forret and Torry.

Beaton

The Beatons or Bethunes claims descent from the Macbeths of Islay and Mull and the Beatons of Skye, who were physicians to the Chiefs of Macdonald. The name is also associated with Fife, where the most famous of the family was Cardinal Beaton.

Bruce

A family of Norman origin, the first Robert Bruce was granted land in Annandale in the Scottish borders in 1124. The Bruces later laid claim to the Scottish throne, Robert the Bruce eventually becoming King of Scotland in 1306. The name later became associated with estates in Clackmannan, Kinross an d Fife, where a branch of the family acquired title to the Earldom of Elgin. Cadet branches of the Bruce family acquired Kennet, Airth and the title of Lord Balfour of Burleigh.

Erskine

Taking their name from a barony in Renfrewshire, the Erskines are of Celtic origin. Sir Robert Erskine of that ilk, High Chamberlain of Scotland, helped to secure the release of David II and was rewarded with a grant of lands in Alloa . Sir Robert, the first Lord Erskine, claimed the ancient Earldom of Mar. Branches of the family also acquired the Estates of Dun in Angus, Pittodrie in Aberdeenshire, Cambo in East Fife and Torry in West Fife. Erskines also appear in Roxburgh in the Scottish borders.

Halkett

A surname that may be derived from the Lands of Halkhead in Renfrewshire. The name Halkett first appears in Scotland in the 13th century. The Halketts of Pitfirrane in Fife are said to have settled there as early as the 14th Century. Includes many variations such as Halket, Hagheid, Hacate and H acquett.

Henderson

A small branch of this family held lands in Upper Liddesdale in the Scottish borders. They were also to be found in Dumfriesshire and Fordell in Fife. A branch of the Clan Gunn also bears the name Henderson. The Hendersons of Glencoe have anglicised their name from the Gaelic MacEanruig. Alternatively Henryson (the son of Henry)

Hope

The name originates in Peebleshire, in the late 13th century. Family name of the Earls of Hopeton. The later Earls are descended from John de Hope, one the attendants of Queen Magdalen, the wife of James V. Also associated with Rankeillor in Fife.

Kinnear

A name derived from the lands of Kinnear, near Kilmany, in the East of Fife. Vassals of the Priory of St. Andrews, the Kinnears were associated with the lands of Kinnear for seven centuries.

Laing

Laing or Lang, an old english name meaning 'long' or 'tall', the name first appears in Scotland in the 14th century. It is sometimes used in Kintyre as a shortened form of Loynachan.

Leslie

Family name of the Earls of Leven. Associated with Aberdeenshire and Fife, most notably Ballinbreich Castle and the Town of Leslie.

Lindsay

A norman family, first appearing in Scotland in the 12th century as owners of the lands of Crawford near the head waters of the River Clyde. Families of the name subsequently spread throughout Scotland, but are particularly associated with Fife and Angus. Sir David Lindsay of Crawford, who witnesse d Scotland's Decleration of Independence, was the ancestor of the Earls of Crawford (the premier Earls of Scotland), Earls of Lindsay and Earls of Balcarres. A noted member of the family was Sir David Lindsay of the Mount.

Lorimer

A family name dervied from the Middle English for the maker of bits, spurs, stirrup-irons and other horse furniture. The Lorimers appear in Scotland during the 12th century as land owners in the Perth area. The name is found in Midlothian in the 15th century, Stirlingshire in the 16th century and la ter in Dumfriesshire. Can also be Lorrimer or Lorimar.

Lundy

Thought to be associated with the settlement of Lundie near Doune in Perthshire. The Lundys are associated with Fife by the beginning of the 13th century. They are linked to the villages of Lundie in Fife and also Lundie in Angus. The variations of this name include Lundie and Lundin.

MacDuff

Family associated with the Earls of Fife, it is also a gaelic personal name derived from Mac Dhuibh, or 'son of Dubh'.

Morton

A name derived from the settlement of Morton in Dumfriesshire and the lands of Morton or Myretoun in the Parish of Kemback in Fife. The name is probably a corrupted form of Muirtown. The name appears from the 14th Century and was adopted as the title of a branch of the Douglas family, who became the Earls of Morton.

Myers

Myer or Myers is a name generally derived from a residence near a bog or myre. The family of Myers held the office of Hereditary Macers and Sergeants at Arms of Falkland Palace. Their residence was at nearby Myers Castle on the outskirts of Dunshalt in the Parish of Auchtermuchty.

Myretoun

Myretoun or Myreton are variations of the name Morton.

Preston

Family name derived from the Barony of Preston in Midlothian, the name first appears in Scotland in the 13th century. Willam Preston brought from France the arm bone St Giles, which he gifted to the Church of St. Giles in Edinburgh. Sir Simon Preston of Craigmillar was Provost of Edinburgh in 1557. The name is also associated with the Prestons of Valleyfield, near Culross in Fife.

Sharp

The surname first appears in the 14th century, associated with the Barony of Kilbucho in the Scottish borders. The name later appears on Dumfries, Lanarkshire, Perthshire and Fife. The old gaelic name Macilheran was occasionally anglicised to Sharp. Alternatively Sharpe, Shairp or Scharp.

Sibbald

An old English name, first recorded in Scotland c. 1200 when Philip de Maleuille married Eva, daughter of Walter, son of Sibald. The name is later largely associated with Fife and Angus, although Sibbalds also appear in Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire. The name is thought to derive from a word meaning 'Sea Bold' or 'Victoriously Bold'. The most famous member of this family was the Fife naturalist and historian Sir Robert Sibbald (1641 - 1722).

Tyndall-Bruce

A family associated with the Estate of Falkland in Fife.

Wemyss

A Fife family name derived from the Scots 'weem' or Cave and associated with Caves on the North coast of the Firth of Forth that provided shelter for early Christian missionaries. The Caves gave their name to the estate of Wemyss, which belonged to the family of the same name from the mid-12th century. Sir John Wemyss of Wemyss was made one of the first Baronets of Nova Scotia, by Charles I, and created Lord Wemyss of Elcho in 1628, and Earl of Wemyss in 1633.

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