Rampant Scotland Book Review
Scottish Forenames

Title: Scottish Forenames
Authors: Donald Whyte
Publisher: Birlinn
ISBN: 1874744726

From Aaron to Zoe, and all points in between, this book gives the origins, history and meaning of hundreds of forenames used in Scotland from the earliest times to the present day. It not only lists the earliest occurrences of names, it also traces their changing popularity and, by giving famous (and infamous) examples, shows the impact these have had on a name's popularity.

Thankfully, the book is in strict alphabetical sequence and has not been split into male and female sections as some other books on this subject have attempted to do. This makes it easier to look up a particular name, particularly those which are used by both sexes.

Donald Whyte is a founder member (in 1953) of the Scottish Genealogical Society and is President of the Association of Scottish Genealogists. He has lectured throughout the USA, Canada and the UK and has also written "Scottish Surnames and Families".

This is a very detailed book on Scottish forenames without being a heavyweight tome - it is after all "only" a paperback of some 200 pages. But it provides all the information that an amateur researcher would require to know, including diminutives and Gaelic equivalents. Consequently it provides a comprehensive reference work while at the same time being very readable. Since it was only published in 1996 it is also very up to date.

This book can be used as a good reference book on Scottish forenames by those who require it. But anyone who just wants to find out about the origins of their own name, or who is looking for a name with Scottish links for a child, will find it useful. After all, you don't want to out find out too late that you have just given your kid a name which means "heifer"!

There are other books in this field but this is probably as comprehensive as most of us would ever require, particularly at such a modest price.

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