Scottish Place Names
- Atlanta, Georgia, USA
For comparability with other large cities around the world, Greater Atlanta has been defined as the entire urban area including and surrounding Atlanta, Smyrna, Marietta, Decatur, Forest Park, College Park and smaller incorporated cities in the central metropolitan area. This is a vast and rapidly growing metropolis, taking in Acworth, Holly Springs, Cumming and Buford in the north, Lawrenceville, Loganville and Conyers in the east, Stockbridge, Lovejoy and Fayetteville in the south and Peachtree City and Douglasville in the west.
Of the names of the 919 communities, neighbourhoods, districts and suburban estates in Greater Atlanta that have been identified to date, 164 (17.9%) are based, in whole or in part, on place names that can be found in Scotland, on Scottish family names, or on Scottish words. Of course, many of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but at least 65 (7.1%) of these appear to be exclusively Scottish.
Neighbourhoods, subdivisions, districts and suburbs with names that occur only in Scotland and not elsewhere in the British Isles, and/or are definitely, or most probably, of Scottish origin are:
- Aberdeen - Scotland's third largest city (shown here), having grown considerably in recent years through the discovery of oil in the North Sea. Prior to 1995 Aberdeen, Georgia, was a town in its own right and was indeed named for the Scottish city. Today, the community is one of five self-contained villages in Peachtree City (one of the newest planned cities in Georgia). It is interesting to note that two of the other villages in Peachtree City have been given Scottish names - Braelinn and Glenloch (see entries below).
- Adair Park - Adair is a Scottish family name originating in Galloway and appears to have been used interchangeably with Edgar/Edzear. This historic Atlanta neighbourhood was named for the Adair family of land speculators and property developers. In the late 19th century George Washington Adair formed the Atlanta Real Estate Company. By the time of Adair's death in 1889, his company had become the largest developer of property in Atlanta. His sons, George and Forrest, continued the company, and began designing the Adair Park subdivision and selling lots in 1910. (National Park Service website)
- Adamson Twin Lake and Adamsons - Black (1996), the authority on Scottish family names, states that Adamson is "not an uncommon name" in present day Angus. The name is recorded as early as 1261 and John Adamsone from Berwick was a signatory to the "Ragman Roll" in 1296, along with many other Scottish lairds who pledged their loyalty to King Edward I of England. The only place anywhere in the British Isles called Adamson is a farm in North Yorkshire, England.
- Alexander Heights - Alexander is a Scottish family name, branches of the family being septs of Clans MacAlister, MacDonald or MacDonnell of Glengarry, though the name has since travelled to England, for example, Alexander House in Kent.
- Anderson Park and Andersonville - Anderson is the Lowland form of MacAndrew, a sept of Clan Chattan. The name has travelled from Scotland to other parts of the British Isles, for example the village of Anderson in Dorset, England and Andersonstown, a suburb of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
- Bankhead (Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Falkirk, Fife, Highland, Moray, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Perth & Kinross, South Lanarkshire, Stirling and West Lothian). Bankhead is also found just over the border in Cumbria, Northumberland and North Yorkshire. The Atlanta neighbourhood took its name from the Bankhead Highway, which passes through it. The highway, in turn, was named for John Hollis Bankhead, politician. Bankhead is a Scottish family name from Ayrshire, which increases the probability of a link with Scotland.
- Bells Ferry - there are many places in Scotland with Bell as part of the name. The list is too numerous to quote fully, examples being Bell Bay in North Ayrshire, Bell Craig in the Scottish Borders and in Dumfries & Galloway and Bell Wood in Aberdeenshire. Although place names starting with this Scottish family name can also be found all over England, it is more likely that the name of the Marietta neighbourhood refers to an individual whose ancestry was Scottish.
- Bellwood (Midlothian).
- Blair Village - there are over 200 places in Scotland with Blair as an element in the name including Blair itself in Aberdeenshire, East Ayrshire, Fife, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and Stirling. Blair is derived from the Gaelic blàr (a woodland clearing or plain). It is also a common Scottish family name. The illustration is of Blair Castle in Perthshire.
- Bonnie Glen - a made-up name using two well-known Scots words (bonnie/bonny meaning 'pleasing to the eye') and glen (from Gaelic gleann, a 'valley'). It is relevant to note that this suburban estate in Clayton County is adjacent to Scottish Manor (see below).
- Bonny Brook Estates - a made-up name, using common Scots and English elements.
- Braelinn - one of five self-contained villages in Peachtree City (one of the newest planned cities in Georgia). Braelinn may be a made-up name but certainly sounds Scottish. The element 'brae' (pronounced bray) is a Scots word meaning a hill or hillside, while the Scots word 'linn' is a blend of Gaelic 'linne' (a pool) and Old English 'hlynn' (a torrent). It is interesting to note that two of the other villages in Peachtree City have been given Scottish names - Aberdeen and Glenloch (see separate entries).
- Campbellton - although there are no places in Scotland with this name (Campbeltown in Argyll & Bute is about the closest), Campbell is a well-known Scottish family name. The Campbells were once the most powerful of all the Highland clans. The origin of the name is Gaelic - Cambeul, meaning 'crooked mouth'. Krakow (1975, p. 32), an authority on place names in Georgia, notes that this community was named for Georgia statesman Colonel Duncan G. Campbell by Frank Irwin, who owned the land on a hill overlooking the Chattahoochee River where the town was established.
- Candler-McAfee - The McAfee part of the name is Scottish, while Candler (named for Asa Griggs Candler, the Coca-Cola magnate) is a northern English name.
- Clarkston (East Renfrewshire and North Lanarkshire). Krakow (1975, p. 45) notes that this suburb in Dekalb County was named for Colonel W.W. Clark, a prominent lawyer from Covington and a director of The Georgia Railroad. The family name Clark is more English than Scottish, which reduces the likelihood of a Scottish connection in this instance.
- Cumming - there are places called Cummings Park in Aberdeen City, Cummings Hill in the Scottish Borders and Cummingstown in Moray, all based on this Scottish surname. The name has also travelled to northern England (Cumming Carr in Lancashire). Cumming is derived from Robert de Comyn, the Norman Earl of Northumberland, and has been associated with Scotland since the early part of the 12th century. The Comyns were once a powerful noble family but lost their lands through being on the wrong side in their rivalry with Bruce. Black (1996), normally dry and factual, quotes a dubious poem about the origins of the name, namely that the Norman knight knew no Scots but always said "Cum in, cum in" when anyone arrived, as he had heard others say! The name actually comes from the town of Comines, near Lille in northern France. Comyn became a despised name during the 14th century and was transformed into Cumming - that's the Cumming tartan shown here. Krakow (1975, p. 55) has the following to say about the origin of the name of this community in Forsyth County: "Was said to be named for Colonel William Cumming of Augusta, a distinguished lawyer and editor, who fought a duel with the celebrated George McDuffie of South Carolina. However, the British Dictionary of National Biography claimed that the place was named by the Cherokee for Sir Alexander Cumming of Aberdeenshire (d. 1775) who came to America in 1729 where he settled among the Indians and became a leader and chief."
- Dallas (Moray) "Named for George Mifflin Dallas (1792-1864) of Pennsylvania, who was a U.S. senator, foreign minister, and vice president under Polk's administration." (Krakow, 1975, p. 57).
- Doraville - there is no such place name in Scotland but a Scottish association is nevertheless possible. According to one authority, the town was named for Dora Jack, whose father was an official of the Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railway. (Krakow, 1975, p. 63). Jack is a Scottish family name from Renfrewshire, which increases the possibility of a Scottish connection with this suburb of Atlanta.
- Dunaire - In an article on the history of Dunaire, it is stated that the name of this community was coined during the 1950s by one of the original landowners, Thomas "TD" Dunn, Jr. As a family name, Dun/Dunn is recorded as far back as 1255 in Moray but may have originated from the place name Dun in Angus. The Celtic word "donn" (brown) became "dunn" in Old English and was adopted as a personal name. The illustration shows the House of Dun, a National Trust property at Montrose. According to the House of Names Heraldic website, Dunn is also considered to be an Irish surname from County Meath.
- Dunwoody - presumably an alternative spelling of Dunwoodie, a Scottish surname. This community was named in honour of property developer Major Charles Dunwoody, a prominent citizen of Roswell. (Krakow, 1975, p. 66).
- Fairlie-Poplar - the Fairlie part of the name of this neighbourhood is Scottish. It occurs mainly in Ayrshire place names but can also be found in the Scottish Borders. The Poplar part of the name probably refers to the district in east central London, England, or the poplar tree.
- Fife - an ancient kingdom and county of eastern Scotland, forming a peninsula between the firths (estuaries) of the rivers Forth and Tay. The illustration is of the beach at Elie in the East Neuk of Fife.
- Fort McPherson - the McPhersons are an ancient Scottish clan descended from a twelfth century cleric of the Celtic Church (which did not enforce celibacy). The name means 'son of the parson' in Gaelic. Referred to as "The Pentagon of the South", Fort McPherson was named for Ohio-born Union general, James Birdseye McPherson (born 1828), who was killed by Confederate sharpshooters in the Battle of Atlanta, July 22, 1864. (Krakow, 1975, p. 84)
- Fraiser - presumably a corrupted spelling of the Scottish family name Fraser.
- Gilmore - there is a Gilmorton in Aberdeenshire, Gilmourton in South Lanarkshire, Gilmerton in Edinburgh and Gilmorehill in Glasgow, among other references in Scotland to the family name of Gilmore/Gilmor. This Scottish surname is derived from the Gaelic 'Gillie Moire', meaning 'servant of (the Virgin) Mary'.
- Gladstone Hills - there are places called Gladstone and Gladstone Boreland in South Lanarkshire, and Gladstone Farm in Renfrewshire. Gladstone is a Scottish family name, well established in Lanarkshire by the thirteenth century (Herbert de Gledstan was one of the signatories of the Ragman Roll). The most famous bearer of this name was William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), one of Queen Victoria's Prime Ministers. Although he was born in Liverpool, his parents were both Scottish. Gladstone is also found as place names in England and Wales but these places no doubt honour the 19th century Prime Minister.
- Glen Dale (Highland, spelt Glendale) - A remarkable number of American cities have communities/suburbs called Glendale, a name simply meaning 'valley'. The unusual feature of this name is that it is a tautology - 'valley' features twice, first in Gaelic (gleann) then in Norse (dalr).
- Glen Devon (Perth & Kinross and West Lothian, both spelt Glendevon).
- Glenloch - one of five self-contained villages in Peachtree City (one of the newest planned cities in Georgia). Glenloch means 'valley of the lake' in Scots Gaelic. It is interesting to note that two of the other villages in Peachtree City have also been given Scottish names - Aberdeen and Braelinn (see entries above).
- Glenwood Hills - there is a Glenwood in Aberdeenshire. Glenwood is also a fairly common name for neighbourhoods in other North American cities.
- Gordon Estates (Gordon in the Scottish Borders as well as many other places throughout Scotland with Gordon as part of the name, e.g. Gordonstoun, Gordonstown and Gordonsburgh). Gordon is also the name of a place on the Isle of Man, probably having been taken there by Scottish settlers. The Gordon tartan most frequently seen is the regimental tartan of the Gordon Highlanders.
- Graden Hill - there are small villages near Coldstream in the former county of Berwickshire (now part of the Scottish Borders) called Graden and Old Graden, both near Graden Moor. According to the House of Names Heraldic website, Graden is also a Scottish family name from Berwickshire, presumably derived from the name of the villages or moor.
- Grant Park - there is a village called Grant in Perth & Kinross. There are also many other places in Scotland with this Scottish family name as part of the name, for example Grantlodge, Grantshouse and Grantown-on-Spey. Places beginning with Grant can also be found in England but in the majority of these instances 'Grant' has a different meaning. According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, Grant Park was established in 1882 when Lemuel P. Grant, a successful engineer and businessman, gave the City of Atlanta 100 acres (40 hectares) in the newly developed 'suburb' where he lived.
- Highlands - possibly recalling the Highlands of Scotland.
- Highview (Dumfries & Galloway).
- Home Park and Home Place Acres - the names of these neighbourhoods could well have a link with Scotland if they are based on the Scottish surname of Home/Hume.
- Hule Estates - there is a Hule Moss in the Scottish Borders.
- Kirkwood (Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire) and North Kirkwood and South Kirkwood by association. The Atlanta neighbourhood was actually named for Irish-born James Hutchinson Kirkpatrick (1778-1853) who arrived in the area from Morgan County, Georgia in 1827. Judging by his names, J.H. Kirkpatrick is very likely to have been Scots-Irish rather than native Irish.
- Lenox and Lenox Park - there is a Lennox Tower in the City of Edinburgh, Lennox Plunton in Dumfries & Galloway, Lennox Forest and Lennoxtown in East Dunbartonshire and Lennoxlove in East Lothian, all based on this Scottish surname.
- Loch Lomond Estates - no doubt intended to recall the world famous loch in Argyll & Bute, north-west of Glasgow (seen in this graphic). This 22-mile long lake is a popular tourist attraction, and inspired the words of what is probably the most universally known of all the Scottish folk songs - "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond".
- Loganville - there are more than 30 places in Scotland which recall the Scottish surname of Logan, including towns or villages called Logan in Dumfries & Galloway and East Ayrshire and Loganlea in West Lothian. There are also a few places in the once Celtic parts of England (Cumbria, Cornwall and Devon) with Logan as part of the name but these are obscure localities, whose names are unlikely to have travelled to Atlanta.
- Margaret Mitchell - This neighbourhood was no doubt named for the author of the classic 'Gone with the Wind'. According to Duncan Bruce in his book "The Mark of the Scots", Margaret Mitchell's family settled in North Carolina from Scotland.
- Maxwelton (Dumfries & Galloway).
- McDaniel-Glen - McDaniel is presumably a variant of the Scottish family name MacDaniell, a sept of Clan MacDonald.
- McEver Park - McEver is a variant of the Scottish family name McIver.
- McPherson - this community on the western fringes of suburban Atlanta in Paulding County was certainly given a Scottish name (see Fort McPherson above) but the author of this article has not yet found the reason for its name.
- Morningside (Dumfries & Galloway, City of Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire and Perth & Kinross).
- Muirwood - although there is no place with this name anywhere in Scotland or in any other parts of the British Isles, Muir is a distinctly Scottish name, recorded from the 13th century onward. Other forms of this name are Mure, Moor, Moore and More.
- Murray Lake - Murray is one of the best-known Scottish family names, derived from the name of the area (Moray) in which the Pictish founder of the clan was granted land. Examples of places in Scotland based on this name include Murray's Hill (Perth & Kinross), Murrayfield (Edinburgh), Murraythwaite (Dumfries & Galloway) and many others. The name has also travelled to England, e.g. Murray's Rock in Devon and is claimed as an Irish name as well.
- Panthersville - According to Black (1996), the name Panter and variations such as Panther and Payntour, was common around Montrose (Angus) in the 15th and 16th centuries. There was a family known as "Panther of that Ilk" which is a designation for a landed proprietor. The name comes from Old French "paneter" or "officer in charge of the bread" or, on some interpretations, "master of the household". The actual origin of the name of this suburb of Atlanta is not known. One theory attributes the name to a wild panther that chased a young 1830s family, while a second theory suggests that the name recalls a Cherokee Indian clan. The possibility that it was named for someone called Panther therefore cannot be ruled out.
- Polk - Black (1996) says that the name Pollok has become Polk in the US - "The 11th President of the USA was James Knox Polk, a great-grandson of Robert Polk or Pollok who emigrated from Ayrshire to the American colonies." The name of this Marietta neighbourhood most probably commemorates President Polk.
- Scottish Manor - possibly a local reference to a place once occupied by Scottish settlers but more likely to be a name that was coined by the developers of this small suburban estate in Clayton County to give it a Scottish flavour. In this regard, it is interesting to note the Scottish theme to the street names (Edinburgh Way, Rob Roy Lane, Bagpipe Place and Lamont Avenue).
- Somerled - although there are no places with this name anywhere in the British Isles, the connection is almost certainly with Scotland. Somerled, King of the Isles (see illustration), expelled the Norse Kings of the Isles in the 12th century. His grandson, Donald, founded one of the most powerful and influential of all the Highland clans, the MacDonalds.
- Southglen (Dumfries & Galloway, spelt South Glen).
- Stonekirk - there is a village in Dumfries & Galloway called Stoneykirk, 'kirk' being the Scots word for a 'church'.
- Stoneridge (Falkirk).
- Watson Glen - there is a Watsonburn in East Ayrshire, Watsonfoot, Watsonhead and Watsonmids (all in North Lanarkshire) and Watson House in Stirling. Watson also occurs as an element in English place names, particularly in the north. The Scottish Watsons are a sept of Clan Buchanan. The reference to 'Glen' suggests that the name of this community in Paulding County is more likely to have a Scottish rather than an English connection. Moreover, Watson was found to be the 17th most common family name in Scotland in 1976 whereas its ranking in England and Wales was much lower (47th).
- Westhaven (Aberdeenshire and Angus, both spelt West Haven).
- Woodstock (Orkney Islands, and the title of one of Sir Walter Scott's novels) and Cottages of Woodstock by association. As a place name, Woodstock occurs far more frequently in England and is also found in Wales. Woodstock is a popular place name in many parts of the USA as well. The far northern suburb in Atlanta actually has a Scottish connection since it was named after Sir Walter Scott's novel published in 1826. (Krakow, 1975, p. 257)
Some of the following districts, neighbourhoods, subdivisions and suburbs are also likely to have a direct or indirect Scottish connection but these names tend to be used in other parts of the British Isles as well:
- Ashland Estates - there is an Ashland in Dumfries & Galloway as well as in Milton Keynes, England.
- Austin - there is an Austincroft in Highland as well as Austin's Bridge in Devon, England. As a surname, Austin (a diminutive of Augustine) is used in both Scotland and England.
- Brownsville - there are many places in both Scotland and England that have 'Brown' as an element in their name. The surname Brown is also very common in both countries, with surveys in the 1970s suggesting that it is the second most common family name in Scotland (after Smith) and the third most common in England (after Smith and Jones). Krakow (1975, p. 27) states that Brownsville "….was possibly named for an early Methodist minister here, Reverend John Brown.".
- Cardinal Manor and Cardinal Ridge - there is a Cardinal Steps in Fife, as well as a Cardinal's Green in Cambridgeshire, England.
- Collier Heights - as a surname, Collier - from the occupation of 'charcoal burner' - is used in both Scotland and England.
- Douglasville - There is a place in South Lanarkshire called Douglas - the original territorial base of the powerful Douglas family (the illustration is the crest of the Douglas Earl of Morton). There is also a suburb of Dundee called Douglas and Angus and numerous other places in Scotland with Douglas as part of the name. Douglas is found in Ireland and on the Isle of Man as well, probably having been taken there by Scottish settlers.
- Edgemoor East and Edgemoor West - there is an Edgemoor in Dumfries & Galloway as well as in Derbyshire, England.
- Elizabeth - "Believed named for Elizabeth Brown, the daughter of Georgia's Governor Joseph E. Brown." (Krakow, 1975, p. 71). Brown is a very common family name in both Scotland and England (see Brownsville above).
- Evergreen - there is a place near Lhanbryde in Moray called Evergreen; however there is also an Evergreen Hill in Devon, England. This may simply be a descriptive name, with no reference to either Scotland or England.
- Georgetown (Dumfries & Galloway, Moray and Renfrewshire) also in Wales.
- Glen Haven - there are places simply called Glen in Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, as well as two places in Ireland. In addition, there are hundreds of places in both Scotland and Ireland and a few in England and Wales with Glen as an element in the name. Glen means 'valley' in Gaelic.
- Harpers Lake - there are many places in Scotland featuring the family name of Harper (Harpercroft, Harperdean, Harperfield, Harperhall, Harperhill, Harperland, Harperleas, Harperless, Harperrig, Harperstone and Harpertoun) but this is equally the case in England. Harper is derived from the trade/profession of being a harpist and is found all over the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
- Hartfield Acres - Hartfield is found in Dumfries & Galloway, Highland, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire, but also occurs in two English counties.
- Hillside Cottages - there are many places in Scotland called Hillside (in Aberdeenshire, Angus, City of Edinburgh, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Inverclyde, Moray, Orkney Islands, Perth & Kinross, Shetland Islands and South Lanarkshire) though this is also the case in England and to a lesser extent in Wales.
- Hunter Hills - Hunter occurs in many placenames throughout Scotland. The list includes Aberdeenshire (Hunter's Hill and Lodge), Angus (Hunter's Path and Hunters Hill), Argyll & Bute (Hunter's Quay), Scottish Borders (Hunter Hill and Huntershall), Dumfries & Galloway (Hunter House, Hunter's Gate, Hunterheck), East Ayrshire (Hunter's Meadow, Hunterston), North Ayrshire (Hunterston, Hunterston House, Hunterston Sands), Perth & Kinross (Hunterhall) and South Lanarkshire (Hunterlees). However, Hunter is found even more commonly in place names throughout England. On the other hand, as a surname, Hunter appears to rank about 40th in Scottish surveys and is therefore fairly commonly encountered, compared with around 170th in English surveys.
- Little River Landing - there is a Little River in Highland as well as in Somerset, England.
- Macland and Macland Springs - Macland does not occur as a place name anywhere in the British Isles, nor does it appear to be a family name. These Atlanta neighbourhoods could refer, however, to an individual whose surname began with "Mac", in which event the name could be either Scottish or Irish in origin.
- Meadow (Aberdeenshire and East Ayrshire) also Derbyshire, England.
- Midtown (Aberdeenshire, Angus, Clackmannanshire, Cumbria, Dumfries & Galloway, Highland, Moray, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands and South Lanarkshire) as well as just over the border in Cumbria.
- Newton Estates - Newton is one of the most commonly occurring place names in Scotland, being found in nearly every county (Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll & Bute, Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Highland, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, Midlothian, Moray, Orkney Islands, Perth & Kinross, Shetland Islands, Stirling, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and Western Isles). There are also many other places such as Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire, Newton of Ardtoe in Highland, Newton of Balcormo in Fife, etc. Newton is just as commonly found throughout England and, to a lesser extent, Wales. There are in fact very few counties in the whole of Great Britain which do not have at least one Newton. Surprisingly, the name is not used in Ireland.
- Red Rock (Scottish Borders, Highland and Western Isles) also found near Manchester in England.
- Scott Boulevard, Scotts Crossing and Scottdale - Scott is a common Scottish surname, originating in the Scottish Borders. As Black (1996) points out, however, there are more people with this Border Scottish surname in Northumberland than in the whole of Scotland. There are also many places in England with Scott as part of the name. Scottsdale, for instance, is the name of a place in Somerset, while Scott's Green is a district of Dudley, Greater Birmingham and Scott Hall is a district of the City of Leeds. The surname 'Scott' has nevertheless consistently appeared among the top 9 to 13 most numerous family names in four surveys conducted in Scotland between 1858 and 1976. Surveys in England, on the other hand, place Scott in roughly the 40th position, though their numbers would exceed those in Scotland by virtue of the size of England's population relative to that of Scotland. Scotland's most famous Scott is of course the nineteenth century novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott (see illustration). Concerning the community of Scottdale, Krakow (1975, p. 201) writes as follows: "This northeast suburb of Decatur was named for himself by Colonel George W. Scott (1829-1903), who built the Scottdale Cotton Mill here in 1900. He was originally from Florida, where he was elected governor in 1868. Scott was also an Atlanta broker, and benefactor of Agnes Scott College."
- Silverwood Estates - there is a Silverwood in East Ayrshire; also a farm by this name in Cambridgeshire, England.
- Sunny Side (Aberdeenshire, City of Glasgow, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Fife, Perth & Kinross, North Ayrshire, Orkney Islands, Scottish Borders and South Lanarkshire, all spelt Sunnyside). Sunnyside is also found in England, but not as commonly as in Scotland, which probably says something about the premium placed on sunshine in Scotland!
- Victoria, Victoria Cove and Victoria Landing – there is a place called Victoria in Perth & Kinross as well as several places in England, all of which no doubt honour Queen Victoria (that’s her statue in Glasgow seen here). Krakow (1975), an authority on place names in Georgia, states that the origin of the name of these communities in the far north of the metropolis is uncertain; he is nevertheless inclined to attribute them to Queen Victoria. It is quite probable, however, that these places recall a local woman whose name was Victoria. On 10 May, 2007 Dr Dianna Spence at the North Georgia College and State University wrote to the author of this article, giving the follow information. "I am writing because I have been told by relatives of mine that the areas near Atlanta named Victoria, and Victoria Landing in particular, were named for Victoria Duncan (her maiden name) after she had married into the Robertson family (when her name became Victoria Duncan Robertson). The Robertsons apparently owned a good bit of land in or near what is now Cherokee County, GA, which is where Victoria Landing is located. This oral family history is supported by one written letter that I still have." Dr Spence would appreciate hearing from people who may have further details in regard to the above. Duncan and Robertson are both Scottish names, which may well indicate a Scottish link with these communities.
- Williamsboro (Renfrewshire, spelt Williamsburgh) but the name of this Atlanta neighbourhood is just as likely to be based on the Welsh surname of Williams, or William as a first name.
- Windy Hill Manor - there are places called Windy Hill in Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, East Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Highland and Renfrewshire. Windy Hill also occurs in both England and Wales, but less commonly than in Scotland.
- Woodfield (Aberdeenshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Midlothian, Perth & Kinross and South Ayrshire) though also found, less commonly, in England and Wales. There appear to be two localities in Greater Atlanta called Woodfield.
- Woodland Park (a forest in Clackmannanshire) also the name of a forest in Wiltshire, southern England.
- Wrights Landing and Wright Street - the name Wright occurs in several Scottish place names: Wright's Houses (Midlothian), Wright's Island (South Ayrshire), Wrighthill (East Ayrshire) and Wrightpark (Stirling). It is also fairly common in England. As a family name, Black (1996) states that it is common in the Lowlands of Scotland and the north of England, being derived from Old English "wyrhta" - a worker, chiefly in wood. In Scotland the name displaced Carpenter (with a Latin origin) as a surname.
A third category of local names comprises places that definitely exist in Scotland, but there is nothing obviously "Scottish" about them. In these instances, the likelihood that the Greater Atlanta counterpart was named for Scotland is greatly reduced because these names are far more commonly associated with other parts of the British Isles. Most of the names of these localities have an 'international' flavour and several may simply have been borrowed from other American cities and towns.
- Ashley Acres and Ashley Place - there are a few places in Scotland called Ashley (in the City of Edinburgh, Highland and Perth & Kinross) but this name is used far more frequently throughout England.
- Belmont (Scottish Borders, Shetland Islands and South Ayrshire) and Belmont Farms by association. Belmont is also found in England, Ireland and Wales and was an extremely popular choice of name in all English-speaking countries during the nineteenth century, its origin being French ('beautiful mountain/hill').
- Belvedere and Belvedere Park - there is a Belvedere in West Lothian as well as in London and Norfolk; also the famous Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria. Belvedere was a popular choice of name for localities during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines a belvedere as a "raised turret to view scenery from" (a word formed from the Italian words for 'beautiful' and 'see').
- Bowden (Scottish Borders) but also found in four counties in south-west England.
- Brock (Argyll & Bute; also Brock Burn in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire, Brock Hill, Brockhill Stone and Brock's Holes in Dumfries & Galloway, Brock of Borwick and Brock of Gurness in the Orkney Islands, Brockhill in the Scottish Borders and many others). However, there is also a Brock in Lancashire and on Guernsey in the Channel Islands, plus many other places in England with Brock as an element in the name.
- Cabbagetown - there is a Cabbagehall in Fife, but Cabbage occurs more frequently as part of English place names. At least three explanations have been advanced as to how the neighbourhood received its unusual name - see the Wikipedia article on Cabbagetown (Atlanta) for these. One of these explanations is attributed to its earliest citizens, workers at the nearby Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill who had been transplanted from the Appalachians. These workers were largely of Scots-Irish descent and, being poor, subsisted on cabbages grown in their front gardens. The name Cabbagetown was used originally with derision by people outside the neighbourhood, supposedly because of the smell of cabbage cooking "but it soon became a label of pride for the people who lived there" (Wikipedia).
- Carrington Chase - there is a Carrington in Midlothian as well as three places in England.
- Chapel Hill (Aberdeenshire, Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Perth & Kinross and South Lanarkshire) but also used very frequently in both England and Wales.
- Clarkdale - there is a Clark Fell in Dumfries & Galloway, Clark's Sike in the Scottish Borders, Clarkly Hill in Moray, Clarkston in East Renfrewshire and North Lanarkshire and Clarkton in Stirling. However, Clark occurs even more frequently in English place names. Krakow (1975, p. 44) notes that the community was named for the Clark family who erected a mill here in 1932 known as The Clark Thread Company. The family name Clark is more English than Scottish, which greatly reduces the likelihood of a Scottish connection in this instance.
- Clover (Moray) also in Dorset, England, as well as several other places in England with Clover as part of the name. Of course, the name of this community may simply refer to the plant, illustrated here.
- Cooks Crossing - there are places called Cookney and Cookshill in Aberdeenshire, Cookston in Aberdeenshire, Angus and Fife and Cookston Farm in Angus, but Cook is far more common in English place names. Cook is a Scottish as well as an English family name. The Scottish Cooks are a sept of the Stewart clan; their ancestral lands were on the Isle of Bute.
- Cross Roads (Angus; also several places in Scotland spelt Crossroads) but found more frequently in England.
- Druid Hills and North Druid Hills (Druid in Perth & Kinross) also Druid in Devon, England and in Denbighshire, Wales, and several places in England with Druid as part of the name. Druids were priests and soothsayers in ancient Celtic societies.
- Forest Hill (a hill in Dumfries & Galloway) but far more likely to be named for one of the many places in England, including the south London suburb.
- Grayson - there is a Grayson House in Stirling, but Grayson appears to be more strongly associated with north-west England.
- Greenacres (Scottish Borders) also all over England.
- Greenfield Chase and Greenfield Summit - there is a Greenfield in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll & Bute, City of Glasgow, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Highland, Perth & Kinross, Shetland Islands and South Lanarkshire but Greenfield is just as commonly found in England and Wales.
- Greenwood and Greenwood Hills - there is a Greenwood in the Scottish Borders, Moray and South Lanarkshire, but the name is also found in England and Ireland.
- Hilltop - there is a Hilltop in Dumfries & Galloway, but Hilltop is far more common throughout England and Ireland and is often spelt Hill Top.
- Huntington (Scottish Borders and East Lothian) also found all over England.
- Kingswood (Perth & Kinross) but found far more commonly in England and is also used in Ireland and Wales.
- McDonough-Guise - McDonough sounds and looks more Irish than Scottish while Guise is a French name. Mary of Guise was the French wife of King James V of Scotland and mother of Mary Queen of Scots. The name did not survive in Scotland, probably because of antagonism toward Mary of Guise by John Knox and his Protestant followers, though there is a Dalguise in Perth & Kinross. There is also a Guise in Yorkshire, England.
- Meadows (Aberdeenshire and Angus) but a little more common in England as might be expected.
- Mount Vernon Estates (City of Glasgow) also in Lancashire, England. It is more than likely, however, that the names of the places in Scotland and England came from the USA rather than the other way round, particularly since Mount Vernon is so strongly associated with President George Washington.
- Newtown (Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, Highland, Falkirk and Shetland Islands) but is even more commonly found in England and, to a lesser extent, in Ireland and Wales and on the Isle of Man.
- North Clayton - there is a Clayton in Fife, though the name is used far more often in England.
- Northgate (Aberdeenshire) also in four English counties.
- Norwood Manor - there is a village in Dumfries & Galloway called Norwood, but this name occurs far more frequently throughout England, including the well-known suburb in south London
- Old Stratton - there is a Stratton in Highland but the name is also found in many English counties.
- Paradise Park - this name does not occur in the British Isles. There are places called Paradise in both Aberdeenshire and Fife, but Paradise is used far more commonly as a place name in England.
- Plantation Estates - Plantation is a district of the City of Glasgow, the only place in the British Isles where the name is found on its own. There are, however, many references to Plantation as part of the name of woods, hills or farms in both Scotland and England. It is highly unlikely that the name of the Greater Atlanta neighbourhood actually came from Glasgow.
- Red Gate Estates (Red Gate in Dumfries & Galloway and Redgate in East Ayrshire) but places called Redgate are found more frequently across England and also in County Wexford, Ireland.
- Riverside (Stirling) also in England and Wales.
- Southside - there are places called Southside in Aberdeenshire, Scottish Borders, Midlothian, Orkney Islands and South Ayrshire, as well as several places in England (sometimes spelt South Side). In Atlanta's case, the name of the neighbourhood may simply refer to its location in the southern suburbs.
- Southwood (Perth & Kinross) but far more common in England, and also found in Wales.
- Springfield (Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Highland and Perth & Kinross) also in England and Wales. Springfield is a very common place name in the USA.
- Sugarloaf Country Club - there is a stack off the coast of Dumfries & Galloway called Sugarloaf but this descriptive name occurs more commonly in England and on the Isle of Man, not to mention the world-famous mountain behind Rio de Janeiro.
- Summerhill (Angus, Argyll & Bute, City of Aberdeen, Dumfries & Galloway, North Lanarkshire) but is also a popular choice of name in England and Wales and to a lesser extent in Ireland and on the Isle of Man.
- Taylor Crossing - Taylor is a very common surname in both Scotland and England. A survey of surnames undertaken in the 1970s suggests, however, that it is the 5th most common surname in England compared with the 14th most common in Scotland.
- Thornton Woods - there are no places in the British Isles with this name but Thornton on its own is found in Angus, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Moray, Perth & Kinross and South Lanarkshire. There are also places called Thornton Burn in East Lothian, Thornton Hill in Perth & Kinross, Thornton Wood in Fife, Thorntonhall in South Lanarkshire and Thorntonloch in East Lothian. However, Thornton is far more commonly used as a place name throughout England and is also found in Ireland and Wales.
- Turner Hill (East Ayrshire - spelt Turnerhill; also Turner Cleuch Law in Scottish Borders, Turner's Monument in Dumfries & Galloway, Turnerhall in Aberdeenshire and a place simply called Turner in Stirling). However, Turner as part of a place name is very common throughout England as well as Scotland while Turner as a surname is far more English than Scottish.
- Underwood Hill - there are places in Dumfries & Galloway and South Ayrshire called Underwood, as well as several in England and Wales. Underwood is considered to be an English family name but when used as a place name it may simply refer to a community located close to a wood.
- Virginia-Highland and Virginia Manor - there is a Virginia in the Orkney Islands, as well as in Ireland and on the Isle of Man but in Atlanta's case the origin of the name is far more likely to refer to Virginia, USA.
- Wakefield Forest - there are two places in Scotland called Wakefield (in Aberdeenshire and Scottish Borders) but the name of this suburb in Dekalb County is far more likely to be named for the large town of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, or an individual of English ancestry whose surname was Wakefield.
- Woodland Hills - there are two places in South Ayrshire called Woodland (one is south of Girvan and the other south of Dalrymple) but Woodland can also be found in five English counties.
A final category of neighbourhood and suburban names comprises places that can be found in Scotland, but which, in Atlanta's case, definitely or most probably have no connection with Scotland.
- Avondale Estates (Avondale in Shetland Islands; also Avondale House in Falkirk) but Avondale is also found in England and Ireland. The Wikipedia article on Avondale Estates, Georgia, provides the following explanation: "Avondale Estates was founded in 1924 by George Francis Willis, who purchased the entire village of Ingleside to create a planned community. The city was named after Stratford-upon-Avon, England, birthplace of Shakespeare. Downtown buildings were designed in a Tudor style to reinforce this image, as were many of the houses in the city."
- Bolton (East Lothian) though found more commonly in England. This neighbourhood was named for Charles L. Bolton, who was a state railroad commissioner (Krakow, 1975, p. 22). Bolton is an English family name.
- Fairburn and Old Fairburn Close - there is a Fairburn House, Mains and Tower in Highland and Fairburn Rig in South Lanarkshire. However, the name appears to be more closely connected with Yorkshire in northern England, both as a place name and family name. It is therefore no surprise to learn that the Fulton County community of Fairburn was actually named after a place in Yorkshire, England (see Krakow, 1975, p. 76).
- Inman Park-Moreland - the Moreland part of the name of this historic Atlanta neighbourhood looks Scottish because there is a place in Perth & Kinross called Moreland. Moreland as a surname, however, is more English than Scottish. According to the National Park Service website, the neighbourhood was in fact named for an individual, Major Asbury F. Moreland, who was an important property owner in the district in the late 19th century. Major Moreland's property, known as 'Moreland Park', was subdivided in the early 1900s. Inman, on the other hand, is a decidedly English family name.
- Mountain View (Scottish Borders) also over the border in Cumbria. "This was originally a community called Rough and Ready when it was in DeKalb County, and before it was given its present descriptive name." (Krakow, 1975, p. 152)
- Stockbridge (Aberdeenshire, Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, City of Edinburgh and Stirling) also in three English counties. The origin of the name of this southern suburb is uncertain, the favoured explanations both referring to individuals with English rather than Scottish family names (Thomas Stock and Prof. Levi Stockbridge).
- West End (South Lanarkshire) but evenly more commonly found in England and to a lesser extent in Wales. According to Krakow (1975, p. 250), the Atlanta neighbourhood was named purely because of its geographic relationship to downtown Atlanta.
Forest Glen, Heather Lynn, Mableton and Pirkle Woods also have a Scottish ring about them but no connection with Scotland has as yet been found. According to the House of Names Heraldic website, Mable is a Scottish family name from Kirkcudbrightshire (now part of Dumfries & Galloway); Black (1996), however, does not mention the name. Similarly, Pirkle is said to be a Scottish family name from West Lothian, but this cannot be verified through other sources.
- Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (3rd Edition). (Macon, Georgia: Winship Press)
- Scarlett, James D. (1975). The Tartans of the Scottish Clans. (Collins, Glasgow and London).
- Black, George F. (1996). The Surnames of Scotland. (Birlinn Ltd, Edinburgh).
- Thorne, J.O. & Collocott, T.C. (Editors) (1974). Chambers Biographical Dictionary (Revised Edition). (W & R Chambers, Edinburgh).
- Bruce, Duncan A. (1996). The Mark of the Scots: Their Astonishing Contributions to History, Science, Democracy, Literature and the Arts. (Carol Publishing Group, Secaucus, NJ).
- Dr Dianna Spence, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science at the North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega, Georgia, USA for information on the probable origin of the place names Victoria and Victoria Landing near Atlanta.
- Greater Atlanta Metro City Map (Rand McNally, 1996).
- City of Atlanta website.
- National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places website
- Wikipedia article on the City of Atlanta for a list of some of the neighbourhoods.
- House of Names website.
- Mapquest.com for the names of outlying commuter ('bedroom') communities.
- Websites, place name gazetteers and published Ordnance Survey maps of British and Irish cities, towns, villages and counties.
© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, June 2005
Revised August 2007
If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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