Scottish Baby Names: What’s ‘in’ in Inverness?

Looking through the birth announcements in the Scottish newspapers of the last few months-a site which also sometimes include the regions just below the Scottish border and the Isle of Man–a couple of prominent trends jump out.

First of all it’s the nickname names, which right now seem to be even more prevalent in Scotland than in England, for both girls and boys, with a plethora of Ellies and Evies, Alfies and Archies.  Here is a list of  recent ones, with some of the middle names attached to them (separated by slashes):






EVIE May/Rose/Elizabeth/Harriet



IZZY Henderson



LOTTIE Aoife (pron. EE-fa)

MAISIE Claire/Dolly/Elizabeth/Immogen

MILLIE Elizabeth/Grace/Louise/Mae



ALFIE Christopher/Daniel/Jack/James/Peter/Steven/Anthony/Thomas/William/Zane

ARCHIE David/James/Peter/Keith Oliver/Thomas


BOBBY Francis/Martin







RED James

REGGIE Elliott


SONNY Robert

THEO Etomi

VINNIE Marc David

Another noticeable trend is a return to the MaryJane-style hypenated name:













For girls, many of the current international favorites are equally popular in Scotland: the various forms of Isabel, including the Scottish Isobel, Chloe, Scarlett, Sophie/Sophia, Olivia, Ruby, Grace, Lucy (often spelled Lucie) and Lily, Emma and Emily, plus a generous sprinkling of girls named Bethany, Mia, Freya, Amelia, Alice, Daisy, Poppy, Isla, Imogen, and Summer.  Also widespread is the Gaelic Niamh (pron. neev) and its Anglicized variations: Neive, Nieve, Neve.  Most used as middles: Mae/May, Louise, Rose, Grace.

Here are some of the more unusual (outside Scotland anyway) baby girl choices found:

AALIN Elizabeth



ANYA Ebony Elizabeth

AYDA Elizabeth



DAISEY Rose Virtue

EILIDH (pron. AY-lee) Catherine/Nicola/Sharon

FRANCE Lacey Anne





OTTILIE (Tillie) Upton


ROMAE Serenity

TAO Brown

Turning to the boys, classics rule, most particularly Jack, George, Harry and Samuel, plus the trendier Ethan, Jacob, Caleb, Lucas.  Also big are Callum/Calum, Cameron, Conor/Connor, Ellis (epidemic), Harvey, Harley, Finlay/Finley, and Lewis.

And among the more distinctive:



BODEN Richard

CAVAN Patrick

DANYL Benjamin/Sean

DEXTER Michael




HAMISH Stanley

ILLIAM (Iggy) Gorry




KENZIE Richard


MIAN Bobby


PHERIC Ross Thomas


STANLEY John Alwyne

STRUAN Finlay Peter/Scott

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21 Responses to “Scottish Baby Names: What’s ‘in’ in Inverness?”

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rosealexandra Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 2:17 am

Tiegan-Rose made me giggle a bit, because my name was going to be Tegan for a long time while my mom was pregnant with me, but then changed to Rose, which is what my actual name is. Silly, I know, but I get a kick out of it!

Dana Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 9:34 am

Charlie Lee? That sounds like a stutter!

SJ Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 10:31 am

Wow, these are great… Miley-Leigh? my-lee-lee? Well, if you run them together, it’s a little easier to say, I think… although it does leave one wondering what a “lee-lee” is!

Jalcolm is great. I assume they just changed the first letter of Malcolm. I don’t know why one would do that, but I’ve certainly never seen it before. I guess I kind of like knowing that somewhere, thousands of miles away from me, there’s people named Jalcolm and Fenix and Keavy, even if I would personally never choose those names for my own kids.

I have often wondered–when you list a name in a blog that doesn’t have an entry on Nameberry (as evidenced by the lack of a link, I assume), do you make a point to add it later? I mean, maybe Jalcolm you don’t have to add, but if the names are historical revivals or international variations, do you try to “fill in the gaps”?

linda Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 10:42 am

We do try, though there are occasional lapses. Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 11:35 am

I love the name Maisie! So cute!

rachelmarie Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

There are so many great names on this list! Such as: Millie Elizabeth, Archie Keith Oliver (I love this), Kalise, Anya, Dexter, Stanley, among others.
But then, there are the bad. Roddy, Kaine, Keavy, and then, the worst of all: Miley-Leigh (why the double “lee” sound? And I was hoping that the Miley trend wouldn’t extend over seas!).

Thanks for this post! I love hearing about the names over seas.

Cait Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Are multiple middle names common in Scotland, or in Britain in general? There are several babies listed who have been given 3 or more middle names, and poor ALFIE Christopher/Daniel/Jack/James/Peter/Steven/Anthony/Thomas/William/Zane has 10 middle names! What is the point?

Linda Rosenkrantz Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Cait, sorry I didn’t make it clearer–the slashes separate the different middle names attached to the various names. So all those Alfies just have one middle name each.

ailsa gray Says:

November 6th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Am astonished, frankly. Lived in Glasgow for fifteen years, and still keep in touch with friends and relations there and never even heard of half of these! What newspapers were they in, Linda and Pam?


Gracie Says:

November 7th, 2009 at 10:57 am

I’m also astonished! I live in Scotland and as a teacher, come across hundreds of names each year and I’ve heard very few of them. 🙂


ailsa Gray Says:

November 7th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Oh Gracie, love your name! Are you Scottish? Wheesht, I think we are opening a wee hornet’s nest here about these weans’ names!!!
xxx Says:

November 7th, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Some Scottish names are really awesome: Isla, Fergusia, Jamesina to name a few.

Gracie Says:

November 8th, 2009 at 6:39 am

Thanks, Ailsa 🙂 Your name is an ideal fit for this post! 🙂 Born and bred in Scotland and still living here with my family- just outside of Glasgow. As I said, I’ve heard of very few of these names here but perhaps it’s a regional thing. Where are you living now if not Scotland, Ailsa? Lovely to talk to you 🙂


redriding Says:

November 8th, 2009 at 10:24 am

Gracie, I am actually Welsh, but my mother heard this name in the 1930s when she was only a schoolgirl and always loved it so even though it was the 1950s when I was born, she still used it for me. I have always said she must have had second sight as I went on to marry a Glaswegian called Gray, so that my married name actually sounds like that little island off Mull that is Ailsa Craig!!! I like it very much, and I am a HUGE fan of all that is Scottish. I lived in Glasgow for fifteen years and had my six children there (Stuart Calum, Laura Katharine Francesca, Douglas Niall, Robert Duncan, Heather Elisabeth Rose and Catherine Julia Felicity).

I now live in Swansea and look after my ageing mum, but my aim is to return to Scotland (Glasgow or Edinburgh, I love both tho am definitely more a Weegie at heart) and maybe go to Uni to do a Masters in Scottish History or Literature.

As you can see, I tell everyone my life story. The kids (teenagers, all) are always telling me I am a complete embarrassment.

Blether, blether, blether!

As to the Scottish name blog, I did used to work in BBC Scotland, and there were Gaelic speaking people there with names from the Highlands and Islands such as Jamesina and Williamina, Hector and Morag, and certainly on the island of Lewis (where I had a good pal), double-barrelled names were popular, but some of the names here still astonished me and I wonder about the sources? Maybe Linda or Pam will tell us!

Great to chat with you, Gracie!

linda Says:

November 8th, 2009 at 11:26 am

Ailsa–this is the site I used:;s_source=jpsc_scot;type=birth

As I noted, some were imported from Yorkshire, Isle of Man, etc–so I cheated a little and included if it was a name worth noting.

Gracie Says:

November 8th, 2009 at 11:33 am

Your children have beautiful names 🙂 I love the Scottish feel to them. When I saw your name my immediate thought was Ailsa Craig. I taught a little girl in one of my first classes named Ailsa Craig, she was a lovely little thing and so the name has some lovely connotations for me 🙂
I also have six children- all daughters- Madeleine, Isabella, Olivia, Clementine, Florence and Imogen. The three youngest are triplets and are most definitely my last!
I went to Glasgow Uni to get my teaching degree and loved every minute of it but I must be honest and say that I absolutely adore Edinburgh and though these days times for visits are few and far bewteen (even though I’m only 1 1/2 hours away!) we try to get a weekend there as often as we can, particularly around Christmas as the atmosphere is just perfect 🙂


Emz Says:

November 8th, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Oh my gawd. Some of these are fecking awful. What the hell newspapers did these monstrosities come from?? As a Scot born and bred but currently living in London, I’m wondering what the blazes has happened in the two months I’ve been gone.

I can honestly (and gladly) say that I have never in my life come across a Jalcolm and that name is most certainly not ‘in’, in Inverness or anywhere else!!

It is a bit misleading to include the Isle of Man in a post that is supposed to be about Scottish names. It is in a different country after all, and Aalin etc are not names that are commonplace in Scotland by a long shot.

Miley-Leigh is awful but possibly less of a tongue-twister in a Scottish accent – the unstressed -eigh would be pronounced with an ‘ay’ sound rather than an ‘ee’ sound.

I’m just very shocked by this post. Illiam? Boden? Fenix? Really???

linda Says:

November 8th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Don’t blame the messenger! Those names were actually given to babies in the last few months, mostly in Scotland (I admit it was probably a mistake to include the names from the other locales included on the site) and in a blog like that, we do try to present the unusual rather than just having a list of Michaels and Elizabeths and other names that are common in many other cultures. I’m sure Jalcolm was just a case of someone trying to be ‘unique’. Could happen anywhere.

redridinghood Says:

November 9th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Thanks Linda, and sorry you feel you are being got at. But I would really not use that site again, it is a load of cobblers!!!! Some of those names might have been used once by someone who happened to be living in Scotland at the time, but it is misleading to others to put them in a list purporting to be names “popular in Scotland” at the moment. AAlish??? AAlin? These sound more Norwegian with that double AA in front – maybe it was a misprint in the newspaper, but it is not Scottish or Gaelic as far as I know!!!

redridinghood Says:

November 9th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Oh Gracie, triplets!!! six daughters, how fabulous (though I love my sons dearly, obviously, I was brought up on a diet of Little Women and Ballet Shoes where males were, for the most part, unnecessary adjuncts!)

my email is if you trust me enough to email.


Emz Says:

November 9th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Sorry Linda, I wasn’t getting at you and I apologise if it came across that way, but wow, that is one bizarre source you’ve been using.

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