ANSTHRLD - irish vs scott galic name constructions

Kathleen O'Brien kobrien at
Tue May 1 10:43:18 PDT 2001

>> Both used <mac> to mean son.  But only Irish Gaelic really used <ua> (which
>> became O/).

>thanks. but did the scottish use Mc? 

Mc is an Anglicized form of mac.  It is not used in Gaelic (either Irish or
Scottish).  I'll use Domnall as the given name in the examples below since
I don't know what given name the submitter is interested in.

So, someone known as 
     Domnall mac Congaill 
in Gaelic could be recorded as
     Donald McConnell
in records recorded in English or Scots.  Both refer to the same person.  

A modern example of this is that mundanely my given name is Kathleen.  In
Spanish, I'm referred to as Catalina (or as Catali/n by people who are
trying to pronounce it phonetically.)  In Japanese, I'm ka-ta-li-i-n
(that's the Romanji rendering of the Katakana characters).  All three are
my name, it just gets written different in different languages.

So if a Scottish Gael named Domnall mac Congail was in a town and a scribe
wrote his name down in a  document written in the Scots language or in
English, he would be listed as Donald McConnell or some variant thereof.

For a description of the languages used in Scotland, see:

>or is that a post period development of
>the language? would a name submitted as McCongail be changed to mac Congail? 

Yes.  Because it mixes 2 languages in name phrase (here the phrase is
"McCongail").  If he can show that McCongail was a spelling used in Scots
(in other words, the piece "Congail" survived in that spelling in Scots as
opposed to changing to some form of "Connell", then this is an all-Scots
phrase and would not be changed).

>really wants the former, but I know I can talk him around if necessary.

I think the key is knowing what is is about McCongail that he really likes.
 Does he like it because he wants a Scottish Gaelic name and he thinks this
is it?  Does he like it because he just thinks the spelling is cool?  etc.

What he likes about it will point the way to a good solution for him.

>Two wars ago you showed me a list of acceptable Gaelic naming forms that we
>used to fix my name after it bounced at laurel. (Thank you!) Do you have any
>idea what I am talking about, and is it available somewhere?

Actually, yes.  It was a handout I wrote for a class I taught.  I'll dig it
up for you.  Also, we're learning more and more about Gaelic naming
practices over time and Effrick is keeping her Quick and Easy Gaelic
Bynames article up to date.  (That's the one I listed in my previous email.
 It's more up to date than my list right now.)  So you may want to go to
that webpage and check the "Last Update" date on it whenever you have a
Gaelic name you're researching.  (Heck, it was last updated on the 24th of
this month!  That's up to date!)

For now, I'd recommend printing out the webpage I listed above and let the
submitter read it.  We can look in Black, but if we can't document
McCongail in that spelling, he needs to decide if having his name in Gaelic
is more important to him or having Mc is more important and so he can use a
Scots form.

If you want to give the whole name he's looking at, various members of this
list can take a look at it with the resources we have on hand.  

>Medb ingen Domnaill ui Somhairle

I still think that's a cool name.  :)

Gotta run, 

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