Select Scott Surname Genealogy

Scoti was the generic name given by the Romans to Gaelic raiders from Ireland.  The Gaelic word was Sgaothaich, from which came the word Scotland.  The name Uchtredius filius Scoti (Uchtred, the son of a Scot) was recorded in a document in 1128. 

The name Scott in Scotland subsequently came to describe Gaelic speakers in the English-speaking Lowlands.  The surname is prevalent in Scotland and is also to be found in England.

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Scotland.  The Scotts have been numerous in Scotland from early times.  Six Scott lairds signed the Ragman Roll in 1296 and Scotts emerged principally in the Scottish Border counties.  

The Scotts of Buccleuch traced their descent from Sir Richard le Scot in Peeblesshire in the 14th century, the Scotts of Balwearie and the later Scotts of Harden line from his brother Sir Michael.  The Scotts of Buccleuch became a powerful Border family; while Walter Scott of Harden, known as Auld Wat, was the most well-known of the Scott Border freebooters:

"A hardy race who never shrank from war
The Scott, to rival realms a bar,
Here fixed his mountain home."

The writer Sir Walter Scott of Abbotsford, the son of a lowly tenant farmer, was related to these Harden Scotts six generations later.  He wrote much about their exploits.

The pacification of the Borders in the early 17th century meant the end of their reiving way of life.  The Scotts of Buccleuch were ennobled as Dukes, became respectable, and prospered.  They became one of the largest landowners in Scotland.  John Scott acquired Thirlestane in Selkirkshire in 1535 and later Scotts became baronets there.  But many poorer Scotts left the Borders, either for plantations in Ireland or for work in Glasgow and elsewhere.

A Scott line in Fifeshire included Sir John Scott, a lawyer who received the title of Lord Scotstarvet in 1629. A descendant John Scott was by repute the richest commoner in Scotland when he died without issue in 1776.  Other Scotts of this line moved north to the Shetland isles.  In 1814 Sir Walter Scott the writer dined with a John Scott from Scalloway. 

Ireland.  The Scottish mercenaries or gallowglasses who came to Ulster between the 14th and 16th centuries were sometimes called Albanach, from Alba in Scotland.  Later Albanach became Scott.  Displaced Scotts from the Borders also went to Ulster, and in particular to Fermanagh. 

Scotts today in Ulster are concentrated in Antrim and Down.  There were Scotts at Tullyquilly in the Drumgath parish of county Down from the early 1700ís.  Thomas and Martha Scott went from there to America in 1856.  Thomas Scott, who came to Canada as an adventurer in the 1860's, was also from county Down.

England.  Scott in England would describe someone from Scotland.  It was to be found in the English border counties, in Yorkshire, and along eastern England.  Two notable Scotts families came from:
  • William Scott, born in humble circumstances in Durham, who became a prominent Newcastle coal merchant in the mid-1700's.  His grandson John Scott rose to be Lord Chancellor of England in 1801.
  • and the Rev. Thomas Scott, the son of a cattle farmer in Lincolnshire, who became an influential Christian preacher and writer.  His grandson was the Victorian architect Sir Gilbert Scott.
A Scott family held a manor house near Smeeth in Kent in the 14th century.  Their family lineage has been traced with more certainty from the early 1400's when they lived at Scot's Hall.  These Scotts were a prominent family in Kent and remained at Scot's Hall until 1808 when the old mansion was pulled down.

There were also Scott pockets in Dorset and Devon.   Robert Falcon Scott, who led the doomed expedition to the North 1912, came from the Scott family of Stoke Demarel near Devonport.

America.  Captain John Scott, said to have been from the Kent Scotts, arrived in New England at the time of the English Civil War in bondage.  However, he soon secured his freedom, leaving Boston for Long Island where he was instrumental in establishing English settlement from the Dutch.  He became a real estate speculator there before abandoning his family and returning to England.       

A story about the first Scottish Scotts in America goes as follows:

"The American Buckelews are descended from a Scottish Border clan the Scotts, barons of Buccleuch.  Two brothers, Francis and Gilbert Scott of the clan of Buccleuch, came to America on the ship Caledonia about 1664.  They dropped the surname Scott in America and kept the clan name, changing the spelling to Bucklew."

Hugh Scott, Scots Irish and said to have come to Chester county, Pennsylvania in 1670, did keep the Scott name.  But it is not clear if he really was there at that time as Pennsylvania did not even exist then.  The more likely forebear of the Scotts of Chester county is Abraham Scott a generation later.  His son Hugh was a major in the Revolutionary War.

Scottsville in America seems to have had two Scott antecedents:
  • Scottsville in Kentucky and Virginia were named after Charles Scott who fought in the Revolutionary War and became the fourth Governor of Kentucky in 1808.  His line seems to have gone back to Edward Scott of New Kent county, Virginia in the early 1700ís.
  • while Scottsville, Indiana was named after Robert Scott, an early settler there in the 1820ís.  He had arrived in Virginia from Scotland with his brother Archelaus sometime in the 1770ís.
Caribbean.  Jeremiah Scott from Lancashire had fought in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne for William of Orange who presented him with a gold medal.  Afterwards he settled in Tipperary. 

His son John came out to Jamaica around 1750 and soon became a well-to-do landowner there, owning plantations in St. Thomas and in Clarendon.  Johnís brother George was appointed Governor of Dominica, but was killed in a duel in 1767.  Another brother Joseph settled in Nova Scotia.

.  William Scott from county Clare in Ireland served with the British army in Quebec in 1814 and later settled in Prescott, Ontario.  His son Richard, raised a Catholic, had a long political career in Canada that lasted over sixty years.

Australia and New Zealand.  Alexander Walker Scott, the son of Scottish physician Helenus Scott, arrived in NSW in 1827.  His business enterprises there were generally unsuccessful.  But he made a name for himself as an entomologist.  His insect collection is conserved at the Australian Museum in Sydney.

Andrew and Celia Scott arrived in Australia from Glasgow in 1838.  A year later they established a cattle and sheep station at Mount Boninyong in Vitoria that became known as Scotsburn.  Their descendants still operate the station.

Thomas Scott was an Anglican clergyman from county Down in Ireland who came to New Zealand on the Black Eagle in 1861.  His son Andrew, a bushranger in Australia who gave his name as Captain Moonlite, was executed for his crimes in 1880.

Select Scott Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Scott Names

Sir Walter Scott was a famed border reiver of the 16th century, known as "the bold Buccleuch."
Sir Walter Scott was the celebrated historical novelist and poet who did much to revive Scottish culture and heritage in the early 19th century.
Sir Gilbert Scott was a leading English architect of the Victorian age, best known for his design of the Albert Memorial.
Robert Scott led the doomed expedition in 1912 to reach the North Pole.
George C. Scott was an American actor, best known for his portayal of General Patton.

Select Scotts Today
  • 134,000 in the UK (most numerous in Hertfordshire)
  • 156,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 117,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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