Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald – Documentation

<Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald> is a Scots language form of the name of a Scottish Gael, suitable for the 16th century. In the discussion below, all names quoted from period sources were recorded in Scots language documents. (Scots is a language closely related to contemporary English.)


<Effric> is found in Black, s.n. AFRICA: "Effric Makfatrick" dated to 1504 & 1515.


<Ken3ocht> is a more accurate representation of the underlying manuscript form of the name given as <Kenzocht> in Black, s.n. MACKENZIE: "Kenzocht (z here = gutteral y) M’Kenzocht" dated to 1491.

The <z> used in Black is a modern editorial convention to represent the period letter yogh, <3>. "The other symbol was 3, called yogh, also of Anglo-Saxon origin. This was used in Scots vernacular texts as an equivalent for consonantal y (e.g. 3er = year). In the later middle ages it came to be indistinguishable in written form from z. The convention of representing it by z was adopted by the early printers and is thus responsible for the z in names such as Dalziel and Menzies." [Simpson, p. 42] Note that in manuscripts the shape of the letter yogh that was indistinguishable from the letter z was most usually a yogh shape <3> rather than the more familiar z shape <z>. See, for example, the fifth word in the seventh line -- <eli3abeth> ("elizabeth" in Simpson’s transcription) -- and the fifth word in the fourth line -- <3eir> ("yeir" in Simpson’s transcription) -- in the manuscript shown in plate 19 of Simpson (dated 1572). The number of words in period Scots that used true <z> was very small (as an indication, in The Concise Scots Dictionary the Z section has but seven entries, of which only one is period and pronounced with a \z\ sound); almost always where modern publications quote period Scots language text, printed <z> represents manuscript <3>.

Therefore, I request registration of the spelling <Ken3ocht>, with a yogh to reflect actual period usage, rather than modern editorial <Kenzocht>.

In the February 1996 Cover Letter, Da’ud notation became the "CoA standard for ASCII representation of non-ASCII characters" and the restriction on using the letters <ð> (edh) and <þ> (thorn) when registering names was lifted with the following comment:

We have for some time been able to print such characters as ü, ê, ó, à etc. in the LoAR; these letters have been correctly registered even if this fact wasn't necessarily apparent in the Armorial. But we have not heretofore allowed the letters ð (edh) and þ (thorn) to be registered, though they also can be printed in the LoAR. With the adoption of a standard ASCII representation, this restriction seems unnecessary, especially considering that these letters were more frequently used in period than many that we routinely allow. This month we have therefore registered two names with the letter ð, Freydís Kausi Fiðyardóttir (An Tir) and Ragnarr Grásíða (Middle), in each case taking our cue from the submitter's forms.

The letter yogh can be printed in the LoAR by using a subscript/lowered numeral <3> (<3>) and represented in plain ASCII text either by simply using the numeral <3> or by adapting Da’ud notation, <{3}>. Thus <3> (yogh) satisfies both of the considerations that led Laurel to allow registration of the letters <ð> (edh) and <þ> (thorn).


<Mcherrald> is a reasonable spelling variation of <Makherrald>, which is found in Black, s.n. MACHAROLD: "John Makherrald" dated to 1502.

<Mak> and <Mc> were more or less interchangeable in Scots spellings of Gaelic simple patronymic bynames and surnames based on such bynames in the 16th century. For example, a single entry/paragraph from 1567 in the Inverness burgh court books refers to the same man first as "Jame McFale" and then as "Jame Mak Fale".[Mackay, p. 159] Black s.n. MACKENZIE cites "Makkangze and McKangzie 1569". Entries in Black for many of the <MAC-> surnames show similar spelling variations (e.g., s.nn. MACDONALD, MACDOUAL, MACDOUGAL).

Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald

The construction <Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald> follows the women’s name pattern:

<given name> Neyn <father’s full name>

which is found in the 16th century Inverness burgh court books. [Mackay]

That it is the father’s full name that follows <Neyn> in this type of name construction is demonstrated by this example where both a woman with this type of name and her father are named:
"Marrat Neyn Andra Brebnar and the said Andro Brebnar hir fadyr" dated 1576 [Mackay, p. 250]

Other women’s names that follow this pattern include:
"Mage Neyn Donald McMorresit" dated 1574/5 [Mackay, p. 241]
"Christan Neyn Ane McThomas" dated 1585 [Mackay, p. 299]
"Jonat Neyn Aye McRobert" dated 1585 [Mackay, p. 301]
"Jannet and Cristan Nyn Gillepadryk Crowbach" dated 1561 [Mackay, p. 53]
"Anne Neyn Fynla Moyr" dated 1563 [Mackay, p. 107]
"Agnes Neyn Fynla Moir" dated 1577 [Mackay, p. 258]
"Crystane Nyne Ane Ross" dated 1564 [Mackay, p. 118]

Note that, at least for some names, there is some question whether following <Neyn> affects the form or spelling of the father’s given name in this name construction in Scots. For example, the name of the father of <Crystane Nyne Ane Ross> would most likely appear independently as <Johne Ross> and the name of the father of <Christan Neyn Ane McThomas> as <Johne McThomas> -- it appears the form <Ane> is only found in bynames in the published Inverness burgh court books and elsewhere. However, since the spelling <Ken3ocht> was found used both for the given name and as part of the byname in the example <Ken3ocht M’Ken3ocht> from Black [see above], this doesn’t appear to be a concern for the proposed name <Effric Neyn Ken3ocht Mcherrald>.

Similarly, there is some question whether the <Mc> found in the father’s byname after <Neyn> is an abbreviation for <Mac> or for some representation of an underlying genitive form of <Mac> (i.e., a Scots representation of Gaelic <mic> or <mhic>). <Mc> is consistently used in the father’s byname in the examples of <Mage Neyn Donald McMorresit>, <Christan Neyn Ane McThomas>, <Jonat Neyn Aye McRobert> [see above] and in parallelly constructed men’s names found in the Inverness burgh court books, such as
"Alister McWilliam McPhadrik ... narrest and lauchfull air to his wmquhill father William McPhadrik" dated 1579 [Mackay, p. 269]
"Robart McWilliam McOlmorrye ... and Allister McOlmorrye his fadyr brother" dated 1561 [Mackay, p. 64]
"Duncane McAllen McKennycht" dated 1562 [Mackay, p. 85]
"Rorie McAllister McKennycht" dated 1562 [Mackay, p. 85]
"Farquhar McFarquhar McAne Wayne ... his wmquhill fadyr Farquhar McAne Wayne" dated 1566 [Mackay, p. 141]

It is because of this use of <Mc> that the spelling <Mcherrald> is requested rather than the documentary <Makherrald> that was found in Black.

References (Photocopies included for those marked in bold type.)


Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History. Edinburgh: Birlinn, 1993.

AFRICA (p. 10)

MACHAROLD (p. 508)

MACKENZIE (pp. 225-6)


Robinson, Mairi, ed. The Concise Scots Dictionary. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1987.

Z (p. 815)


Da'ud ibn Auda and Talan Gwynek. February 1996 LoAR Cover Letter [WWW]. SCA, 6 Jan 2000 [cited 10 Nov 2000]. Available from http://sca.org/heraldry/loar/1996/02/cvr.html


Mackay, William, and Herbert Cameron Boyd, eds. Records of Inverness, Volume I. Burgh Court Books: 1556-86. Publications of the New Spalding Club, vol. 38. Aberdeen: New Spalding Club, 1911.

pp.53, 64, 85, 107, 118, 141, 159, 241, 250, 258, 269, 299, 301


Simpson, Grant G. Scottish Handwriting 1150-1650: An Introduction to the Reading of Documents. New ed. East Linton, Scotland: Tuckwell Press, 1998.

p. 42 & Plate 19

[DrupalCon London icon] Help Sharon win a trip to attend DrupalCon London!
  Web MedievalScotland.org