Thursday, 30 May 2013

Scottish 'tee names' in the Valuation Rolls

ScotlandsPeople ( has issued a press release about the newly released 1895 valuation roll on its site - amongst the list of the great and the good found in the press release is the following very useful section on something that may help a hell of a lot of you to find ancestors in the north east, because up there, they did things differently when it came to surnames! Welcome to the wonderful world of Scottish tee names...

Here goes:

'Tee names' - community nicknames for people in NE Scotland

A splendid and quirky feature of the 1895 Valuation Rolls is the 'tee names' of people who lived in north-east Scotland, and also some locations in Fife, Argyll and Gairloch (though it was mainly NE Scotland).

'Tee names' are community nicknames, so researchers who are looking for forbears from NE Scotland might stumble upon their ancestors' nicknames. Further, by discovering the 'tee name' of an ancestor, you might also learn something about a character trait (or physical characteristic) of that ancestor. To give you a better idea about 'tee names', we've included a VR entry for Buckie in the Parish of Rathven, which contains some wonderful examples of these nicknames (see

Given that Neil Munro originally hailed from Inveraray in Argyllshire, we've also been musing on the possibility that 'Para Handy' (captain of 'The Vital Spark') might be a 'tee name'.

So far, 'Costie Stone' and 'Smacker' are our favourite 'tee names'! If you find the 'tee name' of one of your ancestors, then please give us a shout.

(With thanks to ScotlandsPeople - it's press releases can be found at


My new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, is now available from Pen and Sword. My next Pharos Scottish course, Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers, starts May 15th - see Time to smash a few brick walls...!


  1. Today is the first time I have come across the term "tee name". However, I have long known about nicknames, or by-names, in use in Cellardyke, a fishing village in Fife, in by-gone years (and perhaps still today?), where many individuals had the same given and surnames. Harry D Watson, in his book "Kilrenny and Cellardyke" [John Donald publisher, 1986] gives some examples in the CUNNINGHAM family such as "Baxter Rob" (= Robert Cunningham married to Janet Baxter) and "Harmony Rob" (Robert Cunningham, skipper of boat "Harmony"). As Harry says, "A man might be distinguished by either of of two female appellations – that of his boat or that of his wife." Harry goes on to say that in large clans a sub-group name may be applied before the by-name of the individual: eg the 'Barony' Watsons, the 'Singing' Watsons and the 'Forrester' Watsons (page 121).

  2. Hi.
    Your link to the Buckie Tee names is no longer valid. I'm wondering if I could get a copy as my Grannie's family is all from Buckie. Her mom was Annie Bowie.
    Cheers & thank you
    Melissa Oakford

    Also do you have a copy of the press release from the ScotlandsPeople site, that record is also no longer available.

  3. Hi;
    I'm wondering if its possible to have your Buckie Tee names emailed to me. The link above is no longer available. My Grannie and all her ancestors were from Buckie.
    ALso do you have a copy of the press release from ScotlandsPeople. That document is also no longer available.
    Cheers & thank you,
    Melissa Oakford
    Vancouver, Canada

  4. See and