I recently read an article about a new book on the history of surnames.* Apparently in South Korea, a country of nearly fifty million people almost half the population share the same five surnames - Kim, Lee, Choi, Park and Chong. Perhaps as family historians we are lucky to have such a diverse number of surnames in Scotland!
To date Troon@Ayrshire F.H.S. has published monumental inscriptions for 30 cemeteries and graveyards around Ayrshire. Having worked on a number of these I have noticed a recurring pattern of names, some of which are very common, such as Smith, Miller and Wilson but there are also some less common ones which turn up across Ayrshire, for example Eaglesham, Wason and Sproat. I have also noticed the variation in spelling of some of these names which can make it difficult when trying to track down one’s ancestors. In our own family we have the name Beattie which has, on occasion, caused us problems being written down as Beatie, Beatty, Beaty, Baty and even Batty. From time to time a number of foreign names turn up belonging to people who have come to settle in Ayrshire. French, German, Dutch, Italian, Polish surnames are not uncommon and there is at least one lady of Russian birth buried locally.
I thought it might be useful to family history researchers in our area to make a cumulative index of all the surnames we have transcribed. This was a bigger task than I had anticipated as the list, when completed to date, ran to 13,421 entries.
The cemeteries and graveyards covered by this index are those for which we have published Memorial Inscriptions. See the MIs section of our Publications page. Surnames only, not individual people, will be listed alphabetically alongside the cemetery/graveyard in which the grave can be found. Published as a database the cumulative index can be updated as new cemeteries or parts of cemeteries are transcribed by our members. By compiling this index I hope you may be able to find some illusive member of your family tree who has evaded your attention in the past.