Discoveries Abroad

I’m in the UK for a vacation, not genealogical research, but have had discoveries nonetheless.

Thinking back on my Scots-Irish post, it’s funny that it took me this long to make that connection. Nearby Edinburgh Castle, inside Geoffrey (Tailor), I looked over all of the family heraldry and there were my family names again: Martin, McNeely, Henderson, Livingston. I didn’t buy any heraldry-related products; I wasn’t sure I needed a McNeely keychain. It was just interesting to see them all and to see the tartans that were associated with these names.

Geoffrey (Tailor) also offers name look-ups, whether Scottish or not. I’m always skeptical about these things, but what appealed to me here was to find out when my surname first appeared on the rolls in the UK. I also wanted to know where it showed up. I’ve traced us back to the 1700s in Virginia, but I have not found an immigrant and although I assume they came from England, I’m not sure. What I found out was that our name first appears on The Shropshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, in 1191. There are also place names in the 1086 Domesday Book.

I probably shouldn’t have, but I purchased the document that they offered which stated this and shows the related coat of arms. They say they have a linguist on staff who translates the info about the surname into modern English and a heraldic artist on staff who uses that translation to then draw the coat of arms. Of course, from what I’ve read an English coat of arms was given to a person and not a family, so it’s not really mine per se. I got caught up in the history though and couldn’t help myself.

I wanted to learn more about the surname rolls and found the online Surname Database to have a wealth of information on most names.

We don’t ever necessarily trace back to the folks who these surname explanations are based on, but you never know…