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12 old Scottish names that could be popular again soon thanks to ‘100 year rule’

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Choosing a name for your child is a very important process, and fortunately there are countless gorgeous Scottish names to choose from.

Whether you’re interested in the most popular names across the country, or are keen on something a bit more unique, there is no shortage of stunning girl’s and boy’s names that have Scottish roots.




If you are interested in a name that is both historic and unique, the best thing to do is to look to the past. There are plenty of names that, while once common, have fallen out of fashion over the years — and they are a great source of inspiration.

It is believed that, when it comes to baby names, there is a ‘100-year rule’. The theory claims that names gradually fallen out of fashion, but have a comeback every century or so as parents seek out unique choices that are no longer common.


The Daily Record has therefore journeyed back in time over 100 years to investigate at most popular boy’s and girl’s names in Scotland. Looking at the list on the National Records of Scotland website, we have compiled 12 that we think could be seeing a revival very soon.

As there are no baby name records for 1923, we have journeyed back even further to 1900 — so these names are overdue a comeback.

Here are 12 common names in Scotland in 1900 that could be popular again soon thanks to the 100-year rule.

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Agnes is one name that you still come across from time to time, but it is certainly not among the most popular baby names these days. Previously the sixth most popular girl’s name in 1900, it means ‘pure’ and ‘holy’. There have been many Scottish women with the name over the years, but among the most well known is Agnes Forbes Blackadder, a Scottish medical doctor who became the first female graduate of the University of St Andrews. Sounds like wonderful inspiration for a baby girl.

(Image: Image courtesy of the Decker family, CC BY-SA 3.0 )

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Dugald is a Scottish masculine name that is a variant of Dougal. It was the 60th most popular boy’s name back in 1900, and you can bet it hasn’t been that high up in a long time. Among the most famous Scots to have had the name was philosopher and mathematician, to who there is a monument erected on Calton Hill in Edinburgh (pictured). Meaning ‘dark stranger’, this mysterious name is definitely one that we can see coming back in style because of the 100-year rule.

(Image: Ad Meskens, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

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Originally of Hebrew origin, the name Jeanie means ‘God is gracious’. It was the 13th most popular name in Scotland back in 1900, and we can definitely see it reaching similar heights in the future. Though spelt with an extra n, folk singer Jeannie Robertson (pictured) — best known for her song ‘I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day’ — is probably the most famous Scot with the name.

(Image: Brian Shuel/Redferns)

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The 22nd most popular boy’s name in 1900, Walter may sound a bit old-fashioned to some, but we can definitely see it coming back into style in the near future. The name, which is Germanic in origin, means ‘commander of the army’. Historian, novelist, and poet Sir Walter Scott (pictured) is undoubtedly the most famous Scot to have had the name, and arguably the most famous person around the world.

(Image: National Galleries Of Scotland/Getty Images)

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Marion is a gorgeous name of French origin that can be used for both boys and girls, though the former is more rare. While once the 17th most popular girl’s name in Scotland, it has fallen out of fashion over the years. Meaning ‘star of the sea’ or ‘beloved’, it definitely deserves a comeback.

(Image: Cavan Images / Getty Images)

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Hector was the 25th most popular boy’s name in Scotland back in 1900, and has long been used in the country as an Anglicised form of the Gaelic name Eachann. The name means ‘steadfast’ or ‘holdfast’. There aren’t many historic Scots with the name, with philosopher and historian Hector Boece being among the most well known, but that just means you can be ahead of the curve if you are looking for a great boy’s name.

(Image: Photos.com / Getty Images)

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Martha is a feminine name . Meaning ‘the lady’, it was the 19th most popular girl’s name in Scotland back in 1900. Famous Scottish Marthas are few and far between, with the most well known historical figure with the name likely being Martha Graham (pictured) — an American choregrapher who is said to have revolutionised the world of dance. If you are looking for something truly unique, then the Scottish Gaelic form Moireach is also a beautiful name.

(Image: Yousuf Karsh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

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This one-of-a-kind name is unmistakably Scottish in origin, and means ‘son of the sea warrior’. It’s not surprising that it was one of the most popular boy’s names back in 1900, but what is surprising is that it is not seen more often these days. Definitely one that deserves a renaissance.

(Image: Jacek Kadaj / Getty Images)

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If you have seen the recent Barbie movie, you will know that the name of the iconic doll is actually a shorthand for Barbara. The name, which means ‘stranger’ or ‘foreign’, also has a Scottish Gaelic variant in the form of Barabal. Barbara was the 20th most popular baby name in Scotland in 1900, and don’t be surprised if it climbs back up the rankings over the next few years.

(Image: INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

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This boy’s name of German origin means ‘noble’ and ‘bright’, so it is very fitting that the most famous historical figure with the name is Albert Einstein. It was the 34th most common boy’s name in Scotland in 1900, and while you still see it every so often, this is definitely one that deserves a comeback.

(Image: MPI/Getty Images)

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Often heard in Scotland back in the day, Williamina was the 25th most popular girl’s name in the country in 1900. Meaning ‘protector’ or ‘resolute protection’, it is also a feminine form of the name William. Among the most famous historical Scots with the name is Williamina Barclay (pictured), a nurse who persuaded the inhabitants of the remote Scottish archipelago of St Kilda to evacuate to leave the islands and seek medical treatment.

(Image: (Image: Public Domain/News Dog Media), CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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Meaning ‘glory’ and ‘ruler’, any boy given the name Roderick is certainly set up for success. The strong-sounding name, which is German in origin, was the 47th most popular pick back in 1900. Celebrated geologist Roderick Murchison (pictured) is among the most well known Scots to have had the name.

(Image: Maull & Polyblank, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

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