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Personal names on Hebridean Connections

When compiling genealogical information about Gaelic-speaking communities, the treatment of personal names can be far from straightforward. Official English-language records have traditionally used English ‘equivalents’ to the Gaelic-language first names by which people were actually known. Some of these, such as Donald for Dòmhnall, are more or less universal. But if a woman was known as Oighrig, for example, this might appear in the records as either Henrietta or Euphemia, apparently at the whim of the person compiling the original record. For this and other reasons, additional information is needed to discover how someone officially recorded as ‘Euphemia Macleod’, for instance, would have been known to her friends and family. To reflect this fact, records of people in Hebridean Connections can include Gaelic patronymics and nicknames in addition to the English name that constitutes the title of the record.

Because our information has been compiled from a variety of sources including oral history and official documents, there is inevitably a degree of inconsistency in the treatment of English names. Some attempt has been made at standardisation, but we are aware that standardised English names may differ from the names used in practice by people who lived part or all of their lives in a bilingual or anglophone society. 

The following list may help users to track down possible alternatives where an initial search fails to find a person under a particular name. It features only the most significant variants of frequently occurring local names, and does not include all possible spellings. English names that are normally considered different but are linked via a common Gaelic equivalent are shown together in the list. Note that there is considerable local variation in whether or not particular names are considered as being equivalent to one another.


Alexander (common Gaelic equivalent: Alasdair). Variants: Alex, Alec, Alick, Ailig, Sandy, Alastair, Alistair

Angus (common Gaelic equivalent: Aonghas). Variants: Angie, Angaidh

Donald (common Gaelic equivalent: Dòmhnall). Variants: Donnie, Donny, Dolan, Dolaidh

Evander (common Gaelic equivalent: Ìomhair). Variants: Ivor, Iver

John (common Gaelic equivalent: Iain). Variants: Johnny, Ian, Jack, Jock, Seoc, Seocan, Seonaidh, Seonachan, Shonnie

Kenneth (common Gaelic equivalent: Coinneach). Variants: Kenny, Ceanaidh

Lewis (Gaelic equivalent: Luthais). Variant: Louis

Murdo (common Gaelic equivalent: Murchadh). Variants: Murdie, Murdani, Murdigan, Murdaidh, Murdanaidh, Murdoch

Norman (common Gaelic equivalent: Tarmod). Variants: Tormod, Nomie, Norrie, Nomaidh

Peter (common Gaelic equivalent: Pàdraig). Variants: Peadar, Patrick, Pat

Roderick (common Gaelic equivalent: Ruairidh). Variants: Roddy, Derrick, Rory, Ruaraidh

Samuel (common Gaelic equivalent: Somhairle). Variants: Sam, Sorley, Somerled

Zachariah (common Gaelic equivalent: Sgàire). Variant: Zachary


Alexandra (common Gaelic equivalent: Leagsaidh). Variants: Addie, Adaidh, Alexanderina, Alexia, Lexy, Sandy, Sandra, Aline

Angusina (common Gaelic equivalent: Ineag). Variants: Agnes, Nessie

Annabella (common Gaelic equivalent: Barabal). Variants: Barbara, Baba, Barabla, Beildidh

Catherine (common Gaelic equivalent: Ceiteag). Variants: Cathy, Kathy, Kath, Kate, Kathleen, Catriona, Caitrìona, Ceit, Ceitidh

Christina (common Gaelic equivalent: Criosaidh). Variants: Christine, Christy, Kristy, Kirsty, Ciorstaidh, Ciorstag, Cairistìona (also Chrisann, sometimes equated with Christina Ann but often treated as a single name)

Dolina (common Gaelic equivalent: Doileag). Variants: Donaldina, Dolly, Dolag, Dolaidh

Elizabeth (common Gaelic equivalent: Ealasaid). Variants: Betsy, Bessie, Betty, Beasaidh, Beasag, Beathag, Beit, Eliza, Liz

Euphemia (common Gaelic equivalent: Oighrig). Variants: Effie, Henrietta, Etta, Henny, Eibhrig

Gormelia (common Gaelic equivalent: Gormail). Variant: Millie, Gormshuil

Isabella (common Gaelic equivalent: Beileag). Variants: Isabel, Isobel, Ishbel, Bell, Bellag, Bella, Isa (also Bellann, sometimes equated with Isabella Ann but often treated as a single name)

Janet (common Gaelic equivalent: Seònaid). Variants: Jessie, Jess, Seasaidh, Seasag

Jean (common Gaelic equivalent: Sìne). Variants: Sheena, Jane, Sìneag

Joanna (common Gaelic equivalent: Seonag). Variants: Johan, Johanna, Joan

Kenina (common Gaelic equivalent: Ceanag). Variants: Kennina, Kennethina

Malcolmina (common Gaelic equivalent: Miona). Variants: Malina, Mina, Mionag

Margaret (common Gaelic equivalent: Mairead). Variants: Maggie, Magaidh, Peggy, Peigi, Maighread

Marion (common Gaelic equivalent: Mòr). Variants: Mòrag, Sarah, Sadie

Neilina (common Gaelic equivalent: Neileag). Variants: Nell, Nellie, Neilidh

Rebecca (common Gaelic equivalent: Beathag). Variant: Sophie

Williamina (common Gaelic equivalent: Miona). Variants: Willag, Mina

Note: In addition to the above, most or all female names ending in ‘-ina’ are often shorted to Ina or Ena.