Once I started thinking about the importance of names as a link to the past (On names as an echo of a long-distant past), I wondered what my family naming pattern would look like. Word clouds are a great tool for this, displaying representing the frequency of any word by size. I used Wordle to generate this picture of the christian names in my family.
The thing that struck me – apart from the high frequency of a small number of names (which I knew anecdotally anyway) was that although these names were common in Scotland, they are not really Scots names. Apart from a few Andrews and a Donald, most of these names could easily have come from south of the Border. I guess what that tells me is that my ancestors -at least as far as I’ve been able to trace them – are lowland Scots, whose links to England, France and the Low Countries were probably stronger than those to their highland countrymen and women.