Making Sense of Surname Spellings: The Madness of "Mac" Surnames - Scotland

Making Sense of Surname Spellings: The Madness of "Mac" Surnames - Scotland

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Making Sense of Surname Spellings: The Madness of "Mac" Surnames; by Carol Baxter; 2018; 72 pp; 5.75x8.25; b&w photos, appendixes, bibliog, index, paperback; ISBN: 9781925323771; Item #: RUTP0504a

If you have determined that 'Mc' and 'Mac' surnames are the most complicated surnames originating in the British Isles, you need to read this book. And if you haven't already worked that out, you 'desperately' need to read this book.

For example, imagine if you were researching the surname McClarence and to your surprise, you stumbled upon a variant McLawrence. And you were researching McLachlan and saw it written as McGloughlan. And you were researching McGuigan and found McQuigan, and you saw McQuade written as McWade, and McWright written as McRight, and McReady and McCready.

By this stage you have gone all the way from 'McC' to 'McL' to 'McG' to 'McQ' to 'McW' to 'McR' and back to 'McC'. You would have every reason for tearing your hair out in confusion and thinking that "it's all too hard!".

But don't despair, there are logical reasons for all of these spelling exchanges, in fact they are predictable once you understand the sounds and letters of the English language and how they influence 'Mac' or 'Mc' surnames. The aim of this book is to communicate that information.

'The Madness of "Mac" Surnames' is not a surname dictionary, but rather a foundational guide to help you find other ways of spelling your 'Mac' surnames of interest.


  • Introduction
    • BDA database
    • Letters, sounds and surnames
  • 1. The madness of 'Mc' and 'Mac'
    • The 'Mc' prefix
    • 'Mc' abbreviations, squiggles and mistranscriptions
    • 'Mc' transcriptions
    • Other 'Mc' variations
    • Letter types
    • 'Mc' eliminations
    • 'Mc' replacements
  • 2.The 'M' in 'Mc' surnames
    • 'M' written as 'H'
    • 'M' written as 'N'
    • 'M' written as 'V'
    • 'M' written as 'W'
  • 3. The 'a' in 'Mc' surnames
    • Vowel sounds in 'Mc'
    • Syllable emphasis
    • Syllable emphasis and spellings
  • 4. The 'c' in 'Mc' surnames
    • The sound of 'c'
    • Consonant sound pairs
  • 5. The interaction between 'Mc' and the root word
    • 'Mc' plus vowel
    • 'Mc' plus 'B', 'D', 'F', 'P', 'S', 'T' or 'V'
    • 'Mc' plus 'C', 'G', 'K' or 'Q'
    • 'Mc' plus consonant sounds 'Ch', 'J' or 'Sh'
    • 'Mc' plus 'H'
    • 'Mc' plus consonants 'L' or 'R'
    • 'Mc' plus consonants 'M' or 'N'
    • 'Mc' plus 'W'
  • 6. How to analyse 'Mc' surnames
  • 7. 'Mc' alphabetical examples
    • McA
    • McB
    • McC
    • McD
    • McE
    • McF
    • McG
    • McH
    • McI
    • McJ
    • McK
    • McL
    • McM
    • McN
    • McO
    • McP
    • McQ
    • McR
    • McS
    • McT
    • McU
    • McV
    • McW
    • McX, McY and McZ
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix 1. Vowel sounds
  • Appendix 2. Consonant sounds
  • Appendix 3. Categories in chapter 7
  • Bibliography
    • Books
    • Websites
  • Surname index