National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Further Information and Notes

Further Information and Notes

20 December 2006

An Occasional Paper published in January 2001, entitled Popular Forenames in Scotland, 1900 – 2000 gives details of trends in forenames in the 20th century. A table 'Top ten most popular names registered in Scotland in 1855, 1900, 1950, 1975 and 2004 '  extracted from the Registrar General’s Annual Report for 2004 also gives a breakdown for 1855, the first year of civil registration in Scotland.

An Occasional Paper on Surnames in Scotland over the last 140 years was published on our website early in 2003.

The Registrar General's registration records, which date back to 1855, have been augmented to include a computerised index to the Church of Scotland parish registers back to 1553. This has enabled customers to analyse the frequency of occurrence of Scottish forenames and surnames over four centuries. For further information on the availability of data please contact us using our enquiries page.  

There are many websites dedicated to name lists, such as, which give much background information and links to other sites of interest.


  • All births have, by law, to be registered, and the records sent in by local registrars to the General Register Office for Scotland. This allows the production of tables showing the most popular first forenames, not just for a section of the population or those announced in a particular newspaper, but for all new babies born in Scotland.
  • All of the information for 2006 contained in these tables is provisional. It is based on births registered up to early-December 2006. The information for 2005 contained in this paper is for the full year, and therefore varies from that contained in last year's paper.
  • The rankings were based on the first forename recorded on the birth register.
  • Different spellings, e.g. Stephen, Steven, were counted separately.
  • Accents were ignored.

All statistical publications