The Madness of ‘Mc’ Surnames

Carol Baxter
Jul 6, 2022
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2m 58s
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Speaker's Introduction
1m 55s
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9m 47s
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4m 09s
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The MC Prefix
18m 47s
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The Root Name
22m 49s
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Transcription Errors
3m 23s
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Announcements / prizes
5m 26s
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Questions / answers
7m 32s

About this webinar

If you have already worked out that ‘Mc’ and ‘Mac’ surnames are the most complicated British surnames, you must listen to this webinar. And if you haven’t already worked this out, you must absolutely listen to this webinar. ‘Mc’ surnames are double the trouble because they can suffer distortions at the beginning, middle and end of the ‘Mc’ prefix as well as at the beginning, middle and end of the rest of the surname, the root word. Sound glides are a particular problem, in which the ‘k’ sound at the end of the ‘Mc’ prefix distorts the first letter of the root word (e.g. McCue/McKew/McHugh, McLachlan/McGloughlan). Transcription errors can also produce a non-‘Mc’ surname (e.g. Mackever/Markever) which can prove a trap for the unwary. This seminar will help you keep you sane when you encounter the complexities of these mad Scottish-origin surnames.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Carol Baxter is an experienced and informed historian and genealogist, an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning author, and a dynamic, inspirational presenter. Carol has been a genealogist for four decades having first become interested
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  1. KM
    Karrisa Moseley
    8 months ago

    I have McElroy on my maternal side (with the Mc pronounced like Mac as she does in the example in the video) and my married name is now McMicken (with the Mc pronounced like the short Mc sound, like McDonald’s McChicken lol).

  2. JM
    John McBee
    2 years ago

    My biggest problem in the digital age for Mc names is spacing between the Mc and the rest of the name. Take my name as an example. My last name is McBee. Many times it is shown as McBee. Many times it is shown as Mc Bee with a space between the Mc and the Bee.
    I do not understand why IT people will change it from the way it is shown. I know that some people will want a space and that that a mistrock on the keyboard can happen, but it will cause problems when searching own a computer.

  3. MW
    Martin Watson
    2 years ago

    I have 50+ variations of a family name, Loughborough, and I will apply a lot of this. I have over 50 variants, including Loughrough with 2 ‘o’s, Luffboro, Lovebarrow, Lawnburrow, Lickbarrow, etc. It has given me many ideas, and I am only 20 minutes in.

  4. DB
    David Burns
    2 years ago

    This is a truly outstanding presentation of a complex subject. Ms. Baxter’s background in linguistics and her ability to present that in a simplified fashion is masterful. I’ve long been aware of the frequent exchanges of letters due to OCR limitations, m for n, u for n, etc. and I’ve realized that transcribers make the same sorts of errors, but I hadn’t really thought about the connection between the aural and the written making these same sorts of exchanges. For the last decade or so I have worked in elections doing signature verification which is really more like a graphic image recognition than considering individual letters in many cases, but sometimes you do have to examine a signature more closely to determine how the letters were formed and connected, so this lecture resonated with me on many levels.

  5. MM
    Michael Malcolm
    2 years ago

    Yep, my mother’s maiden name is McKinlay. Now that’s story in itself!

  6. SM
    Suzanne McClendon
    2 years ago

    Yes! My husband was born McClendon and also has McDaniel ancestors, and although my legal maiden name is Gunter, my biological maiden name is McDaniel. We have “Mc”-something everywhere we turn. :

  7. JM
    Jenny MacKay
    2 years ago

    A welcome webinar on Mc Mac surname from one who married a MacKay, is that McKAY, or McKy? Who knows!

  8. LC
    Laurie Castillo
    2 years ago

    Very illuminating. It is imperative that we learn as much as we can about names and potential name variants. This increases our ability to find more records for our ancestors. Carol Baxter is a delightful presenter. I look forward to her next presentation.


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