Laird surname variations
What may be the final word on name variations... many thanks to Ann!
From: Ann Scamahorn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tuesday, August 25, 1998 3:59 PM
Subject: Re: Lard, Laird, Leaird, Leard, Leird (All related somehow)
Re: Spelling changes
1. Yes, terrible spellers + inconsistent spelling. Remember that the U.S. Census
was taken verbally -- not everyone could read or write. The census taker
simply wrote down what he heard. Think of how our different regional,
American accents change the way we pronouce / hear / spell words.
We're our own worst enemies. I'm from Texas!
2. Take the name back to the Celtic nations where it appears --
especially Ireland and Scotland. Remember again -- especially in the old
country -- that knowledge was passed on verbally by the Bard of each clan
to others. It was only in the late fourth/early fifth century AD -- after
St. Patrick's Christianization of Ireland -- that knowledge began to be
written down by the Irish monks. These little monks actually saved
Western literature and all remnants of Western civilization when Rome
fell and all libraries and archives went up in smoke.
("How the Irish Saved Civilization," Thomas Cahill / Doubleday
So that adds regional accents to lack of written records. Pick
a spelling, any spelling: Lard, Laird, Leaird, Leard, Leird
3. "Laird" seems to be the strongest surviving spelling. But know
that in the Celtic language, "Laird" is pronounced "Larrrrrd." It is we
Americans applying our immaculate rules of pronuncation the makes the "a"
in "Laird" a long "a" before the "i", instead of the short "a" --
pronounced "ah" in the rest of the world. So when some of the census
counts were taken in this country, the respondant said "Laird". The census taker
heard "Lard" and that's what was recorded for all time, confounding
the rest of us.
4. In my own quests, studying Celtic and simply applying old world
pronunciations, the name began to sound like "Lord." (Think of
"Lawd" for Lord in the Deep South vernacular.) Having begun to
tie things together, I looked in my book of "The Surnames of
Ireland" and found this explanation:
"Laird -- This is the Scottish form of Lord which is
found in the northern counties of Ireland in considerable
numbers, but is of comparatively recent introduction."
(Note "recent" introduction.)
5. Okay. My studies of Irish history (as a Duffy derivative from
Donegal) cause me to interpret this "Laird" explanation as
potentially those Protestant Scots -- the Presbyterians -- sent
by the Crown (I think King Edward) to colonize Ireland for
England. Considering that most Irish names go back before
written history and represent the tribes, the entry of these
Scots in the late 1500s makes their introduction rather
"recent." They fell in love with the land as well and count
themselves as Irish (already Celtic) -- not subjects of the
Crown at all. But they're still Protestant. So we've been
fighting for 400 years!
And doesn't it also make sense that the king would have sent
the feudal "lords" (lairds) themselves away, rather than have
them close enough to rebel against him, since the Scots have
never been real fans of the English anyway, either???
Also note that the English are an entirely separate strain of
people, being Anglo-Saxon. We from Ireland, Scotland, Wales,
the Isle of Mann, and Isle of Skye -- and 2 other places -- are
Celtic. (There were 7 Celtic nations, whose inhabitants came
from Ireland, whose original "pioneers" came from the Iberian
Peninsula to Ireland by boat, bypassing England.) So there has never
been any love loss between England and these other countries, as we
are not the same people at all.
6. Re: Holy Moses Lard (Lord) -- doesn't that add quite a prestigious
spin to the family history?!? I knew Moses was of the Lord, I just
hadn't realized that he was Irish -- although we Irish are known to be very
Really -- I was fascinated to find information about Lard's
Quarterly and his biography through Infoseek. I would love to read some of his
treatises. Although claiming to be Church of Christ, he uses some very
Calvinistic / Presbyterian topics and thoughts. His language is quite
Reformed. And I believe that the Church of Christ was a branch -- or a break --
from the Presbyterian Church. Moses was from the Cumberland region,
as I recall, and that is also the strong roots of the southern branch
of the Presbyterians. With his Scottish (Reformed / Presbyterian)
heritage, it all falls together.
7. Historical summary: Reformation 1520s. Martin Luther has a little
disagreement with the Catholic Church. Goes to Switzerland. Jean
(John) Calvin, an attorney from Paris is in Switzerland, one of
Martin Luther's drinking buddies it is told, writes the "Institutes of
Christian Theology" (1524) expressing the Reformed thinking -- still a
theological study base today (Ask your pastor about his MDiv
John Knox of Scotland visits Switzerland and brings the Reformed
Theology back to Scotland -- bypassing the Anglican/Episcopalean
interpretation of Catholic Lite by declared by King Henry VII in 1523. Later the
Scottish feudal "lairds" -- the Presbyterians -- are sent to northern
Ireland by the Crown. From Ireland, then many, many came to the United States in
the 1850s -- Protestant and Catholic rather than starve to death in
the potato famine, exacerbated and perpetuated by the uncaring hand of the
I believe over 2,000,000 Irishmen died.
And that leaves us trying to figure out who was who! Do-dah. Do-dah.
Hope this helps!
Ann / Amarillo