Guest post: Neish – A One Name Study

A one title examine appears to be like on the origins of a surname reasonably than a
particular person or a household. Right here, Alisdair Neish explains how getting
concerned with the examine led to him discovering folks from throughout
the world with the identical surname.

Alisdair welcomes data on any Neish-related names so as to add to the database, and is very looking for assist with Northern Irish branches: McNeice, McNiece, and McNeece.


I discovered early that it’s not unusual to develop up not figuring out anybody else who shares your surname. My solely Uncle and my Dad’s final remaining Uncle died after I was round 12. It was 10 years later, the yr my Dad died, earlier than I met one other Neish. My early analysis uncovered nearly nothing apart from the McNab Folklore. [1]

I realised we have been on the market because the Neish / McNeish title had a behavior of popping up in information objects or documentaries, particularly after the beginning of the web. I quickly contacted numerous people who, like me, didn’t know a lot past their instant household.

Then I used to be emailed by John Sudell Neish who’s making a One Title database of each Neish who ever lived. I used to be in a position to inform John sufficient to hyperlink into his knowledge and John was in a position to inform me that we have been sixth cousins and was form sufficient to supply me with particulars of my complete household group since our frequent ancestor  of 1715. My analysis continued although.

Picture: Loch Earn, dwelling of the Neish clan (©  Patrick MacRitchie)

Even with a uncommon title it’s important to watch out with analysis. I’ve seen household timber on-line the place a person is recorded as marrying his mom and a “tremendous” Neish fathering a baby when in his nineties. After all each have been fallacious. I’ve confirmed 4 “Alexander Neish” infants all born in a single tiny farm village in the identical yr. Care is at all times wanted. So many individuals grew to become upset at John when he identified the generally obvious errors in their very own analysis that he has stopped all direct on-line interplay to focus on the Neish checklist.

I and some others now do our greatest, utilizing his knowledge and follow, to fill that on-line hole. We additionally collate no matter new data we will study and go that again to John for corroboration and inclusion within the grasp database.

I’m pleased to assist anybody who’s in search of Neish data if I can. After all we’re at all times pleased to obtain new data too, so as to add to the checklist which now stands at 25,000 people from all all over the world. From farm arms to astronauts!

By the start of Scottish parish data there have been already 5 distinct household teams in Scotland. This instructed there was extra historical past to uncover from earlier than the times of parish data.

The title (and its 40+ spellings) is uncommon sufficient that no-one had actually labored on it because the nineteenth century. My very own analysis is principally into the various tons of of randomly recorded people going again to 1200 AD (presumably even older however no agency proof as but) which instructed a single supply and most of my present work lies in attempting to show / disprove our early historical past. Nothing fitted the highland Clan system. That is a narrative for one more day.

Most Scots clan names check with an allegiance to a selected group or a powerful chief who protected the native inhabitants in occasions of bother. For instance Son of Gregor has given us McGregor. At the moment many teams declare to be a part of Massive clans and are thought-about to be septs of the clan. Some Neish joined up with the McGregors and are accepted by clan societies in the present day as a sept. This doesn’t inform us the place they got here from. Have been the Neish the sons of 1 man or a gaggle of oldsters residing below the protectorate of that chief?

Just lately, following a request, I regarded into the Northern Eire household the place the spelling typically altered to McNeice, McNiece, and McNeece. Sadly, because of the mixture of adjusting authorities and a hearth within the data workplace we’ve got massive gaps within the historical past of the household earlier than the 1920’s. Establishing who belongs to which household on a countrywide scale is proving tough and we’d love to listen to from anybody who has already checked out, or is presently trying into the Irish household to see if we can assist one another.

If you need to get in contact with Alisdair, you may e mail him at, and/or be part of the Neish Facebook group.


[1] A McNab chief headed “the violent feud with the Clan Neish, or MacNeish, who held the lands within the higher a part of Strathearn and lived on the decrease a part of Loch Earn, which they known as Neish Island.” From

As Alisdair famous above (and anybody researching Irish ancestry) can attest, Irish family tree has it is personal explicit set of challenges for the researcher. In a couple of weeks, Pat Reynolds (FreeUKGEN’s govt director) might be writing about data pertaining to Northern Eire on our web sites, and within the new yr we are going to current a collection of visitor posts from a specialist within the discipline of Irish family tree, that can assist you overcome these boundaries.