Alias names – Scottish genealogy is littered with alias names in court and church records. What was behind the practice in Scotland and when did the tradition die out?

When researching your Scottish ancestry, particularly if you can trace your routes back to the Highlands, you may hit a brick wall around the turn of the 18th century.This could be due to common research limitations, such as lack documentation or records gone amiss, however, it could also be down to the peculiar case of alias surnames that became a particularly popular trend throughout the middle ages. Although not exclusive to Scotland, as research has uncovered a plethora of examples in English ancestral records, alias surnames were particularly prevalent, and used for reasons more interesting, throughout the Scottish Highlands, where last names were, at the time, already commonly interchangeable between the respective Gaelic and anglicised versions. So, what gave rise to this trend in Scotland? By James McKean Alias Names Origins in Britain The history of alias surnames in Britain runs almost concurrently to the developments of surnames themselves, with examples of which dating back to the 1460s. Alias surnames became more prominent at the start of the 16th century, when they were seen to become frequently documented throughout English, and later Scottish court documents, wills, and registers. When examining such records from this period, reasons for surname aliases can be inferred as being mainly a return in popularity of patronymic surnames, whereby members of the gentry would replace their surname with an alias in tribute to one of their forefathers. This may have been done so to retain family wealth and prestige, or as a means of keeping topographical ownership over land passed down through the generations. Alias names were, otherwise, used at this time to cover up illegitimate births. This trend started around London, and gradually moved north, with it being heavily documented in the north of England around the middle of the 17th century, and then further on towards Scotland. Culloden GaelicThe Battle of Culloden The most prevalent reason for the rise of alias names in Scotland, on the other hand, had a lot more to do with evading persecution by the British government. Following the final defeat of the Jacobite cause at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, highland clans were prosecuted, and many Gaelic last names were essentially blacklisted in the eyes of the British government through former association to the Jacobite cause. A series of acts, which included the outright banning of tartan, were imposed in the Highlands which were essentially aimed at vanquishing Scottish culture altogether. Gaelic had originally been outlawed in 1616 but was enforced a whole lot harder following the defeat of the Jacobite movement. It was in this era of repression of Scottish culture that many Scottish clans adopted alias surnames to distance themselves from the Jacobite cause and avoid punishment at the hands of the British government. Luckily for some clans, there were direct Anglicised versions of their Gaelic surname. For example, MacGhilledhuinn became Brown/Broun. Other times, seemingly unrelated English surnames replaced Gaelic ones, for example, Mac na Ceardaich commonly became Sinclair for a lot of clansmen. Phonetic rendering was also implemented for the likes of such surnames as McKay and Davidson, which were both phonetic renderings of the Gaelic name MacDhabhaidh, which translates to son of David. Although the Anglican replacements became the official title for many, the remained as merely an ‘alias’ to many, who still referred to themselves in their Gaelic title when in safe company. Rob Roy MacGregor Scottish folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor was a noteworthy early documented user of alias names in Scotland. Following the the outlawing of the Gaelic language in 1603, many Scottish clans either adopted a moniker or alias. Rob Roy was often referred to as Robert Campbell, however his son, Duncan Macgregor, opted instead to become Duncan Drummond. The reason for this was that the Gaelic clans took refuge under the surnames of their next of kin, or otherwise, another clan altogether. Many MacGregors at the time had adopted the names Drummond, Buchanan, Campbell, and Graham. Conclusion Although research into aliases in Scottish genealogy continues today, historians are far off uncovering all the intricate connections between seemingly unrelated surnames. For that reason, it may be impossible for some to ever trace their Scottish ancestry past the battle of Culloden.

The latest 007 film ‘No Time to Die’ will be released shortly. But is James Bond still relevant in 2021 and is it now time for Britain’s superspy to retire?

The name’s Bond, James Bond. Okay, that was a cheesy way to start but those words immediately grab your attention and I am pretty sure most people will have read that with the famous accent of Sean Connery. Since hitting the screens in 1962, Bond has always been the smash hit film of the year and is a national institute. However, is it time for the secret agent with a ‘license to kill’ to now pack up his Walther PPK and retire? By Phil Taylor James Bond is more than just a film star and before ‘Dr. No’, there were ten books written by Ian Fleming. In fact Fleming wrote four more about the English hero whilst films starring Sean Connery (a Scottish actor) were making millions at the box office. The post war books had managed to attract a following after the adaptations hit the big screen and Bond was born. It is seen as a great honour to play James Bond and there have been six actors to play him (films produced by Eon, so that does not include David Niven in Casino Royale). Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have all played 007 in the past 59 years. Over those 59 years there have been 24 films released and it is set to be 25 this year with No Time to Die expected to be released 8th October, however, it has faced several delays due to the global pandemic so there could be another. The most successful film at the box office was ‘Skyfall’ in 2012 starring Daniel Craig as it earned $1108.6 at the box office. The film directed by Sam Mendes was everything people love about Bond, a great storyline, a vengeful villain and a perfect piece of music by Adele which when you instantly hear it you think, “Bond.” The entire film series has grossed a whopping $7 billion and it sits in number six of the all time grossing movie series sandwiched in between ‘Spiderman’ and ‘X Men’. Despite being an instant hit in 1962, I do not think anybody expected the film series to still be producing films and making as much as it has at the box office. So despite its popularity and success at the box office, why are people suggesting it is time to end the Bond series after Daniel Craig’s final film is released this year? Matera James BondLinks to colonial past Fleming wrote his first book just after the end of WWII in 1951, England at the time still had a lot of ties with the Empire and Fleming was particularly proud of this fact. “James Bond is really an imperial throwback,” says Matthew Parker, author of Goldeneye, “He projects British power in all corners of the globe.” Fleming lived in Jamaica and he could see the change of the British Empire happening and he was not a fan,  “He didn’t like the fact that black people were getting the vote and that they were forming political parties and demanding much more respect,” Parker explains. “So he created James Bond as this sort of consoling fantasy for himself and his readers.” Parker argues that the nostalgia for the British Empire still plays a major role in the United Kingdom politics today. “Some of the people who voted to leave the European Union were really motivated by that same fantasy that is James Bond,” he notes. “The fantasy that Britain can still go out with its buccaneering spirit into the world and punch above its weight.” Far too sexist A Bond girl. A role that has connotations of being the main woman role but over time and looking back at former bond girls, this is certainly not the case and they find themselves playing second fiddle to James Bond. Especially earlier Bond films, the women were just seen as sex symbols and Bond was incredibly creepy around the women in the film. Culture writer Fiona Sturges echoes this point by stating, “These are grown women and co-stars being relegated to the status of side-dish to the more robust and interesting main course,” Women are seen as objects to Bond and this has been a constant battle between women’s rights activist and die hard Bond fans who are unable to see flaws of women in skimpy outfits and being used just for sex by Bond. However, in more modern Bond films we have seen attempts from characters such as M, Camille Montes and Jinx to remove the stigma as they portray a more rounded, hardened female character. But they are always needed to be saved by James Bond which does not empower women as much as it should do. James Bond retireLack of diversity One main problem that people have with James Bond is the lack of diversity about the main character. Every James Bond character has been a middle aged white man and there has not been a change to that. Actors such as Idris Elba have been mooted as a possible person to replace Craig to make it more relatable for a more diverse country. It would be a bold move to change the ethnicity or even the gender of Bond but it would be one that is welcomed by the majority of the country, even if there are grumblings from the minority. Although the Bond franchise does have some questionable content it is worth noting that the latter stages of Brosnan’s stint as Bond and certainly Craig’s time, we are seeing a more modern Bond who is challenged by women and has more interaction with diverse characters. Bringing in Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge as a writer, offers the franchise a chance to be more diverse especially with the longing question of female empowerment and not needing to rely on James. Is it time to retire Bond? Probably not, Bond just needs to be kept with the times rather than being forced back to his roots. The fundamentals of what make Bond brilliant are still being used but he, like a human, must keep changing to his surroundings.  
How many languages does James Bond speak? Find out here. Photocredit – Shutterstock

Amsterdam for lovers – things to do for couples on a romantic weekend break in the Dutch capital

When you take away the heavy-going nightlife, the ‘coffee shops’, and the obscure museums, Amsterdam remains to be one of the most accessible and fulfilling romantic getaway options available in Europe. With its idyllic backdrop of winding canals, colourful buildings, and tranquil parklands, there is a whole lot more to Amsterdam than meets the eye – read on to find out our top picks for romantic attractions and accommodations for couples on a weekend break in the Dutch capital. By James McKean Amsterdam has a reputation for fun – parties, stag weekends and its unique cafe culture. But it can be just as fun for couples on a romantic break. Here are some ideas of how you could spend your weekend. Parks and Gardens The best season to visit Amsterdam, and the preferred season for romantic getaways, is the springtime. Bright blue skies dominate this time of year and with the crocuses, tulips, and and daffodils all in bloom, the city parks are gifted an enchanting allure. Keukenhof Gardens – One of the best places that showcases the city’s spring charm is Keukenhof Park – with its extensive flower gardens open exclusively between March and May. Located south west of the city in the town of Lisse, this garden dates to the 19th century and sprouts over 7 million flowers annually. Located in a region known as ‘Bollenstreek’ which is home to many other idyllic gardens – it is recommended to make a day trip out of it from Amsterdam and to visit a few neighbouring gardens. Vondelpark – Located more centrally to the city and open all year round and is the most visited park in Amsterdam. Another one that looks best in the Spring, with a flower garden that boasts over 70 types of rose, there is also an open-air theatre, plus a variety of cafes and restaurants, such as the Café Vertigo, Groot Melkhuis, and Volderpark3. This is the best location for a romantic dinner or picnic! Amsterdam romantic weekendMuseums All of Amsterdam’s biggest cultural attractions are centrally located which makes romantic getaways very easy to organise. Amsterdam’s museum offerings are extensive, from the offbeat to the downright uncomfortable, however, out of the ones suitable for a romantic break, look no further than the Museum Square. Van Gogh Museum – This is the most popular museum in the whole of the Netherlands, and for good reason too. It contains the biggest collection of the awe-inspiring and massively influential work of Vincent Van Gogh, coupled with the works of his contemporaries to boot. Rijksmuseum – Another one for art lovers, this museum displays works by most reverent Dutch artists from the last 800 years, encapsulates numerous different eras, scenes, and styles, and boasts the most famed pieces by the likes of Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam – For a more eclectic mix of art, the Stedelijk boasts artworks from all eras, including up and coming contemporary art, amalgamated with classics by Monet, Picasso, and Renoir. Tours A canal tour may appear to be the obvious choice when it comes to romantic activities to do in Amsterdam, however, there is a wide variety of tours, involving all modes of transport, available throughout the city. Romantic Amsterdam Evening Canal Cruise with Wine and Dutch Cheese – This is the premium option when it comes to canal tours, and the best way to take in the wonder of the UNESCO-listed canals as the sun goes down. Bike tours – Amsterdam caters exceptionally well to cyclists, with 320 miles worth of dedicated cycle paths running throughout the city centre and beyond. It is very easy for tourists to make their way around on bike, even if they are unfamiliar with the streets, and with plenty quiet roads running through parklands, booking a bike tour should be an essential part of every romantic getaway in Amsterdam. Zaanse Schans Windmills – This is a full-day excursion, involving a boat ride to the Zaanse Schans Windmills, followed by tours of the Zaans Museum and the Cheese Factory, and finished with a Clog Experience. Walking Tour – An essential part of all city breaks – especially romantic city breaks – to get a sense for the city and an eye for its most iconic landmarks. Beer Tour – If your idea of a romantic getaway involves a lot of drinking, Amsterdam is certainly a city that can cater. One of the best ways of locating the best watering holes, as well as learning a bit of the city’s brewing history, is by partaking in one of the city’s many beer tours, which will point you in the right direction of where to drink and where not to. Amsterdam romantic getawayRomantic Shows Pathé Tuschinski – The best place to go to catch new and classic film screenings, as well as music concerts and opera, is this exquisite art nouveau cinema. Concertgebouw – Mainly a venue that hosts classical music concerts, this 19th century building offers some of the best acoustics in the world and is sure to provide the right atmosphere for a romantic night out. It is worth noting that free admission is sometimes offered on Wednesday afternoons. Viewpoints Amsterdam Public Library – Perhaps not the most obvious romantic location in the city, however there is a small café located on the roof terrace, which offers spectacular 360-degree views of the city – free of charge. Hilton Doubletree Sky lounge – For a fancier equivalent, the 11th floor bar and terrace found at the Hilton Doubletree, nearby central station, is a great place for some romantic rooftop drinks. Places to Stay CityHub Amsterdam – For budget travellers, CityHub is a hostel that offers sizable private rooms. This is a cheaper option for those looking for a romantic getaway, while hoping for a social experience also. Sebastian’s – This mid-ranged price hotel is great for those looking to be in the middle of the action on their romantic getaway. Located nearby the popular Jordaan area, there are plenty of romantic bars, cafes, and  restaurants located nearby. Art’otel – For those seeking an all-out lavish stay in Amsterdam, look no further than the five-star Art’otel, which boasts a restaurant, as well as a spa and pool facilities.

Gay for Gallifrey – Why do the LGBT Community Adore Doctor Who?

Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi TV series in history. Now having been on our screens for over 57 years, Doctor Who has received a swell of support from the LGBT community, as well as backlash from more conservative audiences. Why has a TV show, once made for children, become such a controversial piece of television? By Andrew Cook Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey was the favourite Doctor Who phrase among our group of Whovians at school. Ironically that phrase also described how straight we all were, but it did raise a question – why did our LGBT generation so adore the series? We’re not saying that Doctor Who actively encouraged our evolving sexualities, but it definitely moved with our generation’s views. As the LGBT community received greater freedom, recognition and public acceptance, Doctor Who matched it step for step.. With the show now including pretty much every aspect of the LGBT movement and then some, it could well be argued that Doctor Who has actually outperformed the movement itself. The key lies in an incredibly clever, absolutely flawless execution of TV presentation. Dr Who LGBTThe Beginning Yes, to go back to the beginning of Doctor Who would take a bit of a trip back in time, but sadly our TARDIS is in for repairs. However apt it would be for the show, many will agree that the LGBT agenda  of the show began with Captain Jack Harkness. When John Barrowman, the openly gay Scottish-American actor, made an appearance on the show as the smouldering pansexual Captain Jack Harkness, everything was permitted. John Barrowman’s love interests crossed genders, and even species, shocking the more conservative audiences while he kissed both Rose and the Doctor in the same episode. Director Russel T. Davies admitted explicitly making Doctor Who more LGBT friendly, stating that sexuality is fluid. After all, as humanity evolves – so too do our definitions and ideas of sexuality itself. With onscreen kisses, and even more suggested offscreen, the BBC would face backlash and complaints for years. Promoting the gay agenda on a TV series was apparently unacceptable to some people, as if they couldn’t understand a love story unless it was heteronormative. Perhaps these complainers require a TARDIS to go back to when homosexuality didn’t exist. Or at least, to when it was hushed up and shoved under the carpet so as to not disturb their delicate persuasions. Nevertheless, the Doctor Who series armed itself with sonic screwdrivers aplenty, and continued its fantastic storytelling, not just through space and time, but gender, species, sexuality and race as well. To date we have had omnisexuals, bisexuals, gays, lesbians, transexuals, inter-species kisses, and inter-cultural romances. Too many in fact, to list down in one place. But the cleverest, and most heart-warming part of Doctor Who isn’t simply the fact that inclusivity has been portrayed, but how they portrayed it. Blatant, yet not shouting. Refusing to shy away from the LGBT romances and relationships was a brave thing for Doctor Who to do. However, if you can normalise a constant character appearing as different actors for over 5 decades, you can normalise anything. The messages in Doctor Who consistently cover love, honour, and the inclusion of differences. After all a time-travelling, two-hearted alien capable of regeneration for hundreds of years can still care for frail short-lived humans. How could anyone be judged for one human loving another? In stark contrast, the enemies of the Doctor include the dreaded Cybermen and Daleks. Loveless races, intent on destroying or assimilating all other life in the universe, until only their beliefs and races exist. Hmmm, no tolerance for anything different than themselves? That sounds familiar. Perhaps the metaphor rang sharply for our generation. A story that spans the universe, where love triumphs over hate and ignorance. Therefore, whenever love and connection appear on screen, it’s accepted. Perhaps with the occasional jibe, or reference, but nothing is unacceptable. The running message is that we’re all individuals capable of love. Regardless of race, species, or gender, Doctor Who continues to encourage the concept of anything goes, just dont hurt anyone. A Galifreyan who protects a myriad of different races from destruction can hardly afford to be picky about their life choices after all. In 2011, we saw a companion named Oliver Harper who was terrified to come out before the Doctor, due to homosexuality being illegal in 1960’s America. The Doctor reassured Oliver that this persecution was societys crime, not Oliver’s. DR Who gay fansThe Doctor  The Doctor also has a history of non-heteronormative sexuality after all. The sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, agreed with a popular fan theory that the Doctor was asexual/aromantic. Love is a human emotion, the Doctor isnt human’. While not sufficient to be accurately described as alien as asexuality and aromanticism do exist within humans, this is possibly the first, albeit perhaps unintentional, example of behaviour within Doctor Who that didn not fit into heteronormative examples. Perhaps the classiest way to present the LGBT community as ‘normative’, has been Doctor Who’s understated method of promoting theories. With many characters rarely being made outright gay or straight, theories and conversations are promoted among fans. The Doctor’s asexuality was only ever theorised, and was never made canon. Since then we have seen him fall in love with Melody Pond, aka Professor River Song, and be both biological mother and father to Jenny, via non-standard means. Finally, we have seen Jodie Whittaker play the Doctor as a woman in the latest reincarnation of the family favourite. While it has alienated many long-time fans (check dictionary definition for snowflakes) the female incarnation of the Doctor has brought in a vast swathe of brand new viewers who are now finding the show more relatable. With brand new viewers watching the show, be it from the queer community, or simply from female fans who are relating to it now more than ever, the show is going from strength to strength with its message of inclusion and love. The Future (Or past, depending upon when you are!) More recently John Barrowman has spread gossip by suggesting that the next iteration of the Doctor could be gay or even bisexual. Something many would surely see as a travesty, but if we can believe in a time-travelling alien with two hearts who can travel through space and time, a same-sex attraction should not be a shock. After all, there are far worse things in this world. If you can stomach fishfingers and custard, you should be able to handle two people in love.

We are Over the Hump! Issue 36

We are officially ‘Over the Hump’! It is Wednesday, and the downhill slope to the weekend starts here! Our highlights from across this week include :  
  • Genealogy. The study of our family history, our heritage, and who we are – at least for those on the former side of the nature/nurture argument. In the US, it has become the second most popular hobby, as well as being an international craze. Are there any free and easy ways to find out your family’s history? Read more here.
  • Which planet is known as the red planet? Mars is the next step for mankind in the solar system and has been a source of fear and fascination for mankind. But science is now beginning to unravel the red planet’s mysteries. Discover more here.
  • The Statue of Liberty is possibly the most famous landmark in the entire world and is a huge tourist attraction for people all around the world. The figure of a woman wearing a crown and holding a flaming torch is symbolic of America. However, not many people know the history of woman who posed for this world famous statue and how she has influenced many around the globe. There may not be one definitive answer but there are certainly some interesting theories. Find out more here.
  • For 11 long years, weekends did not exist in the Soviet Union. Like today’s dystopian novels, manufacturing ran, machines processed, and labour continued non-stop in order to create an industrial powerhouse. But what was the secret design behind this idea? Find out here.
  • You can follow Over The Hump on Twitter at @Over_theHump
  • Scotland offers up some fantastic scenery by day. But for a growing number of tourists, it’s the spectacular views by night that are attracting them to remote ‘dark sky’ parks. Discover more here.
  • Is Geotagging on Instagram causing long-lasting environmental to natural beauty spots? Many would say ‘yes’, and some tourist boards are even going as far as to running campaigns on social media to discourage tagging. Read our article here.
  • Frozen in real life and are trying to get all the senses of Arendelle. Surprisingly, there are quite a few options available to make you feel like you are in the magical land of Frozen. Find out more here.
  • Going to a restaurant is a pleasant experience and one that many people enjoy as a group but why do so many people struggle with going to a restaurant on their own? Read our article here.
  • You can follow Compass on Twitter @WIL_Compass