- Ok, I'm able to sit down with some books now and have a more detailed
response about the MacCracken question. Under the entry for this
name in Black's _The Surnames of Scotland_ he writes: "Various explanations
have been given of the origin of this name, the most likely of which
is that it is 'nothing but a variant owing to the action of two well-
known dialectal processes of the name MacNaughton."
Under the heading of MacNachtan/MacNaughton, etc, he gives the Gaelic
origin as "Mac Neachdainn" which means "son of Neachdain," a personal
name that he identifies with the Pictish name Nechtan.
As for the particular "dislectal processes" of Gaelic that make Mac
Neachdainn sound like "McCracken" I cannot speak with any authority.
However, my understanding is that a Gaelic "n" sounds like /n/
unless it is follows a /k/ sound (which would be "c"), in which case
it is pronounced like /r/. So the "N" at the beginning of Neachdain
would be pronounced as an "R" because it follows the /k/ sound in
In any case, the fact that the name MacCracken is listed as a "sept"
of MacNaughton for this reason should have no bearing on your persona.
If your name was Bob Mac Neachdainn, it would mean your name was
Bob and your dad's name was Neachdain. It would have no bearing
on what clan you may or may not have belonged to. That was determined
largely by geographic location, if you had a clan at all.
Scottish History -- Highland Dress