Few families today select their children's names only, or even mainly from
those of their forebears. But in Galloway, as in most of Scotland and much
of England, this was once the practice of a majority, maybe even a large
majority. Change appears to have started with the improved communications
of the early to mid 1800s, with railways and newspapers possibly foremost.
But very many families continued this tradition well into the twentieth
century, and surely quite a number still do, although exceptions have
always been there. For example, frequently a new minister, or sometimes a
doctor would be honored by naming the newborn after him. In the event,
unfortunately all too common, of a child's death, it was also very
normal to name the next-born of that sex with the dead child's name, a
practice which can prove remarkably confusing to the genealogist of today.