I am amazed to find out that my surname, Stephen, exists only in Scotland! No wonder people often get my name wrong (doesn’t explain why Scots get it wrong though). It is especially concentrated in the north-east.
Add a little ‘s’ to the end of my name — as many people do — and all of a sudden we are all from South Wales, Cornwall and the south in general! Stephenson, meanwhile, is from the north east of England. So neither is a bastardisation of the others, because they all come from completely different places.
Potentially more interesting is my mother’s maiden name, Skirving. She is always telling me about how it’s apparently a Norwegian name. The map offers no clues on this front though. My mother says they were originally based in Haddington, and the map indeed tallys with this. The heaviest concentration is in the Lothians and Fife, with some more in Strathclyde — my mother was born in Glasgow. Skirvings migrate more as well; there are signs of life in England! However, a small number of Skirvings can make a huge difference on the map — there are only 216 of them (if it wasn’t for my granddad there would actually be fewer Skirvings today than in 1881 despite population growth).
Just for fun, Duncan, although it isn’t my surname, also has its roots in north-east Scotland.