Family Names

Analysis of Family Names in the Graveyard

Information on gravestones may provide some insights into the local community and its history. Names were recorded on the database as either a ‘Primary’ name, a ‘Secondary’ name or ‘Other Deceased’.  The primary name was the first named deceased and the secondary name was their spouse. In one case where parents had erected a headstone for their children, the secondary name is a sister.

The chart below shows the frequency of family names recorded as primary names on the graves in Fortingall churchyardb over the entire database. In this case only those names that occur more than once are shown out of the 77 family names recorded. For simplicity, MacDougall (2) has been added into McDougall, MacGregor (1) to McGregor, MacNaughton (1) to McNaughton, McDonald (2) to MacDonald and MacDiarmid (1) to McDiarmid. The family name McDougall dominates the list and is recorded on graves from 1774 to 1992.

Intensity of Use of the Graveyard

The years of death mentioned on gravestones  grouped into 50 year periods are shown in the chart below. The period 1900 to 1949 contains the largest number of graves

Age at Death

The age at death as recorded on the gravestones, grouped into five year periods is presented in the chart below. The age group 80 to 84 dominates. For many reasons the gravestone data do not represent the population demographics at any particulat time.

Statistical analysis by Analysis of Variance of the age at death for different time periods suggests the Age at Death was rising over time in the period of graveyard use. However given the possible factors influencing which deaths from the population were recorded by graves and how these factors may have changed over time, the interpretation of this trend in the data is not straightforward.

Peter Heyes

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