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Thread: Is this surname Irish or British?

  1. #1
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    Is this surname Irish or British?

    So, my surname is Cummins which I know is Irish, however, that isnít my true surname. I have had access to family records from the area of NI where my family is from.

    The name changes in the following ways:
    1. McCummins 1800.
    2. Muskimmin 1740.
    3. Miskimmins 1747,1750 and 1760.
    4. Miskemin 1666.
    5. Cumming (not my relatives but a very distant connection who are now called Cummings).

    I have no proof that these are my ancestors but itís pretty likely given the small population of the townland and the stubbornness of my ancestors to live anywhere else but a specific townland for hundreds of years.

    Now, I have a few questions:
    1. Why would my family have Changed the spelling of their surname.
    2. What does Mis and Mus mean in Irish or British surnames? It is very unique and I havenít seen anything like this before.
    3. Why can I only find this Miskimmin and Muskimmin in Northern Ireland??
    4. If my family are part of the Cumming clan why did they not stick with the Cumming name?

    Itís all very interesting and I would like to find further information about this strange surname.

    I would like to find the initial origin of this name.
    Last edited by Nqp15hhu; 11-05-2018 at 02:45 AM.

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    Since you're from northern Ireland, could very well be British. Most likely from Scotland.

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    [QUOTE=Nqp15hhu;513059]
    Now, I have a few questions:
    1. Why would my family have Changed the spelling of their surname.
    [/
    QUOTE]

    Unless your family were literate and high status, it is worth considering whether the name differences were the work of administators and clergymen. That could be deliberate, or an honest attempt to write down what they heard.
    All 32 3xgreat grandparents were Welsh. Two 6xgreat grandparents from England and a few Irish or English surnames before 1800. Paper trail shows several C11th to C14th Anglo-Norman lines and C11th Norse-Irish lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nqp15hhu View Post
    So, my surname is Cummins which I know is Irish, however, that isn’t my true surname. I have had access to family records from the area of NI where my family is from.

    The name changes in the following ways:
    1. McCummins 1800.
    2. Muskimmin 1740.
    3. Miskimmins 1747,1750 and 1760.
    4. Miskemin 1666.
    5. Cumming (not my relatives but a very distant connection who are now called Cummings).

    I have no proof that these are my ancestors but it’s pretty likely given the small population of the townland and the stubbornness of my ancestors to live anywhere else but a specific townland for hundreds of years.

    Now, I have a few questions:
    1. Why would my family have Changed the spelling of their surname.
    2. What does Mis and Mus mean in Irish or British surnames? It is very unique and I haven’t seen anything like this before.
    3. Why can I only find this Miskimmin and Muskimmin in Northern Ireland??
    4. If my family are part of the Cumming clan why did they not stick with the Cumming name?

    It’s all very interesting and I would like to find further information about this strange surname.

    I would like to find the initial origin of this name.
    You should investigate links to the Comyn surname - famous in Scottish history. However, be aware that many pedigrees in Scotland were based on false claims, sadly.
    Last edited by castle3; 11-05-2018 at 06:54 PM.

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    I hope this link works, but this is what I found on the name Miskimmin(s): https://www.johngrenham.com/findasur...name=Miskimmin

    Perhaps your ancestors used the surname MacCummins or MacSkimming, which eventually changed to Miskimmin(s) and later simplified to your family's current spelling? Just a thought. That "Mac Skimming" name has a presence in Galloway, which is one of the main places Scots migrated from to Northern Ireland IIRC.
    To quote my previous post about this surname.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nqp15hhu View Post
    So, my surname is Cummins which I know is Irish, however, that isn’t my true surname. I have had access to family records from the area of NI where my family is from.

    The name changes in the following ways:
    1. McCummins 1800.
    2. Muskimmin 1740.
    3. Miskimmins 1747,1750 and 1760.
    4. Miskemin 1666.
    5. Cumming (not my relatives but a very distant connection who are now called Cummings).

    I have no proof that these are my ancestors but it’s pretty likely given the small population of the townland and the stubbornness of my ancestors to live anywhere else but a specific townland for hundreds of years.

    Now, I have a few questions:
    1. Why would my family have Changed the spelling of their surname.
    2. What does Mis and Mus mean in Irish or British surnames? It is very unique and I haven’t seen anything like this before.
    3. Why can I only find this Miskimmin and Muskimmin in Northern Ireland??
    4. If my family are part of the Cumming clan why did they not stick with the Cumming name?

    It’s all very interesting and I would like to find further information about this strange surname.

    I would like to find the initial origin of this name.
    There could be several answers for your questions here, so I'll take a stab at them...

    1. Your family could have changed the spelling for any number of reasons, save space on paper, preferred the other name variant, or just a random decision made that everyone seemed to be okay with.

    2. Mis, or Mus could be literal pronunciations of written forms of M'Skimming (with the Mac contracted to M' and the ac/c sound ignored accidentally).

    3. Perhaps you can only find Miskimmin/Muskimmin in Northern Ireland because the name wasn't very common to begin with in Southern Scotland that majority of members who didn't change their name happened to live in Northern Ireland.

    4. The Clan system isn't as simple as that. Surnames could be fluid in certain instances due to political environments or certain scenarios people were living through at a certain time. Given you've traced your family name to Miskimmin (or any variant therein) I would think there isn't any relation to the Cumming clan of Scotland, and you should perhaps look into researching the rather uncommon surname of MacSkimming, which allegedly has roots in Galloway, which (I'm sure you've noticed) is not far from Northern Ireland at all!

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    I have known people from Galloway and also the North East of Scotland who knew Cummings / Skimmings who, only a generation ago, used these forms interchangeably.
    And I believe the practice continues in spoken word to this day.
    Yes, this seems weird, but that is what happens.
    And the "s" on the end comes and goes.
    "Mc" is just "son of". We tend to obsess over whether it should be Mc or Mac, but many in the 1700s/1800s in Scotland wrote it as "M' ".
    This simply shows that the "c" part was so de-stressed as to be unhearable.
    The "Mus" and "Mis" beginnings are all cases of phonetic spelling of "M'Skimming"

    Then we have the fact that spelling did not crystallize until compulsory schooling of around 1870s on.
    Before that, people usually spelled unfamiliar words as they sounded to them.
    Many clerks, census and registration officers would ask the person they were dealing with their name and then wrote it down as best they could.
    Officials could often be from a different place and unfamiliar with aspects of local pronunciation.
    Submitting individuals often were not shown what had been written.
    Even if they were, many could not read it.

    With this in mind, what you have is the same family over a period of time, recorded in slightly different ways.

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    I have known people from Galloway and also the North East of Scotland who knew Cummings / Skimmings who, only a generation ago, used these forms interchangeably.
    And I believe the practice continues in spoken word to this day.
    Yes, this seems weird, but that is what happens.
    And the "s" on the end comes and goes. It is another form of "son of".
    "Mc" is just "son of". We tend to obsess over whether it should be Mc or Mac, but many in the 1700s/1800s in Scotland wrote it as "M' ".
    This simply shows that the "c" part was so de-stressed as to be unhearable.
    The "Mus" and "Mis" beginnings are all cases of phonetic spelling of "M'Skimming"

    Then we have the fact that spelling often did not crystallize until compulsory schooling of the late 1800s.
    Before that, people usually spelled unfamiliar words as they sounded to them.
    Many clerks, census and registration officers would ask the person they were dealing with their name and then wrote it down as best they could.
    Officials could often be from a different place and unfamiliar with aspects of local pronunciation.
    Submitting individuals often were not shown what had been written.
    Even if they were, many could not read it.

    With this in mind, what you have is the same family over a period of time, recorded in slightly different ways.

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetro View Post
    I have known people from Galloway and also the North East of Scotland who knew Cummings / Skimmings who, only a generation ago, used these forms interchangeably.
    And I believe the practice continues in spoken word to this day.
    Yes, this seems weird, but that is what happens.
    And the "s" on the end comes and goes. It is another form of "son of".
    "Mc" is just "son of". We tend to obsess over whether it should be Mc or Mac, but many in the 1700s/1800s in Scotland wrote it as "M' ".
    This simply shows that the "c" part was so de-stressed as to be unhearable.
    The "Mus" and "Mis" beginnings are all cases of phonetic spelling of "M'Skimming"

    Then we have the fact that spelling often did not crystallize until compulsory schooling of the late 1800s.
    Before that, people usually spelled unfamiliar words as they sounded to them.
    Many clerks, census and registration officers would ask the person they were dealing with their name and then wrote it down as best they could.
    Officials could often be from a different place and unfamiliar with aspects of local pronunciation.
    Submitting individuals often were not shown what had been written.
    Even if they were, many could not read it.

    With this in mind, what you have is the same family over a period of time, recorded in slightly different ways.
    Thank you. So if this is Clan Cumming why is the surname listed as McSkimmings in SW Scotland and not Cumming like elsewhere in Scotland?

    I would love to find more history of this surname.
    Last edited by Nqp15hhu; 11-06-2018 at 11:45 PM.

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by castle3 View Post
    You should investigate links to the Comyn surname - famous in Scottish history. However, be aware that many pedigrees in Scotland were based on false claims, sadly.
    Yes. This is why I am confused because it looks like McSkimmings was used in SW Scotland but Cumming everywhere else. This leads me to wonder if this is a different surname? And what was the surname before McSkimmings?

  13. #10
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    Btw I have seen the name McSkimmings in Scottish records and it seems to be highly restricted to the Machars Pininsula, Wigtownshire which is VERY interesting because it is not common to find a surname in the UK so restricted to a specific area.

    Iím not sure if my family is related to that one but interesting none the less.

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