And how to distinguish them from someone who is Irish.
It may be true that “all white people like alike” to everyone else, as explained in Being Exotic Can Actually Mean Looking Generically Foreign (click that title to read the post), but there are definitely ways to distinguish which native country we all derived from; you just have to know what to look for. In this brief guide to discovering Scottish traits, I will show you how to recognize not only Scottish last names but also the physical features of people with ethnic roots in Scotland.
Once you get the hang of it, deciphering Scottish last names is easy and fun to do. An easy giveaway is a last name that is a common noun or a compound word, such as the following: Bell, Hall, Cash, Lemmon, Underwood, Locklear, Armstrong, Witherspoon, Eastwood.
Typically last names beginning with the prefix “Mc” or “Mac” are Scottish, unless attached to an Irish last name like McConnell, McCarthy, or McGeehan. (To look for Irish last names, look the name for end in the “en” or “ey” sound.) Therefore, Scottish last names are typically all other Mc/Mac names like MacKenzie, MacIntosh, McWilliams, McDonald, and McLane. If the first part of the last name is of no help, take a look at the last part- look for “ton”: Houston, Kingston, Middleton, Kennington.
Whereas American Jews often are often associated the film and media business, it’s American Scots that are behind the American food industry (McDonald’s, Campbell’s soups, and Kellogg’s cereals) as well the Protestant branch of Christianity (that’s why “Irish Catholic” is a familiar phrase but “Scottish Catholic” is not). It’s also safe to say that nearly half of African-Americans have a Scottish last name since most slave owners were either Scottish or English.
Scottish physical traits include a red tint in the person’s skin, wide nostril holes, and typically a nose that could not be considered small (not necessarily big, but not a button nose). A prime example is Jack McBryar from 30 Rock. He’s got the slight redness going on. And while he is not fair skinned, it’s easy to see the “Scottish redness” in his face, especially when he gets excited. And there are those large nostril holes.
And although redheads are often thought to be Irish, in reality there are more redheads of Scottish descent than there are Irish. Today, 13% of the population of Scotland is redheaded, while 10% of Ireland is redheaded.
So you if see the red hair, check their nostril holes and make sure they don’t have a small nose, ask for their last name, find out if their Baptist, and you may have a Scottish-American on your hands.
Click the link below to see a list of famous Scottish-Americans: