Abbreviations – old wills or other documents

a.a.s. (anno aetitis suae) – died in the year of his/her age, e.g., 86 years old

d.s.p. (decessit sine prole) – died without issue

d.s.p.l. (decessit sine prole ___) – died without legitimate issue

d.s.p.m.s. (decessit sine prole mascula supersita) – died without surviving male issue

d.s.p.s. (decessit sine prole supersita) – died without surviving issue

d.unm. – died unmarried

d.v.p. (decessit vita patris) – died in the lifetime of his mother

et al (et alia) – and others

inst (instans) – present month

liber – book or volume

nepos – grandson

nunc – nuncupative will, and oral will, written by a witness

ob (obit)

relict (relicta/relictus) – widow or widower

sic – so or thus, exact copy as written

testes – witnesses

utl (ultimo) – late

ux or vs (uxor) – wife

viz (videlicet) – namely

Reprinted from The Family Tree Oct/Nov 2001, p. 15 which, in turn, credited Rabbit Tracks, Conejo Valley Genealogical Society.


‘N ar dleasnas saoghalta thoir dhuinn bhith seasmhach agus dileas; Anns gach gnothach ri ar co-chreutairean thoir dhuinn bhith fadfhulangach, trocaireach agus truacanta. Anns gach ni a bhitheas air a thubhairt dhuinn ra dheanamh gun cluinneadh sinn Criosd a’labhairt: “Is nath a dheagh sheirbhisich fhirinnich.” Gum boidh curam agus miann oirnne a bhith gniomhach ‘n ar la agus ‘n ar linn.

In our worldly business may we be more upright and sincere; in our intercourse with others may we be forgiving, forbearing, generous and benevolent. In all that is given us to do may we hear Christ say: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” May it be our care and endeavour to serve our day and our generation.


A Scot’s Benediction

May the blessing of light be upon you – light without and light within. May the blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your hear till it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come and warm himself at it, and also a friend.

And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in the windows of a house, bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.

And may the blessing of the rain be upon you – the soft, sweet rain. May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up, and shed their sweetness on the air. And may the blessing of the great rains be upon you. May they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines, and sometimes a star.

And may the blessing of the earth be upon you – the great, round earth. May you ever have a kindly greeting for them you pass as you are going along the roads. May the earth be soft under you when you rest upon it, tired at the end of a day; and may it rest easy over you when, at the last, you lie out under it. May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be off from under it quickly, and up, and off, and on its way to God.

And now may the Lord bless you all, and bless you kindly.



Burns’ Scottish Blessing -

If after kirk ye bide a wee,
there's some wad like to speak to ye.
If after kirk ye rise and flee,
we'll all seem cauld and stiff to ye.
The one that's in the seat wi' ye,
is stranger here than ye, maybe.
All here hae got their fears and cares.
Add ye your soul, unite our prayers,
Be ye our angel unawares.

…R. Burns

The Lord's Prayer

AR N-ATHAIR a tha air néamh, Gu naomhaichear d'ainm. Thigeadh do riòghachd. Deanar do thoil air an talamh, mar a nithear air néamh. Tabhair dhuinn an diugh ar n-aran laitheil. Agus maith dhuinn ar fiachan, ambuil mar a mhaitheas sinne d'ar luchd-fiach. Agus na leig am buaireadh sinn; ach saor sinn o olc; oir is leatsa an riòghachd, agus a' chumhachd, agus a' ghlòir, gu siorruidh. Amen

Clan Blessing

Dia Beannaich 'a chlann 'ic Pharlain!

God bless the Clan MacFarlane (or substitute at will)

Clan Mottos

CLAN CHATTAN - Chatan - Clan Chattan (clan of wee cats)

Na bean do’n chat gun lamhainn.
Lean gu dluth ri cliu do shinnsear

Touch not the cat bot a glove.
Follow closely the fame of your ancestors.


Cuimhnich air na daoine o'n d'thanig thu- Remember the men from whom you are sprung


Fide et Fortudine – By fidelity and strength


Nemo Me Impune Lacessit - No One Provokes Me with Impunity


Meal-a-naidheachd! - Congratulations!

Ceud mile Meal-a-naidheachd!!! - A hundred thousand congratulations!!!

Le mo leusgeulachan agus mo deagh dhurachdan - With my apologies and my best wishes


Thoir aire - Take care

Co-duibh, sin gu leor an-drasda/ - Anyway, that's it for now

Tiorraidh! - Cheerie! or Cheerio!

Le gradh - Love

Le dhurachd - Sincerely

Le gach deagh dhurachd - With every good wish

Le deagh dhurachdan - With good wishes

Le meas - Respectfully

Le meas agus deagh dhurachdan - With respect and good wishes

Le mo dheagh dhurachdan - With my good wishes

Le deagh dhurhachdan, mar daonnan - With all good wishes, as ever

Mar sin leat/leibh - Bye (singular/plural) ("mar shin leet / leev")

Mar sin leat an drasda - Bye for now

Mise le meas – (meeshuh leh mess) – Yours faithfully (literally, ‘myself with respect’)

Gaelic Phrases

Gàidhlig ("gâl-ik") - Gaelic language - if spoken, "you have some of the Gàidhlig".

For the following description, through common sounds, I am indebted to the late Marion Campbell22. Adjectives grammatically agree with their nouns in number, gender and case, usually following them. However, often for emphasis, some can be placed prior to the noun, e.g., duine sean = old man; seann duine = man of olden times

Vowels are sounded as in French or Italian and multiple vowels are almost inaudible.

Common sounds

ch – close to the German ach, i.e. a breathy "h", as in loch. "H" was never found in the old Gaelic alphabet. It is used to denote "breathings".
cn – nasal, almost a "cr"
le – liquid
ll - "ye"
nn – deepens a preceding vowel, e.g., donn = down
se, si – "sheh, shi"(both sounds are quite short)
de, te – "che", as in "cheap"
bh – sounds like "v" in "vale"
dh, gh – gutteral, with dh the deeper of the two
fh – silent sound entirely
mh – "v" as in "vine"
sh, th – "h" in "hat", but is silent at the end of a word or name
s, t – "sh", "th", often

Daoine uaisle - elevated rank & status, e.g., tacksman. The name of one’s tack or tenancy was inexorably linked to his own. For example, MacDonald of Kingsburgh. The tacksman became a dominant figure, a member of the gentry increasingly identified with the Hanoverian ascendancy; held authoritative influence over other Highlanders.

Bean-uasal – a Highland lady

Cregan-an-Fhlithich – slogan of Clan Macdonnell

‘S ‘n air thèid spaid de ‘n ùir ort- “And when a spade of turf is thrown upon you the country will be clean again! Or nothing will be placed over you but the dung of cattle! There will be no weeping of children, nor the crying of women. There will be no widow ro poor creature striking their palms.” – bard John Maclachlan to all evictors.

Cha till me tuille – we shall return no more!

Creideamh a’ bhata buidhe – Religion of the Yellow Stick, popularized by Colin Macdonald of Boisdale, laird of Skye who would beat his tenants into the Presbyterian Church.

Slighe nan Gaidheal - Way of the Gael

Thri pàisti beidgh muid anseo amàieach - Through children we are tomorrow

Tain istair = Thane - Governor or lord, representative of the King or Chief in directing military operations and collecting revenues, then paid in cattle, under the name of Tain.

Tonag Mohr - big shawl      

Is beacarrach an ni an onair - Honor is a tender thing

Sauvage d’Ecosse – a Highlander (Scottish savage)

"Hammer the Americans hard enough and you will forge the best weapon in the world" - from a letter written to COL Bouquet during the siege of Fort Pitt.

Daibhidh Ban – fair-haired David

Dola dh’iarraidh an fhortain au North Carolina – going to North Carolina to seek a fortune.

O nach bachd do Ghaideal fhallain fuireach arms an aite seo - “Oh, isn’t it a shame for a healthy Gael to be living in this place, (a slave under the heels of tyrants, when he could be happy on a handsome, spreading farm with milk-cows, white sheep, hens, horses and clean work on the surface of the earth, rather than in the black pit of misery).

[Preceding phrases are all from, A Dance Called America by James Hunter.]

Gille ghille is measa na’n diogahl! – The servant of the servant is worse than the devil.

De their na doine?– What will the people say?

Mi-run mor nan Gall– a Highlander: the Lowlander’s great hatred

Trughain – Ian MacCodrum’s (bard to Sir Alexander McDonald of Sleat) “poor creatures”, the Highlanders of his angry poetic protest of 1739:

Seallaibh m’an cuairt duibh is facibh na h-uaislean…. – “Look around you and see the gentry with no pity for the poor creatures (trughain), with no kindness to their kin. They do not think that you belong to the land, and although they leave you empty they do not see it as a loss. They have lost their respect for every law and promise that was among the men who took this land from the foe.”

Bliadhna nan Caorach– the Year of the Sheep: 1792

‘Mo thruaighe ort a thir, tha’n caoraich mhor a’ teachd! – Woe to thee, oh land, the Great Sheep (Cheviot) is coming!

Ban mhorair Chataibh– the Great Lady Sutherland, Marchioness of Sutherland.

Nam faighinn ‘s air an raon thu… - “If I had you on the field and men binding you, With my fists I would tear out three inches of your lungs!” bard of Assynt castigating Sellar and Young’s “improvements” in Sutherland.

Bliadhna an Losgaidh – Year of the Burnings, when Patrick Sellar came to Strathnaver, Sutherland-shire.

Achadh an Eas – the cornfield by the cascade; Gaelic name for Achness, the township toward the sea and along the shore of Loch Naver in Sutherland.

Bean Raomasdail – Woman of Rhimsdale

Bealach nan creach – Pass of the Forays

Loch nan cuidhean – Lake of the Snow Wreaths

Seumas Buidhe – Yellow-Haired Rev. James Sutherland, spiritual leader of the 1815 emigrants from Kildonan, Sutherland-shire to western Canada.

An Siosalach – Chief of Clan Chisholm

Marsailidh Bhinneach – Light-headed Marjorie, wife of Duncan Macdonnell of Glengarry and mother of Elizabeth Chisholm

Ailean Dall – Alan Macdougal, the blind bard of Glengarry, author of:

Thàinig oirnn do dh’ Albainn crois…- “A cross (he meant something terribly close to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah) has been placed upon us in Scotland. Poor men are naked beneath it. Without food, without money, without pasture (Gaelic meaning = not only meadowland but also the abstract idea of peace, happiness and tranquility), the North is utterly destroyed.”

A Dhomhnaill, a ghràidh mo chridhe… “Oh Donald, love of my heart, I am sorrowful, heavy and weary in solitude, as I think of all the misery that pursues me, and of all my kinsmen lost to me. It is not offended pride, not rage, not a fierce and savage gloom, not War even (that would be little), but that Islay now has so few of the youth that once were here. They have been driven away to America across the sea, and there is no one left with kindly feelings, or peace in him.”

Tha mo chlann air a bhi air am murt! – My children are being murdered! (wife of John Mackaskill during the evictions on North Uist).

Chan eil fios again – we know not.

O nam bitheadh m’ athair an so an diugh, co aig an robh a’ chride so dheanamh oirnn! – If my father was here to-day, who would dare to do this to us! (Macrae 7 year old to the factor during the evictions of Boreraig on the Isle of Skye).

Maighstir Colla – Coll Macdonald, iterant, selfless, Catholic priest of Glengarry, who ministered to the Highlanders of Knoydart during the mid-19th century.


‘A’ cheat, coid an coir a tha airbh an duibh? – Catherine, how are you feeling this day?

A charaid choir (uh charretch chawr) – Dear Sir

Ceud mile failte(Key-ut meel-uh fal-tchuh) – One hundred thousand welcomes

Choir - letter salutation, preceded by the Christian name: Kay choir = Dear Kay

Ciamar a tha thru? - How are you?

Dia dhuit (jeeah ditch) – Hello (literally, ‘God to/with you’);

Response: Dia’s mhuire dhuit( jeeahs mwurrah ditch) – ‘God and Mary with you’

Failte (fal-tchuh) – Welcome

Failte na maduin duibh! – Hail, good morning to you! (traditional Highland greeting in Knoydart)

Failte duibh! Sith gun robh so! – Welcome to you! Peace be here! (traditional greeting in Easter Ross)

Feasgar math (fesskurr ma) – Good evening

La maith duibh – (law mah duff) – Good day

Madainn mhath – (madeen va) – Good morning

'Se 'ur beatha - (sheh uhr veh-huh) - You're welcome (formal/plural)

'Se do bheatha – (sheh daw veh-huh) - You're welcome (familiar/singular)


Coirce(cawr-cuh) - uncooked oats

Min coirce - ground into dry "meal"

Lit ("leech") - cooked, hot oatmeal

Strubag ("stroop-ak") - cup of tea

Greetings at Christmas

Nollaig chrideil agus Bliadhna mhath ur! - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Tha mi an dochas gu robh Nollaig Chridheil agaibh, agus gu'm bith cuideach am Bliadhna Mhath Ur dhuibh, lan bheartais, shonais agus slainte. I hope that you had a Merry Christmas and also that the New Year is full of prosperity, happiness and health for you.

Tha mi gu'm bith 'ur Nollaig chridheil, agus gu'm bith bhur Bliadhna Ur sona, beartach agus samhach - I hope that your Christmas will be happy, and your New Year will be happy, prosperous and safe.

Greetings at Easter

Bliandhna a’ Chaisg – (Blee-unnuh uh chah-shk) – Happy Easter

Greetings at New Year's

Oidhche Chaluinne (Calend's Eve) – Hogmanay (hoguiané - French)

A huile la' son a dhuibh's gun la' idir dona dhubibh - May all your days be happy ones.


Tha gaol agam ort – (ha g-eul ackum orsht) – I love you


Le mo leusgeulachan agus mo deagh dhurachdan - With my apologies and my best wishes

Thank You

Ta ("taah”) - thanks to a friend

Moran taing - Thanks a bunch

Tapadh leat - Thank you (one person)

Tapadh leibh - Thank you (two or more persons)

Tapadh leibh a-rithist - Thanks, again

Tapadh leibh airson 'ur casoimhneis - Thanks for your kindness


De tha dol? - What's going on?

You're Welcome

'S e 'ur beatha (formal/plural) - (sheh uhr veh-huh) -You're welcome

'S e do bheatha (familiar/singular) - (sheh daw veh-huh) -You're welcome


A h-uile la sona dhuibh’s gun la idir dona dhuibh – (uh hooluh lah sonnun ghuh-eev skoon lah eejir donnuh ghuh-eev) – May all your days be happy ones!

Alba gu Brath - Scotland Forever

A Scots Toast

" May the best you've ever seen
Be the worst you'll ever see;

May the mouse ne'er leave your girnal
Wi' a tear drap in its e'e;

May your lum keep blithely reekin'
Till your auld enough to dee;

May you aye be just as happy
As i wish you now to be!"

SCOTLAND – A World of Difference

Here’s to the glass that gives good cheer,
Here’s to the pipes that please the ear,
Here’s to the haggis, a hero’s dish, here’s to the lochs where you can fish,
Here’s to the links where you can play, and beauty that takes your breath away,
Here’s to the road to hearts’ content and holiday savings wisely spent,
Here’s to the flag by joy unfurled, here’s to your hols in a different world.

…from STB (Scottish Tourist Board)

Slainte mhath – (slahntchuh va) – Good health!

Slainte, sonas agus beartas! -(slahn-tshuh, sonnus ughuss b-yarshtuss) Health, wealth & happiness!

Slainte mhath, h-uile latha, na chi 'snach fhaic. Slainte!
Good health, every day, whether I see you or not. Health!.........The Royal Scots Toast

Toast - May your kilt be colorfast and your sporran never leak.

Classic Irish Toast

S’ere’s one to a long life
And a merry one…

A quick death
And an easy one…

A pretty girl
And an honest one…

A cold beer
And another one!

Courtesy, also, to Dane Kenyon of Clan Chattan Paw Prints, 2000, for the article, “The Gàidhlig”. Contact can be to Triskellion Translations at [email protected]

Last Update: April 2005