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Surname Johnston of Barra - Meaning and Origin

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Johnston of Barra: What does the surname Johnston of Barra mean?

The last name Johnston originates from Scotland and is a patronymic name that stands for "son of John." It is derived from two words, "John" and "ton" which means town, implying 'John's town'. The 'of Barra' part denotes geographical origin, suggesting that the person or family hails from the Barra region in Scotland.

Names like 'Johnston of Barra' evolved during the Middle Ages in Scotland to distinguish different clans that might have had similar surnames. The clan Johnston of Barra, thus, indicates a unique lineage deriving from a person named John who had significant ties to the Barra region.

Moreover, it is also associated with the Johnston Clan in Scotland that has a rich history. The 'of Barra' might also indicate a distinctive branch or sept within the larger Johnston clan. However, without specific genealogical information, it is rough to determine the exact connotation. In the present day, the usage of such a name might portray Scottish heritage, and a connection to the Johnston clan and the Barra region.

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Johnston of Barra: Where does the name Johnston of Barra come from?

The surname Johnston of Barra originates from Scotland. The name "Johnston" is a patronymic meaning "son of John" and was quite common in regions of Scotland and Northern England. It became a clan name and is primarily associated with the Scottish Lowlands.

The term "of Barra" in the name implies association with the location, Barra - an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The Johnstons of Barra denote a particular lineage or branch of the Johnston clan that holds connection to this region.

Today, the surname is commonly found in English-speaking countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. In the US, it is more prevalent in regions where descendants of Scottish and Irish immigrants settled. In Scotland, it's common in the Lowlands and regions where the Johnston Clan lived, and in England, it's found primarily in the northern regions closer to Scotland. However, surnames have dispersed widely in the modern era, and the name Johnston of Barra can be found in many countries around the world due to diaspora.

Variations of the surname Johnston of Barra

The surname Johnston is of Scottish origin and is a habitational name that derives from the place called 'Johnstone' near Annandale. It basically means ‘John’s settlement' or 'John's town'. The focal point for this name was the county of Dumfriesshire.

There are lots of spelling variants found in historical documents, such as Jonstone, Jonstoun, Johnstoune, Jonestoun, Jonstoune, Johnson as well as Americanized spelling versions like Johnstone, Johnton, Johntone, Johntoun, Johntone, Jonston, Jonstun, Jhonston, Jhonstone, Jhonstoun, and Jhonstoune.

The Johnston family of Annandale, located in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and the Johnston Clan of Aberdeenshire, Scotland have various branches with some known as the Johnstons of Barra.

As for surnames of the same origin, they might be found within the larger Johnston Clan and could include associated clan names. Johnson and Johnsson are other examples of surnames that share the same origin, being derived from "son of John."

In the Gaelic language, the name Johnston can be translated as MacIain, Iain being the Gaelic equivalent of John. It’s worth noting that 'Mac' is a common prefix in Scottish and Irish surnames meaning 'son of'. So, MacIain or MacIan is in line with this.

Famous people with the name Johnston of Barra

  • Angus Johnston: born on Barra Island and known as a great local historian.
  • famous actor David Johnston, known for his roles in films like Bridge of Spies and Spectre.
  • Stuart Johnston: chief constable of the Scottish Police Service and was awarded an OBE in 2005.
  • Neil Johnston: Scottish musician and songwriter who has had several number one hits in the United Kingdom
  • Islay Johnston: daughter of Angus, Islay is a politician from Barra, where she also serves as an elected member of the Council of the Outer Hebrides.
  • Sophie Johnston: a sibling of Neil and Islay, Sophie is an actress best known for her work on the television series Waterloo Road.
  • Henry Johnston: a noted plant collector who made many valuable contributions to the study of Scottish flora around Barra and the other Outer Hebridean islands.
  • Cameron Johnston: a professional rugby player with Scotland's national team and a member of the Edinburgh Rugby Team.
  • Rory Johnston: a well-known marine biologist and one of the leading experts on the ecology of Barra's shallow coastal waters.
  • Donald Johnston: a conservationist and campaigner for environmental sustainability on Barra and the surrounding islands.

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