Scottish Thompson Name is MacTavish

Thom(p)son Is MacTavish!

MacTamhais > MacTavish > Thom(p)son
Gaelic > Anglicized > Englished
The surname MacTamhais is the Gaelic for the more modern spelling of MacTavish.
MacTamhais is pronounced (heard by the ear) as “Mac Tavis”.


  • Surnames of Scotland, Professor George F. Black, New York Public Library
  • Scottish Surnames, Donald Whyte, Scottish Genealogy Society
  • Clans, Septs, and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, Frank Adam


  • Scottish Names 101 – Name Transformation or “Translation”, Sharon L. Krossa
  • Thompson One Name Study, by Michael Thompson
  • Weekly Scotsman, 1962
  • An Inquiry into the Genealogy & Present State of Ancient Scottish Surnames with the Origin and Descent of the Highland Clans, by Wiliam Buchanan
  • The Manuscript History of Craignish, by Alexander Campbell edited by Herbert Campbell

MacTAVISH. G. Mac Tamhais. (G. = Gaelic Anglicized: MacTamhais (MacTavish) = Thom(p)son

Gaelic Pronunciation of MacTamhais
pronounced as
pronounced as
pronounced as
a” as in hat
pronounced as
v” as in very
pronounced as
a” as in hat
pronounced as
is” as in list

THOMPSON, ‘son of Thom,’ q.v., with intrusive p. This spelling is more commonly found in England.

THOMSON, ‘son of Thom,’ q.v. A fairly numerous surname in Scotland.

John Thomson “a man of low birth, but approved valour,” was leader of the men of Carrick in Edward Bruce’s war in Ireland in 1318 (Hailes, II, p.102, 206). Adam Thomson appears as lord of Kylnekylle, Ayrshire, c. 1370-80 (Laing, 64). Johannes filius Thome was elected bailie of Aberdeen in 1398 (CRA, p. 374), and John Tomson witnessed a grant in Ayr in 1401 (Friars Ayr, p. 37). Donald Thomson was one of an inquest to determine the rights of pasturage which the Temple lands had over the adjoining town and territory of Letter in 1461 (Strathendrick, p. 223). John Thomsoun was juror on an inquest at Dunipace in 1426 (Cambus, 87), Duncan Thomsone of Auchinhampteris witnessed a bond of manrent in 1491 (SMC, IV, p. 189). Cuthbert Thomasoun witnessed a notarial instrument of 1517 (SoltreI, p. 89), James Tomsone was tenant of the bishop of Glasgow in 1511 (Rental), and Peter Thomsone was Illay Herald in 1561 (ER, XIX, p. 150).

“The most conspicuous family of the name were the Thomsons who possessed Duddingston, near Edinburgh, for five generations till sold by Sir Patrick about 1668; his father had been created a baronet in 1636” (Stodart, II p. 140).

Many individuals of this name in Perthshire and Argyllshire are really MacTavishes. 

The surname in these districts is an Anglicized form of Gaelic MacThomais, ‘son of Thomas,’ or of Mac Thomaidh, ‘son of Tommie.” The name is usually spelled MaKcome (3 syllables) in the early records, and was formerly common in Upper Deeside. Alexander Thomeson appears in Strathdee in 1527 (Grant, III, p. 70). John Dow Thomasson in Perthshire fined for resetting Clan Gregor, 1613 (RPC, XIV, p. 632). Tamson 1654, Thomeson 1504, Thomesoune 1477, Thompesoune 1665, Thomsoune 1535, Tomsoun 1567. In some instances it is also an Englishing of MacComie, q.v. See also Thomason.

Surnames of Scotland by George F. Black, Pgs 768 & 769

Many of the Argyllshire MacTavishes now make Thomsons of themselves, while others are known as Towesons. The surnames, MacLehose, and MacLaws, are regarded as corrupted forms of Mac-Gille-Thomais – son of the gille or servant Thomas. There was a strong colony of MacTavishes in Strathglass at an early period. But these repudiate dependency on Clan Campbell, and MacTavish of Dunardry is chief of that clan, whilst Thomson of that Ilk on the Border is regarded as a remotely connected or indeterminate connection to the MacTavishes.

Clans, Septs, and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands, Frank Adam, p 301

. . . the eldest, Taus Corr *, or Thomas the singular, he was ancestor of the MacTauses, or Thomsons of Argyllshire, and some other parts.

An Inquiry into the Genealogy & Present State of Ancient Scottish Surnames with the Origin and Descent of the Highland Clans
by Wiliam Buchanan, p 33 and also found at:

* Taus Corr is considered the progenitor of Clan MacTavish

. . . famous in ther day for mighty warriours, viz. Taviss Corr and Iver Crom of whom descended 2 numerous Clanns the McTavishes or Thomsons and the McIvers .

. .
The Manuscript History of Craignish by Alexander Campbell, Advocate, edited by Herbert Campbell, p 256 and also found at: