Monday, August 4, 2014


All too often we find that we never give a name a second thought until something happens that makes you see it in a different light. That happened to me this weekend with Taggart.

Like many people, I was spending some time browsing Pinterest when I came across this pin of a cute personalised teddy bear from Etsy store World Class Embroidery.

I was sold - I could totally picture a baby Taggart with his cute little monkey.

And why not? He fits in so well with the surname trend. Taggart is roguish and rascally, a rough and tumble lad with intelligence and charm in spades. Somewhat how I'd envision a modern day Tom Sawyer to be.

Taggart (pronounced TA-gurt) is a Gaelic name derived from McTaggart/MacTaggart. These surnames are Anglicisations of the Gaelic phrase "Mac-an-t-Sagairt" meaning 'son of the priest (or prelate)'. So how did it get to be such a  widespread surname when priests weren't legally allowed to marry after the 12th century? Apparently these laws were often ignored and priests frequently married anyway. It's also possible it was given to people who were simply suspected of being the son of a priest.

Photo Courtesy of
Kimberley G Photography
Taggart is not often seen as a given name in the U.S. It first charted there in 1964 and in 2013 was ranked #3152, the highest it has ever climbed. This still make sit quite rare, and you don't have to go too in depth to get a couple of notions as to why that may be.

Firstly, there's the suggestion that it sounds like discount store Target. Or that there are at least two rhyming options that would lead to inevitable schoolyard teasing. I've also seen it derided as sounding like a name that Sarah Palin would use, closely followed by the observation that it actually is the name of Mitt Romney's son (he goes by the preppy nickname Tag). Then there's the TV show that was my first association with Taggart. 'Taggart' is a serious Scottish detective drama featuring main character Detective Taggart. Unfortunately he's not quite the young, brooding, handsome sleuth we often see on TV these days. The show was very popular though and ran for 28(!) years, ending just a few years ago.

Despite these, I think Taggart could be quite the surprising hit. I could easily see him as a brother to Rafferty, Killian, Kendrick or Llewellyn. Then I saw this last little tidbit that I adore. Apparently the Taggart motto is "Ratione non vi", which means "By reason, not by force". I can just picture it printed above a young Taggarts crib in his nursery. And what a beautiful sentiment it is to raise a child by.

1 comment:

  1. Having the first name of Taggart myself, I can tell you I *hated* my name growing up...because young people want to fit in, and my name wasn't Kyle, Todd, or Brad (I'm a child of the 70's and 80's, go figure). But even in my early 20's I came to fully appreciate having an extremely rare name that isn't the product of fantasy fiction. People rarely forget my name! And as I'm of Gaelic ancestry, my name is totally appropriate. I didn't learn about Mitt Romney's son until the last presidential election, and all I can say is...Adolph was a popular name in Germany until the 40's...can't blame a name!