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About the study

Data is held on over 2,800 births in Scotland of people surnamed Comrie, drawn from indices of old parish records and (from 1855) of statutory registrations.  This is being extended by records from other sources and by personal knowledge of the descendents of William Comrie and Margaret Roy whose eight known children were born in or near Comrie, Perthshire, between 1763 and 1779.

Variant names

Comry (only three or four known examples)

Name origin

The clan MacGregor was outlawed by James VI in 1603, the clan chief and a dozen of his fellow leaders being executed in Edinburgh.  All people named MacGregor were forced to change their names or risk death.  Many adopted maternal or other related surnames, but several living in Comrie (Perthshire) appear to have adopted the name of their home parish.  There are however a few (three or four have been found) records of the  variant Comry from the sixteenth century.

History of the name

Leslie John Comrie (1893-1950) is regarded as the father of scientific computing.  A 2*gt-grandson of the above William Comrie and Margaret Roy, his grandfather James emigrated to New Zealand in 1857 or 1858. Leslie studied in what is now Auckland University, graduating in 1916.  He was severly injured in France during the first world war, after which he settled in England. He was the first director of the Computing Section of the British Astronomical Association, and became deputy superintendent of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in 1926. He was the first person to use punched cards for scientific computation, and published many books of mathematical tables.  In 1937 he founded the world's first private company for scientific computation.  The Computing Laboratory of the University of Auckland in named in his honour.

John Dixon Comrie (1875-1939) studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he was appointed lecturer in medical history in 1906. During the first world war he served in France as lieutenant colonel of a large medical division in a general hospital, and he accompanied the BEF to northern Russia in 1919 as consulting physician.   He later served in various consultancy positions, as vice-president of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and as chairman of the Scottish committee of the BMA.  He was the founding editor of Black’s Medical Dictionary, remained as editor for over thirty years, and was still acknowledged as editor in editions nearly twenty years after his death.   He also wrote an 850 page History of Scottish Medicine. He was the gt-grandson of the above William Comrie and Margaret Roy, his father of the same name having been a well loved general practitioner in Peterhead. 

Name frequency

Over 2,800 Comrie births are recorded in Scotland between 1636 and 2017.  Other areas are currently under investigation, but examples are known in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the united States and Canada.

Distribution of the name

No records exist for the parish of Comrie before 1693, but 41 births are recorded elsewhere in Scotland between 1636 and 1692, mainly in Edinburgh and Leith.  During the first forty years after 1693, 80% (136 out of 171) of Comrie births in Scotland are within ten miles of the village of Comrie.  During the next forty years, 64% (137 out of 215) are within ten miles of Comrie, and the percentage decreases gradually thereafter.  The last recorded Comrie birth in Comrie was in 1967.  Since 2000 there have been five within ten miles of Comrie.


Birth records have been extracted from the indices of Scotlands People.  Marriage records have also been extracted to 1840.