The cropped image below comes from the Death Certificate (dated 28 Aug 1884 at 127 Watt St, Glasgow Kinning Park) of my 4th great grandmother Mary Campbell who married Robert Clacher. The remainder of the certificate gives her name as Mary Clacher (Widow of Robert Clacher Plasterer (Journeyman)) and says her daughter E[lizabeth] Lamont was present at her death.

Her father is named as Archibald Campbell, Goods Carrier, (deceased) and her mother as Agnes Campbell but what I cannot work out is the order of Agnes' previous names.

Does it say:

formerly Rankine,
M.S. Kennedy,

or something else?

enter image description here

I'm not sure whether Mary's named mother is:

  • Agnes Rankine married Kennedy then married Campbell; or
  • Agnes Kennedy married Rankine then married Campbell

Curiously, I think Archibald Campbell was married twice and that Mary may have been the daughter of his second wife Elizabeth Munn because there is a baptism that would support that. If I can learn more here about the former names of the named mother Agnes Campbell then I will be better able to assess the evidence for that.

Here is some more text from the record below this one that seems to suggest that the letters before Kennedy above is MS. All three records on the page seem to have MS before the Maiden Name of the named mother.

enter image description here

  • I'm not sure it's "Md": the "d" does not resemble the other instances of that letter on the page. Hard to say what else it might be though (maybe "S"?), without more text to compare to. Is the rest of the page (or document) available?
    – AndyW
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 9:13
  • @AndyW I added some more text - I now think it is MS rather than Md - I'm reluctant to post too much of a Scotland's People image.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 9:50

2 Answers 2


It looks like "M.S." was a common abbreviation for "Maiden Surname" in Scottish records. There are numerous references to this in commercial sites (two examples) and forums (Rootsweb) although I can't find a direct reference to it on Scotland's People.

So your record suggests that Agnes was born a Kennedy, married a Rankine, and later married Archibald Campbell.

  • I'm sure you are right. Now I can get to trying to work out whether the informant (Mary's daughter) on Mary's death (I think aged 83 but recorded as 77) knew her grandmother's name or mixed it up with the name of her grandfather's first wife.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 10:23
  • 1
    Agreed - Maiden Surname (usually MS in SP certificates), which is the surname at first marriage and therefore might not be the birth name. Personally I often wonder if I'd have known my grans' names If I weren't a genealogist. Even now, great aunt Edith sounds plain weird to me.
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 18:40

Campbell is her current surname, Rankine her previous married surname and Kennedy her maiden name. M.S. is for Maiden Surname.

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