As can be seen from the various sources quoted under Historical Occurrences, there appear to be a number of different spellings of RETTIE used in the past.
The permutations consist of either ‘ea’, ‘ai’ or ‘a’ instead of the initial ‘e’ together with either a single or double ‘t’.
I entered these permutations into ScotlandPeople with the following results:
|Variant||Births 1538-1854||Births 1855-2009||Earliest||Latest||Mode Parish|
|RAITIE||24||0||1689||1781||New Deer (6)|
|RATIE||13||0||1689||1817||Gamrie and Macduff (4)|
|RATTIE||8||0||1689||1892||Monquhitter (2) & Boyndie (2)|
|REATTIE||4||0||1734||1777||New Deer (3)|
Consider also the following examples listing parents, parish, date of birth and name of child:
RAITIE –> RATIE
William RAITIE & Christian ESLEMENT of New Deer
24 Feb 1751 Anne
31 Mar 1753 Alexander
14 May 1755 Isobel
01 Jun 1757 William
16 Sep 1759 James
William RATIE & Chirsten ESSELMENT of New Deer
01 Nov 1761 Adam
REATTIE –> RETTIE –> REATIE –> RAITIE –> RETTIE
Alexander REATTIE & Christen HEPBURN of New Deer
10 Sep 1765 William
ALEXANDER RETTIE & Christian HEBRON of New Deer
07 Mar 1767 Alexander
Alexander REATIE & Christian HEBREN of New Deer
30 Jan 1774 George
16 Jun 1777 Peter
Alexander RAITIE & Christian HEPBURN of King Edward
14 Aug 1781 Jane
Alexander RETTIE & Christian HEPBURN of King Edward
28 Sep 1785 Adam
Note also the variations in the Mothers’ names!
- Barring one entry from Fife, all other entries are from Aberdeenshire and Banffshire in North-East Scotland. This strongly suggests the surnames are just alternative spellings of the same original family name.
- RETTIE is by far the most popular spelling, both in Old Parish Registers and Statutory Registers.
- RETTIE is the only spelling which survives into the 20th Century, with all others apart from RAITTIE terminating upon the adoption of Statutory Registers in 1855.
This suggests that RETTIE is the de facto correct spelling.
The Guild of One Name Studies differentiates between a surname variant and a surname deviant.
A variant is:
a name spelling used by officials on a consistent and persistent basis over a period of years.
None of the alternative spellings of RETTIE meet this rule.
A deviant, however, is defined as:
any other spelling recorded, including cases where the spelling occurs in official records, but only randomly and inconsistently.
Given the above examples, it appears that the alternative spellings are indeed used inconsistently.
The surname RETTIE has no variants, only deviants due to transcription errors and mis-spelling.