Tulloch is a Scottish locational surname of Medieval origin, from the Gaelic word Tulach - literally a small hill. The name has been given to various places in Scotland including a settlement near Dingwall in the north of Scotland and the nearby Tulloch Castle. [1]

In 1254, the Registrorum Abbacie de Aberbrothoc' (Register of Arbroath Abbey) recorded an estate called "Tulloch" or "Tulach", in Angus, northeast Scotland, which is the first record of the name. This village is now called "Tulloes" and is in the Parish of Dunnichen. [2] It appears that this is the "small hill" that most of the Tullochs in the world take their name from.

There are currently around 8,000 - 11,000 Tullochs in the world, depending on the source. The largest country is Britain, with between 2,000[3] to 3,000[4], followed by the United States with 1,700[3] to 2,500[5] and then Jamaica, with around 2,300, the highest density of any country in the world.[5] Canada has between 850[4] and 1,300[6][5] and Australia has between 600[3] and 1,500[4]. New Zealand has nearly 300[4] and South Africa around 300.[5]

In addition there are around 1,000 people with the surname Tullock[7] and 4,300 people with the surname Tullis[8], which is believed to derive from Tulloch.


Earliest recorded Tullochs

The first recorded person with the surname was Alexander of Tulleth, recorded in 1360 as a collector of contributions from Glenbervie and Cowie, in Kincardineshire, on the east coast of Scotland. [9] Sir Nicolas de Tolach witnessed a deed at Brechin Cathedral in 1365. [10]

Walter de Tulach, who was listed as the "Keeper of Kildrummy Castle" in 1363. He receiving a charter of the lands of Kinnell, Forfarshire, in 1390 from Hugh Fraser, laird of Lovat, the Chief of Clan Fraser.[11] Later he received a charter of Bonnyton - a hamlet between Maryton and Carcary, just west of Montrose - from King Robert II. Meanwhile, a Nicholas de Tolach, possibly unrelated, was recorded as a witness in a document dated 1364 from Brechin, Scotland, which is 8 miles west of Montrose. [1]

In 1399, King Robert III of Scotland granted John Tulloch, the office of "Keeper of the Moor of Monrommon", which is about 4 miles southwest of Brechin. This office was held by the Tullochs of Hillcarnie family until 1583 when it was sold to the Wood family. [12]

Walter de Tulloch's grandson, Walter Tulloch, married ca. 1450 the daughter of David Ogilvy, part of the aristocratic Ogilvie family. [13]

Orkney Tullochs

See also: Tulloch in North Ronaldshay, Orkney, Scotland See also: Tulloch in Westray, Orkney, Scotland

Walter's son, Thomas Tulloch was promoted in 1418 from the presbyter of Brechin to be the Bishop and Governor of Orkney. He was the first in a long line of Tulloch clergymen, many appointed by local lairds exercising their rights of patronage. Thomas appointed three relatives - Malise, David and then Thomas - as the Archdeacon of Shetland and Andrew de Tulloch as the Archdeacon of Orkney.

He resigned in 1461 in favour of his uncle, William de Tulloch. William was promoted to Bishop of Moray in 1477 and was Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland from 1470 to 1482. A different, possibly unrelated, Thomas de Tulloch became the Bishop of Ross in 1440 and a Hector Tulloch became the Archdeacon of Caithness in 1445. A Robert de Tulloch was Archdeacon of Moray in 1443 and a Thomas de Tulloch was Archdeacon of Lothian from 1441-1444.

The Tulloch Bishops were known in the history of Orkneys for settling Scottish people, including many of their relatives, on the Northern Islands, which had just been granted from Norway to Scotland as a wedding dowry. As a consequence, by 1881 there were 719 families on Orkney and Shetland, which was over a third of all Tullochs in Scotland and more than any other county.

Another family recorded here is the descendents of John Tulloch, who was born in 1770 in the Shetland Islands.

Moray Tullochs

Back in Angus, Bishop William's brother, John Tulloch, was created Baron of Craigneston in 1494. His great great grandson, Robert Tulloch, was created in 1574 the first Laird of Tannachy, a hamlet just outside Forres, in Moray, 100 miles northwest of Montrose. Robert's son, Patrick Tulloch, was Archdeacon of Moray from 1613 to 1638. The Tannachy property stayed in the Tulloch family for the next 200 years, before being sold by the seventh laird. Many of the family were involved in the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745, many were killed at the Battle of Culloden or had property seized from them afterwards. Of the remainder, several joined the British Army, providing senior officers for a number of generation. This included Major-General Sir Alexander Murray Tulloch, who worked on army statistics during the Crimean War and Major-General Alexander Bruce Tulloch, military commandant for the Colony of Victoria in Australia.

Fife Tullochs

There is a family of Tulloch salt workers recorded in Fife from 1636. Salt walking was an occupation that was reported to run in families: Salt makers were said to be "born not made" and therefore it tended to be hereditary. Between 1606 and 1775 salters were bonded labour, a form of serfdom, and were barred from moving to a new employer without consent and regularly subjected to corporal punishment and imprisonment.

Recent Tullochs

Another Tulloch family recorded on werelate are the descendents of Robert Tulloch, who was born in 1740 and lived in East Lothian, near Edinburgh. His descendents lived in East Lothian and Midlothian in 1881 (see below). In 1883, his descendent William emigrated with his family from to Queensland, Australia, where several Tulloch families now live.

A third family is the descendents of James Tulloch, born 1719 in Dunfermline.

In 1881, there were just under 2,000 people with the Surname in Britain, mostly living in Shetland, Orkney and the Highlands of Scotland.[14] The distribution of families in Scotland and England was [3]:

County Number of families Families on WeRelate
Orkney 409
Shetland 310
Midlothian 185 John (11); Alex (2)
Lanarkshire 164
Moray 113
Invernessshire 81
Fife 68
Renfrewshire 62
Aberdeenshire 59
Angus 53
Rest of Scotland 290 William (11); William (9)
England 154
Wales 3
Total 1,951

By 1998, the number of Tullochs in Britain had reduced to 1,901, with Shetland still having the largest population but by now spread across Scotland. [14]

Outside Britain

Today, three in four Tullochs live outside Britain, nearly all in the New World colonies that were settled by Scottish emigrants in the 19th century. In particular, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand each have many hundreds of descendents there today. Jamaica has the second largest population in the world, said to be descended from two Scottish brothers who married Afro-Caribbean women.


There are around 2,300 Tullochs living today in Jamaica, the highest density of any country in the world.[5] Most of these people self-identify as "black" [15] although their racial heritage is about 16% european. [16]

United States

Between 1852 and 1891, 86 Tullochs emigrated from Britain to the United States.[17] The number of Tullochs in the United States has since then increased to between 1,250[18] and 2,500[19]


There are currently between 850[4] and 1,300[20] Tullochs in Canada.


There are currently between 600[3] and 1,500[4] Tullochs in Australia. William Tulloch emigrated East Lothian, Scotland to Queensland in 1883, with his wife and first daughter. His Tulloch descendents now number around 20 in the Queensland area.

Revd George Tulloch, a presbyterian minister from Shetland, moved to Australia in 1901, becoming a minister in Perth. [21]

Laurence Tulloch moved from Shetland to Adelaide in around the 1870s [22]

James Tulloch moved from Moray to New South Wales in 1839[23]

Capt. James Tulloch moved from Shetland to Australia in the 1850s, settling in Melbourne.[24]

New Zealand

There are currently nearly 300 Tullochs in New Zealand. [4]

South Africa

There are currently around 300 Tullochs in South Africa.[5]

Genetic genealogy

Six people who are male line descendants of a Tullis, who believe they are descended from Tullochs, have been tested for their Y DNS and found to match.[25] The full results for one of these people is here was shown using this calculator to be Haplogroup R1a. The closest Haplotype is "R1a #12", which is most frequently found among Romani, Viking and Kabardinian groups. Given the geographical context, this supports a link to the Viking settlement of Britain between 800-1000. [26]

A descendant of John Tully (abt 1757-1828), from Perthshire, was tested and found to be R1b. [6] This Haplogroup is the most common in eastern Scotland, making up 60% of the population. It is believed to have come to Britain in around 2,000 with the Celtic settlement.[7]

Davidsons of Tulloch

The Davidson of Tulloch family owned an estate near Tulloch Castle. This family is not related to the other Tullochs noted here. There is a farm in St Catherine, Jamaica named after Henry Davidson of Bedford Square, in the County of Middlesex, and of Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, county of Ross) who was a Partner in the firm of Davidson and Graham with Charles Graham, 8th of Drynie, who purchased this estate.


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. See this map for the three locations referred.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 British Surnames entry
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 World Names
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Forebears (2014), accessed 2016-10-19
  6. Based on 418 phone book entries for Tulloch/Tullock per [1]
  7. British Surnames entry
  8. [2]
  9. Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, ii 40, cited in Some Notes on Early Tullochs, The Scottish Genealogist, March 1994
  10. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis 21; Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum ii 494; both cited in Some Notes on Early Tullochs, The Scottish Genealogist, March 1994
  11. Grant of land to Walter Tulloch
  12. Great Moor of Monrommon
  13. Walter Tulloch in the peerage of Scotland
  14. 14.0 14.1 GBNames
  15. See for examples
  16. Simms, Tanya M.; Rodríguez, Carol E.; Rodríguez, Rosa; Herrera, René J. (May 2010). "The genetic structure of populations from Haiti and Jamaica reflect divergent demographic histories". Am J Phys Anthropol. 142: 63. doi:10.1002/ajpa.21194. PMID 19918989. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  17. Ancestry surname page
  18. Name Statistics page (US)
  19. Forebears (2014), accessed 2016-10-19; a third source gives 1,700 (see ref name=BS)
  20. Based on 418 phone book entries for Tulloch/Tullock per [3]
  22. See
  23. See
  24. Bayanne; Launceston Family Album Project; [4]
  25. Tullis DNS Project
  26. [5]