This is an ancient Scottish surname. Recorded as Prot and Prott, and originating in the county of Aberdeen at least as early as the year 1445, the origin is obscure. It is probably a Scottish version of the early English name Pratt. Originally "praett," the word is of pre 7th century origins, may have been occupational for a magician or conjuror, in the travelling fairs and theatres of the Middle Ages. More likely it was a nickname for somebody renowned by their peer group for their tricks, as nicknames form one of the largest of all the surname groupings. Curiously Aberdeenshire has a higher percentage of surnames of English origin than any other part of Scotland. As an extreme example there are for instance more Smiths in Aberdeenshire, than in any other part of the British Isles. Why this should be is unclear, given that Aberdeen is about as far away from England as it is possible to be. The first recording of Prot or Prott is that of Walter Prot. He was admitted as burgess of Aberdeen in 1445, a very high honour, whilst Janet Prot of Petty appears in the court registers of 1683, and William Prott is recorded in the Close Rolls of Aberdeen in 1784.
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