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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish McNabb family come from? What is the Scottish McNabb family crest and coat of arms? When did the McNabb family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McNabb family history?

The first family to use the name McNabb lived in the area that was once the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. It is a name for a son of an abbot. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac an Aba. They are descended from the hereditary abbots of St. Fillan's near Loch Earn. Fillan was a royal prince of the royal house of Dalriada. In the reign of William, the Lyon of Scotland, the Abbots of Glendochart held a rank equivalent to the Earls of Atholl and Menteith. The Clan held the barony of Glendochart at the west end of Loch Tay.


Translation in medieval times was an undeveloped science and was often carried out without due care. For this reason, many early Scottish names appeared radically altered when written in English. The spelling variations of McNabb include MacNab, MacNabb, MacKnab, Mac an Aba (Gaelic) and others.

First found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where they joined with the MacDougalls in opposing Robert the Bruce and consequently lost many of the vast territories they had held. However, the Chief of the MacNabs finally became reconciled to the Bruce, and regained many of his lost lands when King David II came to the throne of Scotland. He also received the official charter for the barony of Bowaine dated 1336. Finlay MacNab, the 4th Chief of the Clan, added considerably to the estates toward the end of the 15th century, but in 1552 another Finlay, the 6th chief, fell into financial difficulties and mortgaged most of the Clan lands to the Campbell of Glenorchy. The Clan, however, refused to acknowledge the superiority of the Campbells


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNabb research. Another 612 words(44 lines of text) covering the years 1612, 1651, 1660, 1745, 1770, 1780, 1798, 1816, 1820, 1854, 1856, 1860, and 1862 are included under the topic Early McNabb History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early McNabb Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the McNabb family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 155 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The McNabb were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

McNabb Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas McNabb, who arrived in Maryland in 1716
  • Tibby McNabb, aged 20, landed in North Carolina in 1775
  • John McNabb, aged 24, landed in North Carolina in 1775
  • Tebby McNabb, aged 20, landed in North Carolina in 1775

McNabb Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Edward McNabb, who landed in Mississippi in 1829
  • Jane McNabb, aged 35, arrived in New York, NY in 1855
  • Charles McNabb, aged 17, arrived in New York, NY in 1855
  • Sarah McNabb, aged 28, arrived in New York, NY in 1855
  • William McNabb, aged 25, arrived in New York, NY in 1855


  • Donovan McNabb (b. 1976), American NFL football quarterback
  • Carl McNabb (1917-2007), American Major League Baseball player
  • General Duncan J. McNabb, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command
  • Edgar J. McNabb (1865-1894), American Major League Baseball player
  • Linda McNabb (b. 1963), New Zealand (British-born) children's author
  • Vincent McNabb (1868-1943), Irish scholar and priest
  • Donald McNabb, Canadian politician from Alberta
  • Ian McNabb (b. 1962), British musician
  • James McNabb (1776-1820), Upper Canada businessman and political figure


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Timor omnis abesto
Motto Translation: Let fear be far from all.


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  1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  2. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  3. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  5. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  6. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  11. ...

The McNabb Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McNabb Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 8 December 2013 at 20:31.

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