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

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

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

The Dalriadan clans of ancient Scotland spawned the ancestors of the Arthur family. Their name comes from the Celtic personal name Arthur, which is of various and often disputed etymology. The personal name Arthur may be derived from some early cognate of the Gaelic "art" and the Welsh "arth" which means "bear" and may indicate early Celtic worship of that animal or one who has a high regard for that animal's virtuous qualities.


The medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English created many spelling variations of the same name. Arthur has been recorded as Archibure, Arthuwire, Artheor, Arthurs, Arture, Harthawr, Artair, Artuir and many more.

First found in the county of Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, in south eastern Scotland where they have held a family seat from ancient times. The Arthur family traced their descent from King Aedan Mac Gabrain, King of Dalriada, whose mother was a British Princess, and named his eldest son Arthur, and he was believed to be the first Gael to bear the name. The family name was recorded in the late 6th and early 7th century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Arthur research. Another 166 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Arthur History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Arthur family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 157 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Arthur, or a variant listed above:

Arthur Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Joseph Arthur who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Mathew Arthur, aged 18, landed in St Christopher in 1633
  • Georg Arthur, who landed in Virginia in 1637
  • Hugh Arthur, who arrived in Virginia in 1649
  • Eliz Arthur, who landed in Virginia in 1651

Arthur Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Robert Arthur, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1704
  • Dominick Arthur, who landed in South Carolina in 1708
  • Christr Arthur, who landed in South Carolina in 1724
  • Hannah Arthur, who arrived in America in 1760
  • Helen Arthur, aged 22, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775

Arthur Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Arthur, who arrived in America in 1803
  • Robt Arthur, who landed in America in 1805
  • James Arthur, who landed in America in 1807
  • Alexander Arthur arrived in Philadelphia in 1808
  • Wm Arthur, who landed in New York, NY in 1817


  • Beatrice "Bea" Arthur (1922-2009), American actress, comedienne and singer whose career spanned seven decades
  • Jean Arthur (1900-1991), American actress and a major film star of the 1930s and 1940s and arguably the epitome of the female screwball comedy actress
  • Harold John Arthur (1904-1971), American politician, Governor of the state of Vermont (1950-1951)
  • President Chester Alan Arthur (1830-1886), 21st president of the United States
  • Admiral Stanley Arthur, American Vice Chief of Naval Operations from 1992-95 and won the Distinguished Flying Cross 11 times and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal 3 times among other decorations
  • John William Arthur OBE (1881-1952), Scottish medical missionary and Church of Scotland minister who served in British East Africa (Kenya) from 1907 to 1937
  • Eric Ross Arthur CC (1898-1982), Canadian architect, writer and educator made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1968
  • Sir Oswald Raynor Arthur (1905-1973), British colonial administrator Governor of the Falkland Islands from 1954 to 1957 and then Governor of the Bahamas until 1960
  • Thomas Arthur (1835-1902), English soldier, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Sir Basil Malcolm Arthur (1928-1985), 5th Baronet, New Zealand politician, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives (1984-1985)



  • Genealogy and History of the Descendants and Ancestory of Richard Henry Arthur and Susanna Coad by Fred E. Sawyer.
  • The William Arthur Family by Robert L. Arthur.

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: Impelle obstantia
Motto Translation: Thrust aside obstacles.


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  1. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. 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.
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  6. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  7. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  11. ...

The Arthur Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Arthur 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 13 June 2014 at 12:08.

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