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

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

The Donald family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name Donald is derived from a powerful ruler. The name Donald is derived from the Gaelic name Domhnull, or MacDhomhnuill, and the Celtic name Dubnovalos, all of which mean "world ruler" or "world-mighty". The name ranks second only to John in its popularity as a personal name in Scotland.

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Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents Donald has been spelled Donald, Donaldson, Doneld, Donnald, Donnaldson and others.

First found in Galloway (Gaelic: Gall-ghaidhealaibh), an area of southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, that formerly consisted of the counties of Wigtown (West Galloway) and Kirkcudbright (East Galloway), where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donald research. Another 302 words(22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donald History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Donald family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 189 words(14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Donald were among those contributors:

Donald Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Mary Donald settled in Pennsylvania in 1773 along with David, and Nash
  • Alexander Donald, aged 37, landed in New York in 1775
  • Alexander Donald who settled in Georgia in 1775
  • Robert Donald, who arrived in Virginia in 1775
  • Cornelius Donald settled in Maryland in 1776


Donald Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James Donald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Nash Donald, aged 26, arrived in Delaware in 1803
  • Michael Donald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Barney Donald, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Eleanor Donald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811


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  • Jason Thomas Donald (b. 1984), Olympian for the United States and a Major League Baseball shortstop
  • Ian Donald (1910-1987), Scottish physician who pioneered the use of diagnostic ultrasound in medicine
  • James Donald (1917-1993), Scottish actor
  • Luke Campbell Donald (b. 1977), English golfer
  • Allan Anthony Donald (b. 1966), former South African cricketer
  • Howard Paul Donald (b. 1968), English singer-songwriter, drummer, pianist, dancer, DJ and house producer
  • Stephen Donald (b. 1983), New Zealand rugby union player
  • Mitchell Donald (b. 1988), Dutch footballer
  • Warren Donald (b. 1964), English-born footballer
  • Chris Donald (b. 1960), founder of the British comic magazine Viz


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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: Per mare, per terras
Motto Translation: By sea, by land.

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Donald Clan Badge
Donald Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Donald
Daneal, Daneale, Daneil, Daneile, Danel, Danell, Daner, Daneul, Daneyle, Danialls, Danials, Daniel, Daniell, Daniells, Daniels, Danielson, Daniers, Danneal, Danneale, Danneil, Danneile, Dannel, Dannell, Danner, Danneul, Danneyle, Dannialls, Danniel, Danniell, Danniells, Danniels, Dannielson, Danniers, Dannyei, Dannyell, Danyei, Danyel, Danyell, Deneal, Deneale, Deneil, Deneile, Denel, Deneul, Deneyle, Denialls, Deniel, Deniell, Deniells, Deniels and more.

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Popular Family Crest Products
 
Donald Armorial History With Coat of Arms
Donald Coat of Arms & Surname History Package
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  1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Donald Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Donald 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 26 August 2014 at 11:55.

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