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

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

In ancient Scotland, Elder was first used as a surname by the descendants of the Boernician tribe. It was a name for a person who was the elder of two people, bearing the same name. Elder is a nickname surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. Members of the Elder family were originally found in Edinburghshire, where they had been settled prior to the Norman Conquest of England, in 1066.

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Scribes in the Middle Ages, and simply spelled according to sound. The result is an enormous number of spelling variations among names that evolved in that era. Elder has been spelled Elder, Elders, Eldar, MacNoravaich and others.

First found in Edinburghshire, a former county, now part of the Midlothian council area 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 Elder research. Another 147 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 189 and are included under the topic Early Elder History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Elder family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 123 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Most of the Boernician-Scottish families who came to North America settled on the eastern seaboard of what would become the United States and Canada. Families who wanted a new order stayed south in the War of Independence, while those who were still loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, the ancestors of these families have gone on to rediscover their heritage through Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Elder or a variant listed above:

Elder Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Wm Elder, who landed in Virginia in 1664

Elder Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • James Elder who settled in New Hampshire in 1718 along with Thomas, David, Isaac, John, Robert, Samuel, and Thomas
  • Reverend John Elder who formed and was Captain of the Paxtang Rangers, known as the Paxtang Boys in 1753 who committed considerable mayhem amongst the Indians of Conestoga
  • William Elder, who landed in America in 1760-1763

Elder Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Stewart Elder, who arrived in New York in 1810
  • Matthew Elder, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Charles Elder, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • David Elder, aged 30, arrived in Maine in 1812
  • Robert Elder, who arrived in New York in 1822


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  • William Elder (1921-2008), American illustrator and comic book artist who helped launch Harvey Kurtzman's "Mad" comic book in 1952
  • Lonne Elder (b. 1931), American actor and playwright
  • Christian Stuart Elder (1968-2007), American sports car and former NASCAR stock car driver
  • Robert K. Elder (b. 1976), American journalist, author and newspaper columnist
  • Judyann Elder (b. 1948), American actress
  • Ann Elder (b. 1942), born Anna Velders, an American two-time Primetime Emmy Award winning screenwriter
  • David Matthew Elder (b. 1975), American former Major League Baseball player who played for the Cleveland Indians from 2002 to 2003
  • Donald Elder (b. 1962), former professional American NFL football player who played from 1985 to 1991
  • Henry Knox "Heinie" Elder (1890-1958), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played in 1913 for the Detroit Tigers
  • Judyann Elder (b. 1948), born Judith Ann Johnson, an American actress, director, and writer

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  • Maryland Elder Family and Kin: William Elder, 1707-1775 by Mary Louise Donnelly.
  • William Elder: Ancestors and Descendants by Mary Louise Donnelly.
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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: Virtute duce
Motto Translation: With virtue for guide.

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  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  3. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  6. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  10. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  11. ...

The Elder Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Elder 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 25 March 2014 at 10:04.

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