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

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

MacAlasdair is a very old Scottish name that may even date back to the Dalriadan tribe of Scotland's western coast and Hebrides islands. It comes from the Gaelic Mac Alasdair "son of Alasdair," which correlates to the personal name Alexander.

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Spelling variations are a very common occurrence in records of early Scottish names. They result from the repeated and inaccurate translations that many names went through in the course of various English occupations of Scotland. MacAlasdair has been spelled MacAlister, MacAllister, MacAllaster, MacAllestair, MacAllester, MacAllister and many more.

First found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dl Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where Alasdair Mr was listed on record in 1253, as witnessing a charter by his brother, Aonghas Mr a le, to the Paisley Abbey.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacAlasdair research. Another 235 words(17 lines of text) covering the year 1645 is included under the topic Early MacAlasdair History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 43 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacAlasdair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the MacAlasdair family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 71 words(5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first MacAlasdairs to arrive in North America: Charles MacAlister settled in Philadelphia in 1808; Daniel, David, Denis, James, John, Robert, Thomas and William MacAlister all arrived in Philadelphia between 1830 and 1870..

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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 and by land.

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  1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  2. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  3. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  7. 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.
  8. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The MacAlasdair Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacAlasdair 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 29 November 2011 at 14:27.

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