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

Origins Available: Scottish-Alt, Scottish

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

The old Scottish-Dalriadan name McDonald is derived from the Anglicized version of the Gaelic personal name Mac Dhomhnuill. McDonald is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. The surname McDonald arose from the vernacular naming tradition, whereby surnames were formed by adopting the given name of one's father, or another ancestor. This name was first found in Kintyre, where members of this family had resided for many years.

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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 McDonald include MacDonald, Macdonald, McDonald, Donaldson, MacDonny and many more.

First found in Kintyre, and much of the Eastern islands and coast-lands where members of this Clan, descended through Somerled, Lord of the Isles and had resided for many years.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDonald research. Another 435 words(31 lines of text) covering the years 1336, 1386, 1423, 1437, 1449, 1603, and 1692 are included under the topic Early McDonald History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 55 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McDonald Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the McDonald family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 164 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The McDonald were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

McDonald Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Bryan McDonald, who arrived in New Castle, Del in 1690

McDonald Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Caul McDonald, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716
  • Rose McDonald, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716
  • Randal McDonald, who arrived in New England in 1718
  • Mary McDonald, who landed in New York in 1738
  • Anna McDonald, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1738


McDonald Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Allen McDonald, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Daniel McDonald, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806
  • Thos McDonald, who arrived in America in 1806
  • Archibald McDonald, who arrived in America in 1809
  • Lauchlin McDonald, aged 27, arrived in North Carolina in 1812


McDonald Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • James Edward McDonald, who arrived in Mississippi in 1900
  • Robert Walter McDonald, who arrived in Mississippi in 1900
  • W A McDonald, who arrived in Mississippi in 1900
  • Hans Peter McDonald, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1907
  • Samuel McDonald, who landed in Alabama in 1921

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  • Marie McDonald (1923-1965), American singer and actress
  • Walter Robert McDonald (b. 1934), American poet and former professor
  • Hugh McDonald (b. 1950), American session musician and bassist
  • Eugene F. McDonald (1886-1958), American founder of Zenith Radio in 1921
  • James McDonald (1886-1964), American diplomat, 1st US Ambassador to Israel
  • Richard "Dick" J. McDonald (1909-1998), American co-founder in 1940 of the McDonald's restaurant chain
  • Andrew Joseph McDonald (1923-2014), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Little Rock from 1972 to 2000
  • Air Marshal Sir Arthur William Baynes McDonald KCB (1903-1996), Royal Air Force officer
  • Sir Trevor McDonald OBE (b. 1939), Trinidadian-born British television presenter
  • Thomas Bayne McDonald (1907-1987), pioneering New Zealand wine-maker

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  • Kincannon and McDonald of Southwest Virginia by David B. Trimble.
  • Never Say Die by Julia Davis.
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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. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  4. 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.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  11. ...

The McDonald Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McDonald 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 7 April 2014 at 12:13.

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