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

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

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

Many variations of the name McMaster have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as Mac an Mhaighistir, which means son of the master.


Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the McMaster family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including MacMaster, McMaster, Masterson, Mac an Mhaighistir (Gaelic), MacAmaster, MacYmaster and many more.

First found in Breffny, where they held a family seat in ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McMaster research. Another 195 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1659, 1778, and 1854 are included under the topic Early McMaster History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 22 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McMaster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name McMaster or a variant listed above, including:

McMaster Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • James McMaster, who sailed to Boston in 1766
  • George McMaster sailed to Charles Town South Carolina in 1772
  • George McMaster, who landed in South Carolina in 1772
  • Hugh McMaster, who arrived in South Carolina in 1772
  • Martha McMaster, who landed in South Carolina in 1772

McMaster Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel McMaster, who arrived in America in 1807
  • Flora McMaster, who arrived in New York in 1833
  • John McMaster, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1836
  • William McMaster, who arrived in New York in 1842
  • David McMaster, who landed in America in 1850


  • John B McMaster (1852-1932), American historian
  • Herbert Raymond McMaster (b. 1962), American soldier, and a career officer
  • Henry Dargan McMaster (b. 1947), South Carolina's Republican attorney general
  • Sherman McMaster (1853-1892), American outlaw turned lawman, who was one of the six men involved in the Earp vendetta ride
  • Gerald R. McMaster (b. 1953), American Plains Cree and Blackfoot curator, artist, and author
  • William Henry McMaster (1877-1968), the tenth Governor of South Dakota
  • Stanley Raymond McMaster (1926-1992), Unionist politician in Northern Ireland
  • William McMaster (1811-1887), Canadian (Northern Irish born) wholesaler, Canadian Senator (1867-1887) and banker, founding president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce (CIBC), eponym of McMaster University
  • Gordon James McMaster (1960-1997), Scottish Politician, member of the British House of Commons
  • John McMaster (b. 1955), former Scottish professional footballer



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  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  2. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  5. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  7. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  8. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  11. ...

The McMaster Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McMaster 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 22 January 2013 at 17:07.

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