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

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

The McWilliams family comes from the ancient Scottish Dalriadan clans of the mountainous west coast of Scotland. The name McWilliams is derived from the personal name William. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac Uilleim, which means son of William.


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 McWilliams include MacWilliam, MacQuilliam, MacKilliam, MacWilliams, MacKullie, MacCullie, MacWillie and many more.

First found in on the Isle of Harris, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McWilliams research. Another 256 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1187, 1215, and 1613 are included under the topic Early McWilliams History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the McWilliams family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 167 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The hardy Scots who made the crossing settled all along the east coast of North America and in the great west that was just then opening up. At the time of the American War of Independence, many United Empire Loyalists moved north from the American colonies to Canada. Scottish national heritage became better known in North America in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic events. An examination of immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name McWilliams arrived in North America very early:

McWilliams Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Jane McWilliams, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1771
  • Archibald McWilliams, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1772
  • Elizabeth McWilliams, aged 35, landed in New York, NY in 1775
  • George McWilliams, aged 25, arrived in New York, NY in 1775
  • Janet McWilliams, aged 27, arrived in New York, NY in 1775

McWilliams Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • John McWilliams, who landed in America in 1811
  • David McWilliams, aged 17, landed in New York in 1812
  • William McWilliams, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Nicholas McWilliams, who arrived in Maryland in 1817
  • James McWilliams, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838


  • Larry McWilliams (b. 1954), American former Major League Baseball player who played from 1978 to 1990
  • Peter Alexander McWilliams (1949-2000), American writer and cannabis activist
  • Carey McWilliams (1905-1980), American author, editor, and lawyer
  • Julia Carolyn McWilliams (1912-2004), birth name of Julia Child, American chef, author, and television personality, recipient of the three Emmys, five more Emmy nominations and a Peabody Award
  • Robert Hugh McWilliams Jr. (1916-2013), American judge, US Court of Appeals 10th Circuit (19701984), Colorado Supreme Court (19611970)
  • William Henry "Bill" McWilliams (1910-1997), American Major League Baseball player who played for the Boston Red Sox in 1931
  • Caroline Margaret McWilliams (1945-2010), American actress, best known for her role as Marcy Hill on the television series Soap
  • Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, American actress
  • Johnny McWilliams (b. 1972), former American NFL football tight end who played from 1996 to 2000
  • Wilson Carey McWilliams (1933-2005), American political scientist at Rutgers University



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  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  3. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  4. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  6. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  9. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  10. 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).
  11. ...

The McWilliams Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McWilliams 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 1 October 2014 at 07:34.

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