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

Origins Available: English-Alt, English, Scottish

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

An ancient Scottish tribe called the Boernicians were the ancestors of the first people to use the surname Tait. It is a name for a a 11th century Scandinavian personal name which means glad, cheerful.

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Spelling rules only evolved in the last few centuries with the invention of the printing press and the first dictionaries. Spelling variations are extremely common in names from before that period. Tait has been spelled Tait, Tate, Tayte, Taite and others.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, where they held a family seat from early times. There are several recorded instances of payments to a John Tayt, clerk of the hospital of Montrose, between 1362-70. Alexander Tayt was burgess of Edinburgh in 1381.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tait research. Another 229 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1597, 1381, 1424, 1432, 1490, 1492, 1531, 1567, 1626, 1666, 1652, 1715, 1692, 1652, 1715 and 1692 are included under the topic Early Tait History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 117 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tait Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Tait family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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After making their great crossing, many Boernician-Scottish families settled along the east coast of North America. When the War of Independence broke out, United Empire Loyalists moved north to Canada while the rest stayed to fight. The ancestors of many of these Scots still populate the continent. This century, through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations, they began to rediscover their collective national heritage. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Tait or a variant listed above:

Tait Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Magnus Tait, who settled in East New Jersey in 1685
  • Patrick Tait, who settled in East New Jersey in 1685

Tait Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • David Tait, who arrived in Florida in 1769
  • James Tait, who arrived in Boston in 1774
  • Elizabeth Tait, who came to Savannah, Georgia in 1775
  • David Tait, aged 7, arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1775

Tait Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Jas Tait, aged 37, landed in South Carolina in 1812
  • James Tait, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813
  • William Tait, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1818
  • James Tait, who settled in Baltimore Maryland with his son in 1820
  • Robert Tait, who arrived in New York in 1838


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  • Archibald Campbell Tait (1811-1882), British (Scottish born) churchman, who became the Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Peter Guthrie Tait (1831-1901), Scottish physicist and mathematician, professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh University
  • Thomas Smith Tait (1882-1952), Scottish architect
  • William Tait (1792-1864), Scottish publisher
  • Lieutenant James Edward Tait (1886-1918), Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War
  • Sir Angus Tait (b. 1919), New Zealand electronics innovator and businessman
  • Blyth Tait (b. 1961), New Zealand equestrian, who has represented New Zealand at four Olympics (1992-2000)
  • Sir. Peter L. Tait (1915-1996), Former New Zealand National Party Member of Parliment, Napier mayor, small businessman and opponent of New Zealand's Homoxesual Law Reform Act
  • Group Captain James Brian Tait DSO and three bars, DFC and bar (1916-2007), British officer in the Royal Air Force during and after World War II


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  1. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  2. 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).
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  7. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  8. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  9. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  11. ...

The Tait Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tait 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 5 March 2014 at 03:41.

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