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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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


  • Michael DeWayne Tait (b. 1966), American contemporary Christian music artist
  • Joseph "Joe" Tait (b. 1937), American sports broadcaster for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians, awarded the Basketball Hall of Fame 2010 Curt Gowdy Media Award
  • William Walker Tait (b. 1929), American emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago
  • Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905), American wildlife artist
  • Charles Tait (1768-1835), American politician, United States Senator from Georgia (1809-1819)
  • Douglas Tait, American actor, stuntman, and independent filmmaker, known for his work in Star Trek, Zathura: A Space Adventure, Thor, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Land of the Lost
  • 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 who developed Tait's conjecture
  • Thomas Smith Tait (1882-1952), Scottish architect who designed a number of buildings around the world in Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles, notably St. Andrew's House
  • William Tait (1792-1864), Scottish publisher




  1. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  2. 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.
  3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  8. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  10. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. 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 29 April 2014 at 07:58.

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