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

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

The history of the name Wallace begins in the Scottish/English Borderlands with a family of Strathclyde-Briton ancestry. It is a name for a person who was understood to be foreign. The name is actually an abbreviation of Wallensis, which meant Welsh is derived from the Anglo Norman French word waleis, meaning foreign. It is sometimes difficult for the layman to understand how such a renowned Scottish Clan could be called, literally, Welsh.Yet from the 3rd to the 8th century the Kingdom of Strathclyde stretched from the northern tip of France to the southern shores of the Clyde in Scotland. This kingdom was composed of solely coastal territories, of regions including Wales, Lancashire, Westmorland and that part of southwest Scotland known as Galloway. Ironically, the first Scottish poem, dated about 1000 AD, was written in Welsh. Hence, Richard Wallensis was a vassal in 1174 of Walter FitzAlan, the Norman/ Breton who had settled in Salop in England and then moved north to Scotland. He would later found the great line of Scottish Stewart Kings. The Wallensis were undoubtedly the original natives of the area rather than travelers who moved north from the Welsh border in the train of the Stewarts.

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Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Wallace has been spelled Wallace, Wallis, Wallys, Walace, Uallas (Gaelic) and others.

First found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire where in 1173 AD Richard Wallensis obtained the lands that belonged to the former kingdom of Strathclyde called Richardstoun (now Riccarton) by a grant from the King. His son, Richard Walency (or Waleis) witnessed several charters between 1190 and 1220, showing his approval of transfers of land in Molle, Kelso, Cupa and Paisley. The Chiefship passed to his grandson, Sir Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie in Renfrewshire, who had acquired those lands, the ancient Clan territories and other lands in Ayrshire. It was the younger son of Malcolm Wallace, William Wallace, born in 1275, who was Scotland's folklore hero. A knight of no small qualification and skill, throughout his life he had maintained a friendship with the House of Stewart. His many exploits started in 1297 when he killed the Sheriff of Lanark. Wallace continued to harass the English occupying army with such skill and bewildering speed that the English were demoralized. Wallace unified the Clans of Scotland against a common invader. One of the English captains reported that Wallace was lying in Selkirk forest with his army of Clansmen. An English force moved northwards to destroy him but found itself under siege in Stirling Castle. The Battle of Stirling Bridge was a decisive victory for Wallace, and he was awarded the guardianship of Scotland. He was probably the greatest unifying factor that Scotland ever had. But the English King once more invaded Scotland, set up his own government and Wallace became an outlaw. Betrayed by Sir John de Menteith near Glasgow, he was tried for treason in London and executed on August 23rd, 1305. But the Clan Wallace lived on with some forty or fifty branches, most of them having their own lands and territories. The Chiefly line of the Wallaces of Riccarton took on the designation of Craigie after acquiring the Craigie estates by marriage. Other important branches started at Cessnock and Kelly in Renfrewshire. The life of Wallace was well documented by "Blind Harry," the minstrel.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wallace research. Another 143 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1642, 1688, 1720, 1795, 1616, 1703 and are included under the topic Early Wallace History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 181 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wallace Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Wallace 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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Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:

Wallace Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Halbert Wallace, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685

Wallace Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Andrew Wallace, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Alexander Wallace settled in Georgia in 1733
  • Humphrey Wallace, who landed in Virginia in 1746
  • Hendrick Wallace, who arrived in America in 1760-1763
  • Eleanor, Elizabeth, George, Jane, William, and Mary Wallace all settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1768

Wallace Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Hannah Wallace, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Andrew, Boyd, Daniel, Edward, Francis, George, Hugh, James, John, Michael, Patrick, Robert, Samuel, Thomas, and William Wallace all settled in Philadelphia, PA between 1820 and 1870
  • George Wallace, aged 32, landed in Texas in 1830
  • Benjamin Wallace, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1833
  • Alexander Wallace, who landed in New York in 1834


Wallace Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • James Wallace, who arrived in Arkansas in 1906

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  • Russell William "Rusty" Wallace (b. 1956), American former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver
  • Ruby Ann Wallace (b. 1923), original name of Ruby Dee, the American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and activist
  • DeWitt Wallace (1889-1981), American publisher and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Henry Wallace (1836-1916), American agriculturist and writer
  • Henry Cantwell Wallace (1866-1924), American agriculturist
  • Lewis Wallace (1827-1905), American author and soldier
  • Private First Class Herman C Wallace (1924-1945), American soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • Jean Wallace (1923-1990), American television and film actress
  • Lieutenant Colonel George W. Wallace (1872-1946), American Army officer awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Philippine-American War
  • Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965), American politician, 33rd U.S. Vice-President (1941-45)

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  • Wallace-Frierson and Allied Families by Charles Hamilton Young.
  • The McKnight Families and their Descendants, also, The Wallace and Alexander Families by Texarado McKnight Peak.
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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: Pro libertate
Motto Translation: For liberty.

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Wallace Clan Badge
Wallace Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Wallace
Ualas, Uallas, Walace, Walis, Wallace, Wallis, Wallys, Walys, Wolace, Wollace, Wollis, Wollys and more.

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Popular Family Crest Products
 
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  1. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. 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).
  9. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Wallace Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wallace 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 8 March 2014 at 20:01.

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