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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The first family to use the name McNabb lived in the area that was once the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. It is a name for a son of an abbot. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac an Aba. They are descended from the hereditary abbots of St. Fillan's near Loch Earn. Fillan was a royal prince of the royal house of Dalriada. In the reign of William, the Lyon of Scotland, the Abbots of Glendochart held a rank equivalent to the Earls of Atholl and Menteith. The Clan held the barony of Glendochart at the west end of Loch Tay.

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The surname McNabb was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where they joined with the MacDougalls in opposing Robert the Bruce and consequently lost many of the vast territories they had held. However, the Chief of the MacNabs finally became reconciled to the Bruce, and regained many of his lost lands when King David II came to the throne of Scotland. He also received the official charter for the barony of Bowaine dated 1336. Finlay MacNab, the 4th Chief of the Clan, added considerably to the estates toward the end of the 15th century, but in 1552 another Finlay, the 6th Chief, fell into financial difficulties and mortgaged most of the Clan lands to the Campbell of Glenorchy. The Clan, however, refused to acknowledge the superiority of the Campbells

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 McNabb include MacNab, MacNabb, MacKnab, Mac an Aba (Gaelic) and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNabb research. Another 612 words (44 lines of text) covering the years 1612, 1651, 1660, 1745, 1770, 1780, 1798, 1816, 1820, 1854, 1856, 1860, and 1862 are included under the topic Early McNabb History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the McNabb family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 155 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The McNabb were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

McNabb Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Thomas McNabb, who arrived in Maryland in 1716
  • Tibby McNabb, aged 20, landed in North Carolina in 1775
  • John McNabb, aged 24, landed in North Carolina in 1775
  • Tebby McNabb, aged 20, landed in North Carolina in 1775

McNabb Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Edward McNabb, who landed in Mississippi in 1829
  • Jane McNabb, aged 35, arrived in New York, NY in 1855
  • Charles McNabb, aged 17, arrived in New York, NY in 1855
  • Sarah McNabb, aged 28, arrived in New York, NY in 1855
  • William McNabb, aged 25, arrived in New York, NY in 1855


McNabb Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Dr. James McNabb U.E., (McNab) born in Virginia, USA who died in Machiche, Quebec c. 1780 he was part of McAlpines Corps, he had 4 children
  • Mr. John McNabb U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1784
  • Mr. John McNabb U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784
  • Mr. James McNabb U.E. who settled in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784

McNabb Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Owen McNabb, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "William" in 1834
  • Unity McNabb, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "William" in 1834
  • John McNabb, aged 6, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "William" in 1834
  • Susan McNabb, aged 4, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "William" in 1834

McNabb Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Robert McNabb, aged 34, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • Ann McNabb, aged 31, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • Edward McNabb, aged 14, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • Ann McNabb, aged 12, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843
  • Grace McNabb, aged 9, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Indus" in 1843


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  • Juan Conway McNabb (1925-2016), American bishop in the Catholic Church, 1st Bishop of the Diocese of Chulucanas in the Piura Region of Peru from 1988-2000
  • Sean McNabb (b. 1965), American actor, musician/bassist and singer, best known for his work with the 80s metal band Quiet Riot
  • Duncan J. McNabb (b. 1952), retired United States Air Force general, 9th Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (2008-2011), 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
  • Chester D. "Chet" McNabb (1920-1990), American professional basketball player who played for the Baltimore Bullets in two games during the 1947-48 season
  • Edgar J. McNabb (1865-1894), American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in the 1893 season
  • Carl Mack "Skinny" McNabb (1917-2007), American Major League Baseball player who played one season for the Detroit Tigers in 1945
  • General Duncan J. McNabb, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command
  • George B. McNabb Jr., American Democrat politician, Member of Alaska Territorial House of Representatives 4th District, 1955-58; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Alaska Territory, 1956
  • Gardner McNabb, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 1956
  • James McNabb, American Democrat politician, Member of Illinois Democratic State Central Committee, 1925

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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: Timor omnis abesto
Motto Translation: Let fear be far from all.

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  1. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  6. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  11. ...

The McNabb Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McNabb 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 17 March 2016 at 15:02.

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