Adair History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

One of the most common classes of Scottish surnames is the patronymic surname, which arose out of the vernacular and religious naming traditions. The vernacular or regional naming tradition is the oldest and most pervasive type of patronymic surname. According to this custom, names were originally composed of vocabulary elements from the local language. Patronymic surnames of this type were usually derived from the personal name of the original bearer's father. The surname Adair is derived from the given name Edgar, which means prosperity.

Early Origins of the Adair family

The surname Adair was first found in Galloway (Gaelic: Gall-ghaidhealaibh), an area of southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, that formerly consisted of the counties of Wigtown (West Galloway) and Kirkcudbright (East Galloway). Tradition has it that the foundation of the family of Adair of Dunskey and Kinhilt originated from a fugitive son of Fitzgerald, Earl Desmond of Adair in Ireland. Desmond was descended from Otto Geraldino, a Norman noble who accompanied William, Duke of Normandy into England in 1066. He also accompanied Strongbow into Ireland in 1172, and became Earl of Desmond. He settled in Kirkcudbright and Wigtown.

Early History of the Adair family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Adair research. Another 24 words (2 lines of text) covering the years 1655, 1722, 1688, 1614, 1625, 1694, 1641, 1622, 1630, 1630, 1640, 1641, 1647 and are included under the topic Early Adair History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Adair Spelling Variations

Scottish surnames are distinguished by a multitude of spelling variations because, over the centuries, the names were frequently translated into and from Gaelic. Furthermore, the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent because medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. The different versions of a surname, such as the inclusion of the patronymic prefix "Mac", frequently indicated a religious or Clan affiliation or even a division of the family. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into Scotland, accelerating accentuating the alterations to various surnames. The name Adair has also been spelled Adair, Odeir, Edzear, Edgar, Adare and others.

Early Notables of the Adair family (pre 1700)

Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Adair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Adair Ranking

In the United States, the name Adair is the 1,843rd most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the Adair family to Ireland

Some of the Adair family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 159 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Adair migration to the United States +

Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Adair, or a variant listed above:

Adair Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Adair, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1730 [2]
  • William Adair, who arrived in New York in 1739 [2]
  • William Adair, who landed in New York, NY in 1740 [2]
  • William Adair, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [2]
  • William Adair, who landed in America in 1754 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Adair Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Adair, who arrived in South Carolina in 1807 [2]
  • Edward Adair, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1807 [2]
  • William Adair, aged 35, who landed in New York in 1812 [2]
  • John Adair, who arrived in South Carolina in 1814 [2]
  • William Adair, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Adair Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Henderson Adair, who arrived in Arkansas in 1902 [2]

Canada Adair migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Adair Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Adair Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Adair, aged 40, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • Mr. Thomas Adair, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Corea" departing 2nd July 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 14th August 1847 but he died on board [4]

Australia Adair migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Adair Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Adair, (b. 1796), aged 23, Irish weaver who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Castle Forbes" on 3rd October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [5]

New Zealand Adair migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Adair Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Hamilton Adair, (b. 1840), aged 18, British labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indiana" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1858 [6]
  • Henry Adair, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Winterthur" in 1866
  • Walter Adair, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Clarence" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Adair (post 1700) +

  • Bobbe Gorin "Beegie" Adair (1937-2022), née Long, an American jazz pianist and session musician who worked at WSM-TV and on The Johnny Cash Show (1969–71), where she accompanied such legendary performers as Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton, Lucille Ball, Steve Allen, Dinah Shore, Mama Cass Elliot, and Peggy Lee, she formed the Beegie Adair Trio, which has sold over 1.5 million albums
  • Doug Adair (1929-2019), American television news anchor and journalist from Xenia, Ohio
  • Douglass Greybill Adair (1912-1968), American historian who specialized in intellectual history
  • William Adair, American politician, Delegate to Ohio State Constitutional Convention from Carroll County, 1873 [7]
  • William Adair (1815-1895), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Michigan State Senate 1st District, 1861-66, 1869-70, 1875-78 [7]
  • William Adair, American politician, Member of University of Nebraska Board of Regents, 1873-82 [7]
  • Warren R. Adair, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Sandy, Utah, 1985, 1989 (primary) [7]
  • R. H. Adair, American politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Wood County, 1895-96 [7]
  • Larry Adair, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma, 2004 [7]
  • John S. Adair, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 1908 [7]
  • ... (Another 31 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Adair Motto +

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: Loyal au mort
Motto Translation: Faithful unto death.

Suggested Readings for the name Adair +

  • The Descendants of James Adair by Miriam Dabbs Adair.

  1. ^
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 64)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, August 16) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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