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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

An ancient Scottish tribe called the Boernicians were the ancestors of the first people to use the surname Alder. It is a name for a person who was the elder of two people, bearing the same name. Alder is a nickname surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. Members of the Alder family were originally found in Edinburghshire, where they had been settled prior to the Norman Conquest of England, in 1066.


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. Alder has been spelled Elder, Elders, Eldar, MacNoravaich and others.

First found in Edinburghshire, a former county, now part of the Midlothian council area where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alder research. Another 147 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 189 and are included under the topic Early Alder History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Alder family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 123 words (9 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 Alder or a variant listed above:

Alder Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Alder, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624
  • Henry Alder, who landed in Maryland in 1653
  • James Alder, who arrived in Maryland in 1657
  • William Alder, who landed in Maryland in 1663
  • Mary Alder, who arrived in Maryland in 1671

Alder Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Johannes Alder, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749
  • Fred Alder, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765

Alder Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • P Alder, aged 45, landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1847
  • A Alder, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

Alder Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Alder arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1846

Alder Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Alder landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1840
  • Samuel Alder, aged 23, a carpenter, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Cecilia Alder, aged 23, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • George Alder arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Adelaide" in 1858
  • John Alder, aged 33, a brickmaker, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1874


  • Ray Alder (b. 1967), American singer with band Fates Warning
  • Lewis K. Alder, American politician, Delegate to Nebraska State Constitutional Convention, 1919-20
  • George D. Alder, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Utah, 1924
  • Francis J. Alder (b. 1912), American Republican politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Oneida County 1st District, 1951-56
  • Clay Alder, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio, 1912
  • Albert Franklin Alder (1896-1977), American Republican politician, Loup County Judge, 1929-34; Loup County Attorney; Chair of Loup County Republican Party, 1940
  • Mr. Frank Alder (d. 1941), British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
  • Joshua Alder (1792-1867), British zoologist and malacologist
  • John C. Alder (b. 1944), English musician known as Twink
  • Christian Alder (b. 1978), German footballer



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: Virtute duce
Motto Translation: With virtue for guide.


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  1. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  10. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  11. ...

The Alder Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Alder 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 26 October 2015 at 10:29.

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