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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
  • Kurt Alder (1902-1958), German organic chemist and co-winner of the 1950 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Alan Alder (b. 1937), Australian ballet dancer
  • Christian Alder (b. 1978), German footballer
  • John C. Alder (b. 1944), English musician known as Twink
  • Joshua Alder (1792-1867), British zoologist and malacologist
  • Mr. Frank Alder (d. 1941), British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking


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.



  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  5. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  6. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  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 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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