Alexander History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

On the western coast of Scotland and on the Hebrides islands the Alexander family was born among the ancient Dalriadan clans. Their name comes from the given name Alexander, which in turn was originally derived from the Greek name, which means defender of men. In the late 11th century, Queen Margaret introduced the name, which she had heard in the Hungarian Court where she was raised, into Scotland by naming one of her sons Alexander. The popularity of the name Alexander was ensured by the fact that it was born by three Scottish kings, the first being Margaret's son who succeeded to the throne of Scotland following the death of Malcolm III.

Early Origins of the Alexander family

The surname Alexander was first found in Kintyre, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

"As a surname Alexander is very common on the west coast, where, according to the authors of Clan Donald, some of the descendants of Godfrey, second son of Alastair Mor, appear to have settled in the Carrick district of Ayrshire. " [1]

The Clan MacAllistair, Alisdair being the Gaelic for Alexander, are descended from the great King Somerled. Somerled had five sons, by his marriage to Ragnhildis, daughter of the Norwegian King of the Isles, Olaf Morsel. In the MacAllister line, Ranald had two sons, Ruari and Donald, and Donald had two sons, Angus and Alisdair. Alisdair living about 1230 to 1295 claimed the territory in South Knapdale, Kintyre, the ancient Clan seat was at Ard Phadraid (Patrick's Point) on the south side of Loch Tarbot. Alisdair (known as Alisdair Mor (the big)) is the recognized founder of the Clan. On his death, his estates were given to his brother and heir who was one of Bruce's supporters, Angus Mor.

Early History of the Alexander family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alexander research. Another 462 words (33 lines of text) covering the years 1230, 1295, 1475, 1602, 1200, 1605, 1615, 1765, 1846, 1431, 1570, 1640, 1614, 1588, 1655, 1640, 1643, 1619, 1681, 1665, 1681, 1620, 1665, 1660, 1665, 1653, 1686, 1743, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Alexander History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alexander Spelling Variations

In various documents Alexander has been spelled Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations. Alexander, Alistair, MacAlexander, Alisandre, Alischoner, Alsinder, Alastair, MacAlexter, Callestar, Aleckander, Alexandri, Alisdair, Alaisder, Alestare, Alistare and many more.

Early Notables of the Alexander family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Sir William Alexander (circa 1570-1640), 1st Earl of Stirling, Scottish government official, knighted in 1614, appointed Governor of the barony of Nova Scotia; William Allestry (Allestrie) (1588-1655), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons of England (1640-1643)...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Alexander Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alexander World Ranking

In the United States, the name Alexander is the 96th most popular surname with an estimated 211,395 people with that name. [2] However, in Canada, the name Alexander is ranked the 253rd most popular surname with an estimated 16,198 people with that name. [3] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Alexander is the 346th popular surname with an estimated 135 people with that name. [4] Australia ranks Alexander as 179th with 17,828 people. [5] New Zealand ranks Alexander as 140th with 3,470 people. [6] The United Kingdom ranks Alexander as 234th with 24,988 people. [7] South Africa ranks Alexander as 344th with 19,919 people. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Alexander family to Ireland

Some of the Alexander family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 153 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 Alexander migration to the United States +

Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Alexander or a variant listed above:

Alexander Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Alexander, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Mr. Alexander, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [9]
  • Patrick Alexander, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [9]
  • John Alexander Sr., who landed in Massachusetts in 1640 [9]
  • Mr. Alexander, who landed in Virginia in 1640 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Alexander Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Alexander, who landed in Carolina in 1700 [9]
  • Jos Alexander, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [9]
  • John Alexander, who landed in Virginia in 1705 [9]
  • John Alexander, who arrived in Carolina in 1707 [9]
  • James Alexander, who landed in Maryland in 1714 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Alexander Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Alexander, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1800 [9]
  • Andrew Alexander, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1800 [9]
  • William Alexander, who arrived in America in 1802 [9]
  • Sarah Alexander, aged 2, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [9]
  • William Alexander, aged 32, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Alexander migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Alexander Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Peter Alexander, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • John Alexander, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Hugh Alexander U.E., United Empire Loyalist who settled in Home District, South Central Ontario c. 1783 [10]
  • Sarah Alexander U.E., United Empire Loyalist who settled in Saint David, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 a member of Cape Ann Association [10]
Alexander Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, who colonized Nova Scotia, in Antigonish, Pictou, the Carolinas, Virginia and Upper Canada
  • John Alexander, aged 20, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Lady Campbell" in 1833
  • Joseph Alexander, aged 17, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • Samuel Alexander, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Sea Horse" in 1833
  • Margaret Alexander, aged 29, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Alexander migration to Australia +

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

Alexander Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Alexander Dew, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barwell" in September 1797, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. Alexander Loraine, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Barwell" in September 1797, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
Alexander Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Alexander, British convict who was convicted in Lancashire, England for 7 years for forgery, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1804 the settlement was listed as abandoned and most of the convicts transported to Tasmania on the "Queen" in 1804 [12]
  • Mr. Alexander Antrobus, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. Alexander Wilson, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. Alexander Grant, Scottish convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. Alexander Routlidge, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Alexander 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:

Alexander Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Alexander, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836
  • A Alexander, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway
  • James Alexander, who landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway
  • J Alexander, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway
  • Mr. J. Alexander, British settler travelling from England aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 14th November 1840 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Alexander (post 1700) +

  • Peter Alexander (1939-2020), American artist who was part of the Light and Space artistic movement in southern California
  • Brian LaWan Alexander (1975-2020), American professional basketball player who played for Salon Vilpas
  • William Alexander (1726-1783), American general who claimed to be the sixth Earl of Stirling, born at New York [15]
  • Max Alexander (d. 2016), born Michael Drelich, an American stand-up comedian and actor who appeared numerous times on The Tonight Show
  • Hubbard Lindsay "Axe" Alexander (1939-2016), American NFL football coach who won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys
  • Tyler Alexander (1941-2016), American race car engineer, co-founder of McLaren Racing Limited, a British Formula One team
  • Van Alexander (1915-2015), born Alexander Van Vliet Feldman, an American bandleader, arranger and composer who lived to be 100 years old
  • Claudia J. Alexander (1959-2015), Canadian-born, American research scientist specializing in geophysics and planetary science for the United States Geological Survey and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Gwen Wentz Cheeseman Alexander (b. 1951), American bronze medalist field hockey goalkeeper at the 1984 Summer Olympics
  • Brigadier-General George Murrell Alexander (1889-1961), American Assistant Deputy Provost Marshal General US European Theater of Operations (1943-1945) [16]
  • ... (Another 26 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Herbert D Alexander (b. 1962), American Private 1st Class from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, USA who died in the crash [17]
Flight TWA 800
  • Mr. Matthew James Alexander (1976-1996), from Florence, South Carolina, USA, American student from North Carolina flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; he died in the crash [18]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William Alexander, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [19]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Ronald Alexander, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [20]
Monongah Mine
  • Mr. Joe Alexander, Italian coal miner who was at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [21]
  • Mr. Patsy Alexander (b. 1888), Slavic coal miner who was in mine 8 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [21]
  • Mr. Tony Alexander (b. 1875), Italian coal miner who was in mine 8 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [21]
Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • Ronald Ely Alexander (1942-1988), Swiss Businessman from New York, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [22]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. William Alexander (d. 1912), aged 23, English Third Class passenger from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [23]
SS Caribou
  • Mr. L. E. Alexander (b. 1916), British passenger who was Royal Air Force from Big Tancook Island, Lunenburgh, Nova Scotia was travelling aboard the railway ferry "SS Caribou" when it was struck by a German submarine torpedo on 14th October 1942, the most significant sinking in Canadian waters at that time, he survived the sinking
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Elvis Author Alexander, American Seaman Second Class from Arkansas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [24]


The Alexander 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: Per mare, per terras
Motto Translation: By sea, by land.


Suggested Readings for the name Alexander +

  • The Alexander Family: Early Settlers of Giles County, Tennessee by Naomah Elizabeth Alexander Lance.
  • The Alexanders and Descendants by William A. York.

  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  4. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  8. ^ https://forebears.io/south-africa/surnames
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barwell
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2019
  16. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 6) George Alexander. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Alexander/George_Murrell/USA.html
  17. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  18. ^ The Washington Post Passenger List TWA Flight 800. (Retrieved 2018, February 15th). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/twa800/list01.htm
  19. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  20. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  21. ^ Monongah Mining Disaster retrieved on 8th August 2021. (Retrieved fromhttps://usminedisasters.miningquiz.com/saxsewell/monongah.htm).
  22. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html
  23. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  24. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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