The ancient and distinguished surname Algar is of two distinct origins. It is believed that the name was originally derived from the Old English word "ealdgar," meaning "noble spear." Alternatively, in some instances, the name signifies "of Altcar," a village near Ormskirk in Lancashire
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
Early Origins of the Algar family
The surname Algar was first found in Norfolk
, where William Alker was listed in the Pipe Rolls
of 1212. In this instance, the name is probably derived from the Old English "ealdgar," making it likely that this branch of the family is of Anglo-Saxon
descent. William de Altekar was recorded in the "Calendar of Letter Books" of London in 1341; the preposition "de," as well as the spelling of the name, indicates that this branch of the family hailed from Altcar in Lancashire
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
It is likely that the family estate of this branch was still located in Altcar (Great Altcar), Lancashire
at this time. "This place seems to be the Acrer of the Domesday Survey
, at which period it was held by Uctred; it was afterwards held by the abbots of Merivale, and continued with them till the Dissolution. The parish takes its name from the river Alt, and the word car, meaning low land. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
So as far as the origin of the place name is concerned there is some doubt, but there is no doubt that many of the family originated in West Lancashire.
Early History of the Algar family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Algar research.Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1549 and 1866 are included under the topic Early Algar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Algar Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon
surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. Changes in Anglo-Saxon
names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Algar include Alker, Alkar, Altcar, Alkire, Alger, Algar, Allgar, Allger, Allker and many more.
Early Notables of the Algar family (pre 1700)
Another 20 words (1 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Algar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Algar family to the New World and Oceana
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Algar or a variant listed above: Andrew Alger and Thomas Allgar, who both settled in New England
in 1632; Arthur Algar, who came to Virginia in 1731; James Alger, who arrived in Rhode Island in 1768.
Contemporary Notables of the name Algar (post 1700)
- Hamid Algar (b. 1940), British-American Professor Emeritus of Persian studies
- James Algar (1912-1998), American film director, screenwriter, and producer
- Michael Algar (b. 1962), English guitarist and singer/songwriter