Show ContentsAlger History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient and distinguished surname Alger 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. [1]

Early Origins of the Alger family

The surname Alger 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. [2] 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. " [3] 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 Alger family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alger research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1549 and 1866 are included under the topic Early Alger History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alger Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Alger are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Alger include: Alker, Alkar, Altcar, Alkire, Alger, Algar, Allgar, Allger, Allker and many more.

Early Notables of the Alger family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Alger Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alger Ranking

In the United States, the name Alger is the 4,235th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [4]

United States Alger migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Alger or a variant listed above:

Alger Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Andrew, Arthur and Tristram Alger, who settled in Maine in 1635
  • Andrew Alger, who landed in New England in 1651 [5]
  • Thomas Alger, who landed in Massachusetts in 1665 [5]
Alger Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hans Michel Alger, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1751 [5]
  • James Alger, who landed in Rhode Island in 1768 [5]
Alger Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Alger, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County,Pennsylvania in 1855 [5]
  • Sarah Alger, aged 33, who arrived in New York in 1862 [5]
  • Jane Alger, aged 20, who arrived in New York in 1868 [5]
  • Abbe Alger, aged 3, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Edgar Alger, aged 36, who immigrated to the United States, in 1893
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Alger Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Ette Alger, aged 65, who immigrated to the United States, in 1903
  • Annette Alger, who settled in America, in 1904
  • Fay Alger, aged 6, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • Ellen Alger, aged 28, who landed in America from Notting Hill, London, England, in 1910
  • Catalina McLoughtin Alger, aged 40, who landed in America from London, England, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Alger migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Alger Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Alger Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Charles Alger, who arrived in Canada in 1830

Australia Alger migration to Australia +

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

Alger Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Alger, aged 18, a blacksmith, who arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "James Jardine"

Contemporary Notables of the name Alger (post 1700) +

  • Seneca Alger (1816-1862), American businessman, partner of the wholesale grocery firm Alger & Brother, NYC
  • Russell A. Alger (1836-1907), U.S. Senator from and Governor of Michigan and U.S. Secretary of War
  • Pat Alger (b. 1947), American country music songwriter, singer and guitarist
  • Horatio Alger Jr. (1832-1899), prolific 19th-century American author
  • Bruce Reynolds Alger (b. 1918), American politician and a former Republican U.S. representative from Texas
  • Fanny Alger (1816-1889), alleged to have been the first plural wife of Joseph Smith, Jr
  • James Alger Fee (1888-1959), American jurist from Oregon
  • Alger Hiss (1904-1996), American government official who was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948
  • Alger Joseph "Radar" Arbour (1932-2015), Canadian National Hockey League player, coach, and executive, second only to Scotty Bowman for the most wins and games coached in league history, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996
  • Alger E. Carlton, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Almeria, 1904 [7]

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Eric Alger (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Eccles, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [8]

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. 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
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from
  8. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook