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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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

Alison comes from the ancient Dalriadan clans of Scotland's west coast and Hebrides islands. The name comes from the name for the son of "Ellis" or Ellis' son. Conversely, the surname could be is derived from "Alice" as in "the son of Alice." It is likely though that the name was derived from "Ellis" rather than the female personal name. [1]


The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years Alison has appeared as Allison, Alison, Alinson, Allinson, McAllister, MacAllister, Ellison and many more.

First found in the county of Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, where they acquired some time before 1300 the territories of their family seat at Loupe. They were descended from Angus Mor MacDonnell, Lord of the Isles, their Gaelic name was MacAllister, and it is difficult through history to distinguish one name from the other.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alison research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1296 and 1314 are included under the topic Early Alison History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Alison family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Alison or a variant listed above:

Alison Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Cohn Alison, who landed in New Jersey in 1685

Alison Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Francis Alison, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1735
  • Robert Alison, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1747
  • Georg Alison, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1770

Alison Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Mrs. Alison, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

Alison Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • John Alison, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Susan Alison, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Charlotte Alison, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Gabriel Alison, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1757

Alison Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • A Alison landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Alison arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cairngorm" in 1863
  • W. C. Alison arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "St. Leonards" in 1875


  • Major General John Richardson "Johnny" Alison (1912-2011), American combat ace of World War II
  • Jane Alison, Australian-born, American author and editor
  • William Pulteney Alison FRSE FRCPE FSA (1790-1859), Scottish physician, social reformer and philanthropist, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1836 to 1838)
  • Sir Archibald Alison GCB FRSE (1792-1867), 1st Baronet, Scottish advocate and historian
  • Archibald Alison FRS FRSE (1757-1839), Scottish episcopalian priest and essayist
  • Mitch Alison (b. 1974), South African-born, Australian integrated writer, creative director and strategist
  • Michael James Hugh Alison (1926-2004), British Conservative Party politician
  • Ewen William Alison (1852-1945), Independent Conservative Member of Parliament in New Zealand
  • Dorothy Alison (1925-1992), Australian two-time BAFTA nominated stage, film and television actress
  • Charles Hugh "Charlie" Alison, English first-class cricketer in the 1900s



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: Truth prevails
Motto Translation: Truth prevails


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  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)

Other References

  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  2. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  3. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  11. ...

The Alison Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Alison 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 31 August 2015 at 13:59.

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