Alston History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

It was in the Scottish/English Borderlands that the Strathclyde-Briton people first used the ancient name Alston. It was a name for someone who lived in Cumberland. Alternatively, the name could have been from the Old Norse, Hallstein; from the Flemish, Alsteens and appeared in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Alstan, Alestan; a personal name. [1]

In England, the name was derived from "als-ton, the hill by the sea-shore," [2] and as Alston(e) appears as at least five different parishes or townships.

Early Origins of the Alston family

The surname Alston was first found in Cumberland, where they held the manor of Aldanstone. One of the first records of the name was "Jurdan de Aldanston [who] was juror on an inquisition held at Berwick on the lands of Lady Elena de la Zuche lying in the sheriffdom of Edinburgh, 1296." [3]

In the same year, Andreu de Haldanstone of Edinburghshire rendered homage to King Edward I after his conquest of Scotland. In the same century, the name had often been shortened to Alston, and in some cases lengthened to Haldanston. The Scottish branch at Craig Head in Lanarkshire and at Westerton in Dumbartonshire also assumed the spelling of Auldston and Alstounes.

Early History of the Alston family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alston research. Another 158 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1667, 1684, 1687, 1681, 1905 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Alston History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alston Spelling Variations

Surnames that evolved in Scotland in the Middle Ages often appear under many spelling variations. These are due to the practice of spelling according to sound in the era before dictionaries had standardized the English language. Alston has appeared as Aldanston, Alston, Auldston, Alstounes, Alstone, Alstowne, Aldenston and many more.

Early Notables of the Alston family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Charles Alston (1683-160), a Scottish scientific writer, born at Eddlewood, and educated at Glasgow. "On his father's death...
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Alston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alston Ranking

In the United States, the name Alston is the 883rd most popular surname with an estimated 34,818 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Alston family to Ireland

Some of the Alston family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Alston migration to the United States +

The North American colonies beckoned, with their ample land and opportunity as their freedom from the persecution suffered by so many Clan families back home. Many Scots even fought against England in the American War of Independence to gain this freedom. Recently, clan societies have allowed the ancestors of these brave Scottish settlers to rediscover their familial roots. Among them:

Alston Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Alston, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1629 [5]
  • Rose Alston, who landed in New England in 1661 [5]
  • Grixel Alston, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685 [5]
Alston Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Alston, who landed in Carolina in 1710 [5]
  • Samuel and William Alston, who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1767
Alston Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Alston was Governor of South Carolina in the early 1800s
  • David Alston who arrived in New York City in 1806
  • Mr. Alston, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1821 [5]
  • William Alston, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834 [5]
  • John Alston, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1841 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Alston migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Alston Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Alston an immigrant from Liverpool, was married in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1858 [6]
  • Alice Alston who settled in Quebec in 1870

Australia Alston migration to Australia +

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

Alston Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Alston, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lord Goderich" in 1838 [7]
  • Agnes Charlotte Alston, who arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838 [8]
  • John Alston, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1839 [9]
  • Helen Alston, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1839 [9]
  • Jean Alston, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1839 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Alston 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:

Alston Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Alston, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avon" in 1860

West Indies Alston migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [10]
Alston Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John Alston, who settled in Barbados in 1685
Alston Settlers in West Indies in the 19th Century
  • James Alston who settled in Jamaica in 1801

Contemporary Notables of the name Alston (post 1700) +

  • Charles Henry Alston (1907-1977), American painter, sculptor, illustrator, muralist
  • Lee J. Alston (b. 1951), American Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado
  • Jon Alston (b. 1983), American film director, screenwriter, film producer and former NFL football player
  • Garvin James Alston (b. 1971), American retired Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher
  • C. Donald Alston, American contemporary Major General in the United States Air Force
  • Derrick Samuel Alston (b. 1972), American former NBA professional basketball player
  • Wendell "Dell" Alston (b. 1952), American former Major League Baseball right-handed outfielder
  • Walter Emmons Alston (1911-1984), American baseball player and manager
  • William P. Alston (1921-2009), American philosopher, professor emeritus at Syracuse University
  • Edward Richard Alston (1845-1881), Scottish zoologist, born at Stockbriggs, near Lesmahagow; "being delicate in youth, was chiefly self-educated at home" [11]
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. John Alston, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [12]

The Alston 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: Immotus
Motto Translation: Immoveable.

Suggested Readings for the name Alston +

  • The Alstons and Allstons of North Carolina and South Carolina by Joseph Asbury Groves.

  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^
  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. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LORD GODERICH 1838. Retrieved from
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The PESTONJEE BOMANJEE 1838. Retrieved from
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1839. Retrieved from
  10. ^
  11. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2019
  12. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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