Alter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Alter is a name that dates back to the kingdom of Dalriada in ancient Scotland. It was given to someone who lived in or near Coulter in Lanarkshire or Aberdeenshire, in Scotland. The surname Alter is derived from the Gaelic phrase, cúl tir, which means, black land. Alter is therefore a local surname, of which there are many types. For instance, topographic surnames could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. In this case, the surname is both topographical, in that it comes from the phrase, black land, and local in the general sense, since it comes from the place-name, Coulter.

Early Origins of the Alter family

The surname Alter was first found in 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 held a family seat from very early times.

Early History of the Alter family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alter research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1226 and 1281 are included under the topic Early Alter History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alter Spelling Variations

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents Alter has been spelled Coulter, Colter, Coalter, Coultere, Coultar, Coultur, Coltar, Coltur, Coltir, Coltire and many more.

Early Notables of the Alter family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Alter family to Ireland

Some of the Alter family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Alter migration to the United States +

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 Alter or a variant listed above:

Alter Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Alter, who arrived in Virginia in 1642 [1]
Alter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johan Christian Alter, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1751 [1]
  • David Alter, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1752 [1]
  • Joh Peter Alter, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1752 [1]
  • Johan Jacob Alter, aged 30, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1753 [1]
  • Geo Friedrich Alter, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1753 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Alter Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Juan Alter, aged 19, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1830 [1]
  • Henry Alter, aged 36, who arrived in Missouri in 1848 [1]
  • Christoph Alter, aged 40, who arrived in New York, NY in 1849 [1]
  • Adam Alter, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Alter (post 1700) +

  • David Alter (1807-1881), American physicist
  • Jack Alter (1927-2007), American Democrat politician, Mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, 1992-2007 [2]
  • George Elias Alter (1868-1940), American Republican politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Allegheny County 13th District, 1909-14 [2]
  • Franklin Alter Jr., American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Ohio State House of Representatives from Hamilton County, 1938 [2]
  • Elizabeth J. Alter, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 2008 [2]
  • Edward T. Alter (b. 1941), American Republican politician, Utah State Treasurer; Elected 2000; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Utah, 2004 [2]
  • David Alter, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 23rd District, 1992 [2]
  • Charles O. Alter, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1908 [2]
  • Catherine Alter, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Carolina, 2008 [2]
  • C. E. Alter, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Nebraska, 1936; Chair of Harlan County Republican Party, 1940 [2]
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook
Shipping
Fastest Delivery Possible

Digital Products on Checkout, all other products filled in 1 business day

Money Back
Money Back Guarantee

Yes, all products 100% Guaranteed

Support
BBB A+ Rating

The Best Rating possible

Payment
Secure Online Payment

Entire site uses SSL / Secure Certificate