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

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish


The Dalriadan clans of ancient Scotland spawned the ancestors of the Arthur family. Their name comes from the Celtic personal name Arthur, which is of various and often disputed etymology. The personal name Arthur may be derived from some early cognate of the Gaelic "art" and the Welsh "arth" which means "bear" and may indicate early Celtic worship of that animal or one who has a high regard for that animal's virtuous qualities.

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The surname Arthur was first found in the county of Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, in south eastern Scotland where they have held a family seat from ancient times. The Arthur family traced their descent from King Aedan Mac Gabrain, King of Dalriada, whose mother was a British Princess, and named his eldest son Arthur, and he was believed to be the first Gael to bear the name. The family name was recorded in the late 6th and early 7th century.

The medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English created many spelling variations of the same name. Arthur has been recorded as Archibure, Arthuwire, Artheor, Arthurs, Arture, Harthawr, Artair, Artuir and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Arthur research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Arthur History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Arthur family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 157 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Arthur, or a variant listed above:

Arthur Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Joseph Arthur who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Mathew Arthur, aged 18, landed in St Christopher in 1633
  • Georg Arthur, who landed in Virginia in 1637
  • Hugh Arthur, who arrived in Virginia in 1649
  • Eliz Arthur, who landed in Virginia in 1651


Arthur Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Robert Arthur, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1704
  • Dominick Arthur, who landed in South Carolina in 1708
  • Christr Arthur, who landed in South Carolina in 1724
  • Hannah Arthur, who arrived in America in 1760
  • Helen Arthur, aged 22, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775


Arthur Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Samuel Arthur, who arrived in America in 1803
  • Robt Arthur, who landed in America in 1805
  • James Arthur, who landed in America in 1807
  • Alexander Arthur arrived in Philadelphia in 1808
  • Wm Arthur, who landed in New York, NY in 1817


Arthur Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Mrs Mary Arthur, U.E., "Aurthur", United Empire Loyalist, who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783c. 1783 was passenger number 476 on board the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on Novemer 14, 1783 at East River, New York
  • Miss Mames Arthur, U.E., "Aurthur", United Empire Loyalist, (b. 1772), aged 11, who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783c. 1783 was passenger number 580 on board the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York mother Mary Arthur "Aurthur"
  • Miss Eliz'th Arthur, U.E., "Aurthur", United Empire Loyalist, (b. 1770), aged 13, who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783c. 1783 was passenger number 542 on board the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York mother Mary Arthur "Aurthur"
  • Master Sam'l Arthur, U.E., "Aurthur", United Empire Loyalist, (b. 1781), aged 2, who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783c. 1783 was passenger number 36 on board the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York mother Mary Arthur "Aurthur"

Arthur Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Arthur, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Amphitrite" on August 21, 1833, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • David Arthur arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenswilly" in 1839
  • James Arthur arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840
  • John Arthur arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840


Arthur Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • David Arthur landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
  • John Charles Arthur, aged 24, a farmer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lauderdale" in 1874
  • Frederick Arthur, aged 25, a gardener, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "India" in 1875
  • James Arthur, aged 22, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1878

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  • William T. Arthur, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1920
  • William Henry Arthur (b. 1868), American Democrat politician, Candidate for Circuit Judge in Illinois, 1909
  • William C. Arthur, American Republican politician, Mayor of Meadville, Pennsylvania, 1962
  • William Evans Arthur (1825-1897), American Democrat politician, Presidential Elector for Kentucky, 1860; Circuit Judge in Kentucky, 1866-68, 1886-93; U.S. Representative from Kentucky 6th District, 1871-75
  • William Arthur, American politician, Member of North Carolina State Senate 11th District, 1887-88
  • Thomas A. Arthur, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Montana, 1916, 1924
  • Thomas Arthur (1860-1912), American Republican politician, District Judge in Iowa 15th District, 1912-20; Justice of Iowa State Supreme Court, 1920-25
  • Robert W. Arthur, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Justice of New York Supreme Court 5th District, 1963
  • L. A. Arthur, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1920
  • Richard Arthur, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Alabama, 1964

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  • Genealogy and History of the Descendants and Ancestory of Richard Henry Arthur and Susanna Coad by Fred E. Sawyer.
  • The William Arthur Family by Robert L. Arthur.
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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: Impelle obstantia
Motto Translation: Thrust aside obstacles.

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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  2. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  5. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  9. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Arthur Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Arthur 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 1 December 2015 at 17:19.

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