Ater History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Ater family comes from the ancient Scottish Dalriadan clans of the mountainous west coast of Scotland. The name Ater is derived from the Gaelic form Mac-an-Tsaoir, which denotes son of the carpenter or wright.

Early Origins of the Ater family

The surname Ater was first found in on the Isle of Iona, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Ater family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ater research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1372, 1564 and 1564 are included under the topic Early Ater History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ater Spelling Variations

Translation in medieval times was an undeveloped science and was often carried out without due care. For this reason, many early Scottish names appeared radically altered when written in English. The spelling variations of Ater include MacAteer, MacTear, MacTeir, MacTire, MacAtee, MacAtter, MacAttur and many more.

Early Notables of the Ater family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Ater family to Ireland

Some of the Ater family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Ater migration to the United States +

The hardy Scots who made the crossing settled all along the east coast of North America and in the great west that was just then opening up. At the time of the American War of Independence, many United Empire Loyalists moved north from the American colonies to Canada. Scottish national heritage became better known in North America in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic events. An examination of immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Ater arrived in North America very early:

Ater Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Ater, who arrived in Virginia in 1765 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Ater (post 1700) +

  • Alan Ray "Al" Ater (1953-2017), American farmer, businessman and politician, Acting Louisiana Secretary of State (2005-2006)


The Ater 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: Per ardua
Motto Translation: Through difficulties.


  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)


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