Show ContentsCallister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The many centuries old Dalriadan-Scottish name Callister comes from the given name Alexander, which in turn was originally derived from the Greek name, which means defender of men. In the late 11th century, Queen Margaret introduced the name, which she had heard in the Hungarian Court where she was raised, into Scotland by naming one of her sons Alexander. The popularity of the name Alexander was ensured by the fact that it was born by three Scottish kings, the first being Margaret's son who succeeded to the throne of Scotland following the death of Malcolm III.

Early Origins of the Callister family

The surname Callister was first found in Kintyre, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

"As a surname Alexander is very common on the west coast, where, according to the authors of Clan Donald, some of the descendants of Godfrey, second son of Alastair Mor, appear to have settled in the Carrick district of Ayrshire. " [1]

The Clan MacAllistair, Alisdair being the Gaelic for Alexander, are descended from the great King Somerled. Somerled had five sons, by his marriage to Ragnhildis, daughter of the Norwegian King of the Isles, Olaf Morsel. In the MacAllister line, Ranald had two sons, Ruari and Donald, and Donald had two sons, Angus and Alisdair. Alisdair living about 1230 to 1295 claimed the territory in South Knapdale, Kintyre, the ancient Clan seat was at Ard Phadraid (Patrick's Point) on the south side of Loch Tarbot. Alisdair (known as Alisdair Mor (the big)) is the recognized founder of the Clan. On his death, his estates were given to his brother and heir who was one of Bruce's supporters, Angus Mor.

Early History of the Callister family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Callister research. Another 462 words (33 lines of text) covering the years 1230, 1295, 1475, 1602, 1200, 1605, 1615, 1765, 1846, 1431, 1570, 1640, 1614, 1588, 1655, 1640, 1643, 1619, 1681, 1665, 1681, 1620, 1665, 1660, 1665, 1653, 1686, 1743, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Callister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Callister Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Callister has been spelled Alexander, Alistair, MacAlexander, Alisandre, Alischoner, Alsinder, Alastair, MacAlexter, Callestar, Aleckander, Alexandri, Alisdair, Alaisder, Alestare, Alistare and many more.

Early Notables of the Callister family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Sir William Alexander (circa 1570-1640), 1st Earl of Stirling, Scottish government official, knighted in 1614, appointed Governor of the barony of Nova Scotia; William Allestry (Allestrie) (1588-1655), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons of England (1640-1643)...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Callister Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Callister family to Ireland

Some of the Callister family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 153 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Callister migration to the United States +

Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Callister family emigrate to North America:

Callister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Callister, who arrived in Schuyler County, III in 1867 [2]
  • R. Callister, aged 29, who arrived in America from Liverpool, England, in 1894
  • Evan D. Callister, aged 20, who arrived in America from Liverpool, England, in 1897
Callister Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Stanley Thomas Callister, aged 22, who arrived in America from Isle of Man, in 1902
  • Thomas Callister, aged 39, who arrived in America from Douglas, Isle of Man, in 1905
  • Joseph Callister, aged 43, who arrived in America, in 1905
  • William Henry Callister, aged 18, who arrived in America from Peel, Isle of Man, in 1907
  • William Callister, aged 23, who arrived in America from Port Erin, Isle of Man, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Callister (post 1700) +

  • T. Brian Callister, American National Medical Director at The LifeCare Family of Hospitals
  • Tad Richards Callister (1945-2014), American general president of the Sunday School of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2014-)
  • Charles Warren Callister (1917-2008), American architect known for his single-family homes and large community developments
  • Marion Jones Callister (1921-1997), United States federal judge
  • William Callister MHK (1808-1872), Manx timber importer in Ramsey, Isle of Man, Member of the House of Keys
  • Kent Callister (1995-2014), Australian snowboarder at the 2014 Winter Olympics, grandson of Cyril Callister
  • Cyril Percy Callister (1893-1949), Australian chemist and food technologist who developed the Vegemite yeast spread
  • David Callister MHK (b. 1935), Manx broadcaster, Member of the Legislative Council of the Isle of Man (2008-)
  • Thomas Callister Hales (b. 1958), American mathematician working on the Langlands program

The Callister 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 mare, per terras
Motto Translation: By sea, by land.

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. 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) on Facebook