Show ContentsCarstairs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Carstairs family

The surname Carstairs 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.

Carstairs is a parish in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark that includes the village of Ravenstruther. "The name is most probably derived from the word Car, or Caer, signifying "a fort," and stair, or stairs, "a possession;" descriptive of an estate or possession in a fortified place." [1]

Early History of the Carstairs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Carstairs research. Another 204 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1170, 1259, 1450, 1536, 1649, 1715, 1703, 1716 and 1649 are included under the topic Early Carstairs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Carstairs Spelling Variations

Scribes in Medieval Scotland spelled names by sound rather than any set of rules, so an enormous number of spelling variations exist in names of that era. Carstairs has been spelled Carstair, Carstairs, Kerstairs, Kerstair, Carstare, Carstares, Cairstare, Cairstares, Carrstairs, Carrstare, Carrstarr, Carstarr, Carstarrs, Carrstarrs, Kerrstarr and many more.

Early Notables of the Carstairs family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was William Carstares (Carstaires) (1649-1715), Scottish minister of the Church of Scotland, Principal of Edinburgh University (1703-1716.) "He was the eldest of nine children of John Carstares, minister of Cathcart, near Glasgow, where William was born on 11 Feb. 1649, and Janet Mure of Glanderston, a branch of the Mures of Caldwell. His father, who had been at the battle of Dunbar, where he was taken prisoner by Cromwell, was exchanged...
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Carstairs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Carstairs migration to the United States +

The number of Strathclyde Clan families sailing for North America increased steadily as the persecution continued. In the colonies, they could find not only freedom from the iron hand of the English government, but land to settle on. The American War of Independence allowed many of these settlers to prove their independence, while some chose to go to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots played essential roles in the forging of both great nations. Among them:

Carstairs Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Carstairs, who settled in Virginia in 1700
  • Thomas Carstairs, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1784 [2]

Australia Carstairs migration to Australia +

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

Carstairs Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Carstairs, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for life, transported aboard the "Chapman" on 12th April 1826, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • James Carstairs, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Forfarshire" in 1848 [4]

New Zealand Carstairs 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:

Carstairs Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Carstairs, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Vienna" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 30th September 1861 [5]
  • Mr. John Carstairs, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Vienna" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 30th September 1861 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Carstairs (post 1700) +

  • Carroll Chevalier Carstairs MC (1888-1948), American art dealer and author who served in the Grenadier Guards of the British Army during World War I
  • Alan MacMillan Carstairs (b. 1939), Australian politician, Member of the Western Australian Legislative Council from 1996 to 1997
  • Marion Barbara "Joe" Carstairs (1900-1993), British power boat racer and heiress
  • Sharon Carstairs PC (b. 1942), Canadian politician, Canadian Senator (1994-2011), Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party (1984-1993)
  • John Paddy Carstairs (1914-1970), born John Keys, British novelist and film director who directed over 40 films
  • Professor George Morrison Carstairs, Psychiatrist, Chancellor of York University
  • Charles Young Carstairs, Government Advisor
  • Major General Sir John Carstairs McNeill (1831-1904), Scottish military officer, recipient of the Victoria Cross

The Carstairs 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: Te splendente
Motto Translation: Whilst thou art shining.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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)
  3. Convict Records of Australia. Retreived 28th January 2021 from
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FORFARSHIRE 1848. Retrieved from
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from on Facebook