Show ContentsCoalter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The story of the Coalter family is rich with Scottish history. It begins in the ancient kingdom of Dalriada where Coalter evolved as a name for some who lived in or near Coulter in Lanarkshire or Aberdeenshire, in Scotland. The surname Coalter is derived from the Gaelic phrase, cúl tir, which means, black land. Coalter 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 Coalter family

The surname Coalter 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.

Some of the first records include: Richard of Culter, sheriff of Lanark, appears in record in 1226; and Alexander de Cultre witnessed a grant by Maldoueny, earl of Lennox to Stephen de Blantyr, c. 1248. "Andrew de Cultyr who held land in Aberdeen in 1281 doubtless derived his name from the lands of Coulter in Aberdeenshire." [1]

Early History of the Coalter family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Coalter research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1226, 1281, 1686, 1810 and are included under the topic Early Coalter History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Coalter Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name Coalter include many spelling variations. They include They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. Coulter, Colter, Coalter, Coultere, Coultar, Coultur, Coltar, Coltur, Coltir, Coltire and many more.

Early Notables of the Coalter family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Coalter family to Ireland

Some of the Coalter 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 Coalter migration to the United States +

Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Coalters to arrive on North American shores:

Coalter Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mary Coalter, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Coalter (post 1700) +

  • John D. Coalter, American politician, Delegate to Missouri State Constitutional Convention 1st District, 1845-46 [3]
  • Carl C. Coalter, American Republican politician, Member of West Virginia State Senate 7th District, 1913-24 [4]
  • John Coalter (1771-1838), Virginia lawyer
  • John Coalter Bates (1842-1919), American General, who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from January to April 1906

  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  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. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2017, April 12) John Coalter. Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2017, April 12) Carl Coalter. Retrieved from on Facebook