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

Origins Available: English, Irish

Ireland already had an established system of hereditary surnames when the Strongbownians arrived. Often the two traditions blended together quite well due to some of their basic similarities, but the incoming Anglo-Norman system brought in some forms that were uncommon amongst the Irish. One of these Anglo-Norman anomalies was the prevalence of local surnames, such as Dalton. Local names were taken from the names of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. Originally, the place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname if the place name began with a vowel or was eliminated entirely. The local surnames of these Strongbownian invaders referred to places in Normandy, or more typically England, but eventually for those Anglo- Normans that remained in Ireland, the nicknames referred to places or geographical features of the island: they became true local names. The Dalton family appears to have originally lived in one of the various places called Alton in England. The name usually means old farmstead or farmstead at the source of a river. The surname Dalton belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. The modern form of the surname is D'Alton derived from the original Gaelic form of the surname de Dalatún.


The surname Dalton was first found in Alton, England where one source claims a Walter fled to "from France having incurred the wrath of the French king by secretly marrying his daughter."[1] Another source has a clearer version of origin, namely: "that Sir Waltero de Aliton, a Frenchman, aspiring to gain the affections of his king's daughter, so incurred the displeasure of her father, that, to avoid the fury of an incensed Monarch, Sir Walterio, with his lady, privately, retired into Ireland." This same Walterio fought so valiantly that he was made "governor of the borders of Meath" where he "acquired great estates and possessions." [2] Essentially, the origins are similar; Walter (Walterio) fled with the king's daughter to England (Ireland.) We will probably never know which rendition is true, but we do know that the surname was in Ireland as early as the 13th century, so much so that the name had a Gaelic version: Dalatún.

Medieval scribes and church officials spelt names simply the way they sounded, which explains the various name spelling variations of the name Dalton that were encountered when researching that surname. The many spelling variations included: Dalton, Alton, Daltone, D'Alton, Daulton, Daltoun, Altown, Altoun, Altowne, Altone, Daltowne, Daltoune, Dalten, Daltin, Dallton and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dalton research. Another 175 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1369, 1561, 1610, 1679, 1659, 1679, 1792 and 1867 are included under the topic Early Dalton History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dalton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Dalton:

Dalton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Philemon Dalton was a linen weaver who arrived on the ship "Increase" in the year 1635
  • Samuel Dalton, who landed in Hampton, NH in 1635
  • Samvel Dalton, aged 5, landed in New England in 1635
  • Philemon Dalton, who arrived in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1636
  • William Dalton is recorded as arriving on the "Goodfellow" in 1654, having been sent by the command of the English Government, after the Cromwellian Invasions of Ireland

Dalton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thos Dalton, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • James Dalton, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766
  • John Dalton, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1768
  • Edward Dalton, aged 28, arrived in New England in 1774

Dalton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Dalton, who landed in America in 1810
  • Andrew Dalton, aged 25, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Patrick Dalton, aged 26, landed in Maryland in 1813
  • Henry Dalton, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Mrs. Dalton, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822

Dalton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Catherine Dalton, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1811
  • Ellen Dalton, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1835
  • Thomas Dalton, aged 35, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1838 aboard the barque "Rebecca" from Liverpool
  • Margaret Dalton, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1839

Dalton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James Dalton, French convict from Valenciennes, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Emma Dalton arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Somersetshire" in 1839
  • T. Dalton arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Calphurnia" in 1849
  • Ellen Dalton, aged 18, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849
  • Thomas Dalton arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849

Dalton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Annie Dalton landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842
  • Ellen Dalton arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Edward Dalton, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864
  • Thomas Dalton, aged 30, a shepherd, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Assaye" in 1874
  • Edward Dalton, aged 40, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874


  • Major-General Joseph Nicholas Dalton (1892-1961), American Director of Personnel, Army Service Forces (1945-1946)
  • Brigadier-General James Leo II Dalton (1910-1945), American Assistant Commanding General 25th Division (1945)
  • Irene Dalton (1901-1934), American actress
  • George Dalton (b. 1947), American playwright
  • Lional Dalton (b. 1975), American NFL football player
  • Emmett Dalton (1861-1937), U.S. outlaw, member of the Dalton Gang who later became an author and actor
  • Henry Dalton (b. 1847), American physician
  • Alexandre Dalton, French Divisional General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815
  • Mr. Lionel Sydney Dalton (1902-1941), Australian Commander (E) from Mosman, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Timothy Dalton (b. 1946), Welsh actor of film and television known for portraying James Bond in two movies



  • Dalton Gang Days by Frank Forrest Latta.

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: Tristus et fidelis
Motto Translation: Sad and faithful


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  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)

Other References

  1. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  4. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  11. ...

The Dalton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dalton 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 17 March 2016 at 09:41.

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