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.
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.
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." 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."  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.
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
Dalton Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Dalton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Dalton Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Dalton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Dalton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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
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.