Show ContentsDeemster History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Scottish name Deemster is rooted in the people of the Pictish clans. Deemster was a name for a person who held the office of judex or dempster to the Parliament. Up until 1747, every barony held courts for trials in that barony and the judex was a baillie for the chief or laird. [1]

Early Origins of the Deemster family

The surname Deemster was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland.

"Until the year 1747 every laird whose land had been erected into a barony was empowered to hold courts for the trial and punishment of certain offenders within his barony; and the dempster was part of his retinue. " [2]

The first record of the name was "Haldan de Emester of Perthshire, who rendered homage in 1296 [to King Edward I of England], is to be read Haldan Deem ester." [2] His son, or grandson, Haldan Dempster, also inherited the lands of Menemuir. He was a Dempster and held court in that area.

Early History of the Deemster family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Deemster research. Another 363 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1360, 1364, 1370, 1379, 1361, 1370, 1388, 1428, 1579, 1585, 1602, 1684, 1625, 1579, 1625, 1579 and are included under the topic Early Deemster History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Deemster Spelling Variations

In medieval Scotland, names were more often spelled according to sound than any regular set of rules. An enormous number of spelling variations were the result. Over the years, the name Deemster has been spelled Dempster, Deemester, Dempstar, Demster and others.

Early Notables of the Deemster family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Thomas Dempster (1579-1625), Scottish scholar and historian "was born, according to his own statement, on 23 Aug. 1579. His autobiography, however, is clearly marked by the same habit of grotesquely extravagant falsehood which appears in some of his other writings; and there seems...
Another 51 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Deemster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Deemster family to Ireland

Some of the Deemster family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Deemster family

In such difficult times, Ireland, Australia, and North America looked like better homes for many Scots. The trips were expensive and grueling, but also rewarding, as the colonies were havens for those unwelcome in the old country. That legacy did not die easily, though, and many were forced to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. The Scottish legacy has resurface in more recent times, though, through Clan societies, highland games, and other organizations. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Scottish name of Deemster: Jane Dempster who settled in Barbados in 1679; Alex, Blakley, James, John, Lilly, Robert, Samuel and William Dempster, all settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1775 and 1868..



The Deemster 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: Fortier et strenue
Motto Translation: Boldly and earnestly.


  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. 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)


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