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The Donald family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name Donald is derived from a powerful ruler. The name Donald is derived from the Gaelic name Domhnull, or MacDhomhnuill, and the Celtic name Dubnovalos, all of which mean "world ruler" or "world-mighty". The name ranks second only to John in its popularity as a personal name in Scotland.

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The surname Donald was first found in Galloway (Gaelic: Gall-ghaidhealaibh), an area of southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, that formerly consisted of the counties of Wigtown (West Galloway) and Kirkcudbright (East Galloway), where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents Donald has been spelled Donald, Donaldson, Doneld, Donnald, Donnaldson and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donald research. Another 302 words (22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donald History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

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Some of the Donald family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North Ameri ca. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Donald were among those contributors:

Donald Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Mary Donald settled in Pennsylvania in 1773 along with David, and Nash
  • Alexander Donald, aged 37, landed in New York in 1775
  • Alexander Donald who settled in Georgia in 1775
  • Robert Donald, who arrived in Virginia in 1775
  • Cornelius Donald settled in Maryland in 1776
  • ...

Donald Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Donald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Nash Donald, aged 26, arrived in Delaware in 1803
  • Michael Donald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Barney Donald, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Eleanor Donald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • ...

Donald Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Miss. Elizabeth Donalds U.E. who settled in St. John River, New Brunswick c. 1784 listed as a passenger aboard the ship "Cyrus", picked up on August 21, 1783 at New York was a child but more than 10 years of age [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mr. John Donalds U.E. who settled in St. John River, New Brunswick c. 1784 listed as a passenger aboard the ship "Cyrus", picked up on August 21, 1783 at New York was a child but more than 10 years of age [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Donald Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Donald, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834

Donald Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James Donald, a stone-mason, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • James Donald arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constitution" in 1851
  • Thomas Donald, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Omega"
  • Michael Donald, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Nabob"

Donald Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Robert Donald landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Donald landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Hodgson Donald landed in Manaia, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship "George Fife"
  • S Donald landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842
  • W.F.J . Donald landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1844
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  • Jason Thomas Donald (b. 1984), Olympian for the United States and a Major League Baseball shortstop
  • James Donald (1917-1993), Scottish actor
  • Ian Donald (1910-1987), Scottish physician who pioneered the use of diagnostic ultrasound in medicine
  • Chris Donald (b. 1960), founder of the British comic magazine Viz
  • Warren Donald (b. 1964), English-born footballer
  • Mitchell Donald (b. 1988), Dutch footballer
  • Stephen Donald (b. 1983), New Zealand rugby union player
  • Howard Paul Donald (b. 1968), English singer-songwriter, drummer, pianist, dancer, DJ and house producer
  • Allan Anthony Donald (b. 1966), former South African cricketer
  • Luke Campbell Donald (b. 1977), English golfer
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Donald Historic Events



HMS Hood

  • Mr. James H Donald (b. 1923), Scottish Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Dundee, Angus, Scotland, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. Archibald Douglas Donald, Canadian 2nd Class passenger residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking by escaping in a collapsible
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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: Per mare, per terras
Motto Translation: By sea, by land.

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Donald Clan Badge
Donald Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Donald
Daneal, Daneale, Daneil, Daneile, Danel, Danell, Daner, Daneul, Daneyle, Danialls, Danials, Daniel, Daniell, Daniells, Daniels, Danielson, Daniers, Danneal, Danneale, Danneil, Danneile, Dannel, Dannell, Danner, Danneul, Danneyle, Dannialls, Danniel, Danniell, Danniells, Danniels, Dannielson, Danniers, Dannyei, Dannyell, Danyei, Danyel, Danyell, Deneal, Deneale, Deneil, Deneile, Denel, Deneul, Deneyle, Denialls, Deniel, Deniell, Deniells, Deniels and more.

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Citations



  1. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Other References

  1. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  2. 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, 1968. Print.
  3. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  4. 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).
  5. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Donald Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Donald 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 18 June 2015 at 08:37.

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