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On the western coast of Scotland and on the Hebrides islands the Donaldson family was born among the ancient Dalriadan clans. Their name comes 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 Donaldson 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.

In various documents Donaldson has been spelled Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations. Donald, Donaldson, Doneld, Donnald, Donnaldson and others.


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

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Some of the Donaldson 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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Dalriadan families proliferated in North Ameri ca. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Donaldson or a variant listed above:

Donaldson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Walter Donaldson, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685

Donaldson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Donaldson, who arrived in Maryland in 1716
  • Charles Donaldson settled in Maryland in 1716 along with Hugh, James, Jane, John, Mary, Peter, and Thomas
  • Charles Donaldson, who landed in Maryland in 1716
  • Robert Donaldson, who landed in Georgia in 1765
  • Marrion Donaldson, aged 42, landed in New York in 1775
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Donaldson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Colin Donaldson, who arrived in Jamaica in 1801
  • Richard Donaldson, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Beli Donaldson, aged 36, arrived in Delaware in 1803
  • Robert_ Donaldson, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Jane Donaldson, aged 6, landed in New York, NY in 1806
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Donaldson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • David Donaldson, who landed in Canada in 1815
  • JUrnes Donaldson, who arrived in Canada in 1815
  • Thomas Donaldson, who landed in Canada in 1815
  • Dun. Donaldson, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Andrew Donaldson, aged 59, a farmer, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Edinburgh" in 1815
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Donaldson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Matthew Donaldson, Scottish convict from Perth, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Catherine Donaldson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Helen Thompson" in 1840
  • James Donaldson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Helen Thompson" in 1840
  • Jane Donaldson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1848
  • Thomas Donaldson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Royal Archer" in 1848
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Donaldson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Robert Donaldson landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Margaret Donaldson arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Jane" in 1841
  • Robert Donaldson, aged 21, a farmer, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Philip Laing" in 1848
  • James Donaldson, aged 34, a ploughman, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eveline" in 1865
  • Catherine Donaldson, aged 33, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eveline" in 1865
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  • Brigadier-General William Henry Jr. Donaldson (1894-1948), American Commanding Officer Seattle Port of Embarkation (1947-1948)
  • Sergeant Michael A. Donaldson (1884-1970), United States Army soldier awarded the Medal of Honor
  • Walter Donaldson (1893-1947), American composer
  • Professor Gordon Donaldson (1913-1993), Scottish historian
  • Walter Donaldson (1907-1973), Scottish professional snooker player
  • Sir James Donaldson (1831-1915), Scottish educational administrator
  • James Donaldson (1751-1830), Scottish newspaper proprietor
  • Peter Ian Donaldson (1945-2015), Egyptian-born British newsreader and radio broadcaster (BBC Radio 4)
  • Geoff Donaldson (1914-2013), Australian oil executive, founder and Chairman of Woodside Petroleum (1956-1984)
  • Peter Donaldson (1953-2011), Canadian Genie award winning actor
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Donaldson Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. John Donaldson, British Trimmer from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914

HMS Hood

  • Mr. Walter M H Donaldson (b. 1918), Scottish Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Edinburgh, Scotland, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. John Donaldson, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
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  • Donaldson [Genealogical Notes on the Donaldson Family and Its Maternal Lines, Mcfarland, Winchester, Johnston and Dorsey] by John Wilcox Donaldson.
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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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Citations



    Other References

    1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
    2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    6. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
    7. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
    8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    9. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
    10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    11. ...

    The Donaldson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Donaldson 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 1 July 2016 at 12:50.

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