Ealder History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Ealder was first used as a surname by the descendants of a people of ancient Scotland called the Boernicians. Ealder is a name for a person who was the elder of two people, [1] bearing the same name or the name could have been derived from the Old English "ealdra," meaning "elder." Alternatively, the name could have a nickname for someone who was a "dweller at, or near, an elder tree." [2]

Early Origins of the Ealder family

The surname Ealder was first found in Edinburghshire, a former county, now part of the Midlothian council area. One of the first records of the family was John Eldar or Eldare de Corstorfin who was burgess of Edinburgh in 1423 and "the surname is also recorded in Aberdeen in 1447. John Elder, a renegade Scot, urged Henry VIII ('Bagcheeks') to invade Scotland, assuring him of the support of the Highland Clans. Andro Elder, was a reidare at Menmure in 1574." [3]

Further to the south, "this surname is derived from a nickname 'the elder.' The usual form in the Yorkshire Poll Tax is Senior, and this has become one of the strongly established surnames of that county." However, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 does list Ricardus ye Elder. [4]

Early History of the Ealder family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ealder research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1555, 1542, 1680, 1700 and are included under the topic Early Ealder History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ealder Spelling Variations

Spelling rules had not yet evolved in medieval Scotland, some names dating from that era often appear many different ways. Some spelling variations of Ealder include Elder, Elders, Eldar, MacNoravaich and others.

Early Notables of the Ealder family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Elder ( fl. 1555), Scottish writer, a native of Caithness who passed twelve years of his life at the universities of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Glasgow, and appears to have entered the ministry. "He came to England soon after the death of James V of Scotland in 1542, when he presented to Henry VIII a 'plot' or map of the realm of Scotland, being a...
Another 73 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ealder Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ealder family to Ireland

Some of the Ealder family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 68 words (5 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 Ealder family

The Boernician-Scottish people who came to North America were often nearly penniless when they arrived, and brought very few personal effects with them. Much Scottish heritage was lost in the process, and it is only this century that highland games, Clan societies, and other patriotic Scottish organizations have helped the ancestors of Scots to rediscover their national legacy. Ealders were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: James Elder who settled in New Hampshire in 1718; along with Thomas, followed by David, Isaac, John, Robert, Samuel, and Thomas; but perhaps the most famous of the settlers was the Reverend John Elder who formed and was Captain of the Paxtang Rangers, known as the Paxtang Boys in 1753.



The Ealder 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: Virtute duce
Motto Translation: With virtue for guide.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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