Elders History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Elders was first used by the descendants of the Boernician people of the Scottish-English border region. It 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 Elders family

The surname Elders 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 Elders family

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

Elders Spelling Variations

In the many years before the invention of the printing press and the first dictionaries, names and other words were spelled according to sound, often differently with each person who wrote them. Spelling variations of Elders include Elder, Elders, Eldar, MacNoravaich and others.

Early Notables of the Elders 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 Elders Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Elders family to Ireland

Some of the Elders 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 Elders family

In many cases, the ancestors of many of these Boernician-Scottish people are just now learning of their Scottish heritage. Since the trip was so arduous, and many were fleeing from poverty itself, settlers brought little with them and often had nothing of their personal history to hand down to their children. Clan societies and highland games have helped to correct this problem in the 20th century. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Elderss to arrive on North American shores: 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.


Contemporary Notables of the name Elders (post 1700) +

  • M. M. Elders, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, 1907 [5]
  • H. H. Elders, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1908 [5]
  • Joycelyn Elders (b. 1933), former United States Surgeon General


The Elders 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)
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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