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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish

The Clan from whom the Allison family descends began among the ancient Dalriadan kingdom of the west coast of Scotland. Their name comes from the name for the son of "Ellis" or Ellis' son. Conversely, the surname could be is derived from "Alice" as in "the son of Alice." It is likely though that the name was derived from "Ellis" rather than the female personal name. [1]


The surname Allison was first found in the county of Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, where they acquired some time before 1300 the territories of their family seat at Loupe. They were descended from Angus Mor MacDonnell, Lord of the Isles, their Gaelic name was MacAllister, and it is difficult through history to distinguish one name from the other.

Historical recordings of the name Allison include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include Allison, Alison, Alinson, Allinson, McAllister, MacAllister, Ellison and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Allison research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1296 and 1314 are included under the topic Early Allison History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Allison Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Allison family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Allison Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • James Allison who settled in Boston in 1644

Allison Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Andrew Allison who settled in Philadelphia in 1750 with his two brothers named James and Robert
  • William Allison who settled in Pennsylvania in 1764 and was one of the first to examine political strategy
  • Jean Allison who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1775
  • Archibald Allison, who arrived in North Carolina in 1776

Allison Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Edward Duffin Allison, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • John Allison approved the constitution on behalf of Pennsylvania, and Francis Allison, a great classical scholar had a conspicuous role in educating the American mind to the thought of independence
  • Elihu Allison, who arrived in Texas in 1835
  • Andrew Allison, who landed in Mississippi in 1845
  • Charles Allison, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

Allison Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Captain Edward Allison U.E. born in Long Island, New York, USA, United Empire Loyalist who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783 Captain of De Lancey's 3rd Battalion

Allison Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Ann Allison (alias Miller), Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Amphitrite" on August 21, 1833, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Thomas Allison, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • James W. Allison arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Asiatic" in 1849

Allison Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • C Allison landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Allison, aged 30, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Margaret Allison, aged 30, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Margaret Allison, aged 10, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Janet Allison, aged 7, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842


  • Herbert Monroe Allison Jr. (1943-2013), American businessman who oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability from 2009 to 2010
  • James Allison Jr. (1772-1854), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
  • James Ashbury Allison (1872-1928), American entrepreneur, businessman and co-inventor of the Allison Perfection Fountain Pen
  • Graham Tillett Allison Jr. (b. 1940), American political scientist and professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
  • David Clark Allison (1881-1962), American architect
  • David Carl "Davey" Allison (1961-1993), American NASCAR driver
  • Robert Arthur "Bobby" Allison (b. 1937), American former NASCAR Winston Cup driver, one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers
  • Ben Allison (b. 1966), American jazz double bassist
  • John A IV Allison (b. 1948), American executive, Chairman and chief executive officer, BB&T Corporation/Branch Bank
  • William Boyd Allison, American politician, U.S. Senator from Iowa (18731908)



  • Early Osbornes and Alleys by Rita Kennedy Sutton.
  • Allison, Dewees, Johnson, Scruggs and Other Related Families by Judith Allison Walters.

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: Truth prevails
Motto Translation: Truth prevails


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  1. ^ 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)

Other References

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  5. 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.
  6. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Allison Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Allison 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 25 April 2016 at 19:09.

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