Show ContentsHalter History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

An ancient Scottish tribe called the Boernicians were the ancestors of the first people to use the surname Halter. 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 Halter family

The surname Halter 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 Halter family

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

Halter Spelling Variations

Spelling rules only evolved in the last few centuries with the invention of the printing press and the first dictionaries. Spelling variations are extremely common in names from before that period. Halter has been spelled Elder, Elders, Eldar, MacNoravaich and others.

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

Halter Ranking

In the United States, the name Halter is the 7,026th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5] However, in France, the name Halter is ranked the 4,497th most popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Halter family to Ireland

Some of the Halter 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.

United States Halter migration to the United States +

After making their great crossing, many Boernician-Scottish families settled along the east coast of North America. When the War of Independence broke out, United Empire Loyalists moved north to Canada while the rest stayed to fight. The ancestors of many of these Scots still populate the continent. This century, through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations, they began to rediscover their collective national heritage. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Halter or a variant listed above:

Halter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hans Martin Halter, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738 [7]
Halter Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Halter, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1874 [7]

Canada Halter migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Halter Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Antonn Halter, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Catharine Halter, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Christian Halter, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Elisabeth Halter, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Magdalena Halter, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Halter (post 1700) +

  • Ernie Halter, American singer/songwriter
  • Lars Halter (b. 1973), German-born, American journalist
  • William A. "Bill" Halter (b. 1960), American politician, 14th Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas (2007-2011)
  • Nora L. Halter, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio, 1924 [8]
  • Edward J. Halter, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 28th District, 1920 [8]
  • Martina Halter (b. 1994), Swiss female former volleyball player, member of the Switzerland National Team in 2013
  • Roman Halter (1927-2012), Polish painter, sculptor, writer, architect and Holocaust survivor
  • Irving L. "Irv" Halter Jr. (b. 1952), retired Air Force Major General and current Democrat politician
  • Gerald Sydney Halter OC (1905-1990), Canadian lawyer, 1st Commissioner of the Canadian Football League, inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1966

The Halter 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 6) . Retrieved from on Facebook