Johnstone History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the first family to use the name Johnstone were thought to have lived among the Boernician tribe of ancient Scotland. They lived in any of several place names in Scotland. Most instances of the name are thought to come from the barony of John's Town in Annandale, Dumfriesshire. The place name comes from the personal name John, and the Middle English tone or toun, meaning "a town." Other places so named in Scotland include St. John's Toun (now the city of Perth).

Early Origins of the Johnstone family

The surname Johnstone was first found in Dumfries (now part of the region of Galloway) where they held the barony of John's Town. There is a heraldic similarity with the Kirkpatrick family coat of arms, leading to the belief that John was a descendant of Gospatrick, Earl of Northumberland. Gilbert, son of John received a parcel of land in southern Annandale from William Bruce, Lord of Annandale, some time between 1195 and 1214.

"Shortly after 1174 John the founder of the family of Johnstone, gave his name to his lands in Annandale, Dumfriesshire, whence his son Gilbert took his surname. 'Who John, the father of Gilbert, was it is now perhaps impossible to determine. He may have been a native settler who, when the Bruces were made lords of Annandale, elected to hold his lands from them, or, as seems most likely, he followed his overlords from their Yorkshire, or more southern, estates, and was gifted with the lands to which he gave his name, and which, later, formed the parish and barony of Johnstone.'" [1]

Early History of the Johnstone family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Johnstone research. Another 239 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1611, 1663, 1625, 1672, 1664, 1721, 1701, 1602, 1653, 1687, 1730, 1697, 1772, 1743, 1754, 1711, 1700 and are included under the topic Early Johnstone History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Johnstone Spelling Variations

Before the printing press and the first dictionaries appeared, names and other words were often spelled differently every time they were written. Johnstone has appeared under the variations Jonsoom, Jonstoombe, Johnson, Johnstome, Jonstoom, Jonstoomb, Johnstolm, Jonsome, Johnstume, Jonstolm, Jonsolm, Jonstum, Jonstome, Jonsom, Jonsum, Jonstume, Jonsomb, Jonsombe, Jonsoombe, Jonsoomb and many more.

Early Notables of the Johnstone family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Archibald Johnston, Lord Warriston (1611-1663), a Scottish judge and statesman; James Johnstone (1625-1672), 1st Earl of Annandale and Hartfell; his son William Johnstone (1664-1721), 2nd Earl of Annandale and Hartfell, who was made 1st Marquess of Annandale in 1701; James Johnstone, 1st...
Another 51 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Johnstone Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Johnstone family to Ireland

Some of the Johnstone family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 73 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 Johnstone migration to the United States +

The Scots who crossed the Atlantic were often on the run from poverty as well as persecution. They brought little with them, and often had nothing of their home country to hand down to their children. In the 20th century, Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations have helped the ancestors of Boernician Scots to recover their lost national legacy. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Johnstone were among those contributors:

Johnstone Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Dr. John Johnstone (died 1732), who arrived in New Jersey in 1685 aboard the Henry and Francis, he was granted 500 acres in 1686 and later another 30,000 acres in 1701, he later became Mayor of New York City (1714-1719)
Johnstone Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Lewis Johnstone, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1770 [2]
  • David E Johnstone, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1770 [2]
Johnstone Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jane Johnstone, who landed in New York, NY in 1843 [2]
  • James Johnstone, who landed in New York in 1849 [2]
  • W S Johnstone, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • Alexander Johnstone, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • Helen Walker Johnstone, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Johnstone migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Johnstone Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Johnstone, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752

Australia Johnstone migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Johnstone Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Johnstone, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 27th April 1833, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Mr. James Johnstone, British Convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • William Johnstone a labourer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenalvon" in 1838 [5]
  • Mary Anne Johnstone, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenalvon" in 1838 [5]
  • Jane Johnstone, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenalvon" in 1838 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Johnstone migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Johnstone Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Johnstone, Australian settler travelling from Sydney, Australia aboard the ship "Bristolian" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842 [6]
  • Mr. J. Johnstone, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Blundell" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1848 [6]
  • Mrs. Johnstone, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Blundell" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1848 [6]
  • Mr. Johnstone, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Blundell" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 21st September 1848 [6]
  • E. Johnstone, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Agra" in 1852
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Johnstone Settlers in New Zealand in the 20th Century
  • John Johnstone, aged 23, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926
  • Hector Johnstone, aged 22, a farmer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926

Contemporary Notables of the name Johnstone (post 1700) +

  • John William "Jay" Johnstone Jr. (1945-2020), American professional baseball player and television sports announcer who played from 1966 to 1985
  • Ralph Greenley Johnstone (1880-1910), first American pilot to die in an airplane crash
  • John William Johnstone (b. 1968), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1993 to 2000
  • Sergeant Harold Irving Johnstone (1892-1949), American Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the World War I
  • James Connolly "Jimmy" Johnstone (1944-2006), Scottish football player
  • James Johnstone (1870-1932), Scottish biologist and oceanographer
  • Sir James Johnstone (1726-1794), 4th Baronet, Scottish politician, Member of Parliament for Dumfries Burghs 1784–1790
  • Dr Gavin Wildridge Johnstone (1941-1987), Scottish-born, Australian ornithologist
  • Eve C. Johnstone (b. 1944), Scottish neuroscientist, recipient of the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research (2007)
  • Derek Joseph Johnstone (b. 1953), former Scottish association footballer
  • ... (Another 23 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Flight 191
  • C Johnstone, American passenger from USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash [7]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Trevor James Armistice Johnstone (1919-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [8]
HMS Prince of Wales
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. James Andrew Santie Johnstone, English Assistant Engineers' Mess Steward from Stanley, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [10]


The Johnstone 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: Nunquam non paratus
Motto Translation: Never unprepared


  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)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1837
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) EDEN 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Glenalvon.gif
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ Flight 191's Victims - latimes. (Retrieved 2014, April 16) . Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/1985-08-04/news/mn-4349_1_fort-lauderdale-area
  8. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  9. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  10. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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