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Origins Available: English, Scottish


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).

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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]CITATION[CLOSE]
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)

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Johnstone research. Another 477 words (34 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.

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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...

Another 52 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.

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Some of the Johnstone family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 133 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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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
  • David E Johnstone, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1770

Johnstone Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Jane Johnstone, who landed in New York, NY in 1843
  • James Johnstone, who landed in New York in 1849
  • W S Johnstone, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Alexander Johnstone, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Helen Walker Johnstone, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855
  • ...

Johnstone Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • John Johnstone, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752

Johnstone Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Johnstone a labourer, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenalvon" in 1838
  • Mary Anne Johnstone arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenalvon" in 1838
  • Jane Johnstone arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenalvon" in 1838
  • Elizabeth Johnstone arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenalvon" in 1838
  • Charles Johnstone arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenalvon" in 1838
  • ...

Johnstone Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • E. Johnstone arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Agra" in 1852
  • H.G. Johnstone arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Agra" in 1852
  • W. Johnstone arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Agra" in 1852
  • W. Johnstone arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wild Duck" in 1861
  • A. Johnstone arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wild Duck" in 1861
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Johnstone Settlers in New Zealand in the 20th Century

  • John Johnstone, aged 23, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926
  • Hector Johnstone, aged 22, a farmer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926
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  • 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
  • John William Johnstone Jr. (b. 1945), American former Major League Baseball player who played from 1966 to 1985
  • 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 17841790
  • 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
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Johnstone Historic Events



Flight 191

  • C Johnstone, American passenger from USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash on May 25, 1979

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 on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. Norman Johnstone, British Signal Boy, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales May 1941 and died at the battle of Denmark Strait, before the sinking of the 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
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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

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Johnstone Clan Badge
Johnstone Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Citations



  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. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  2. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  11. ...

The Johnstone Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Johnstone 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 19 July 2016 at 17:53.

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