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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

MacAlasdair is a very old Scottish name that may even date back to the Dalriadan tribe of Scotland's western coast and Hebrides islands. It comes from the Gaelic Mac Alasdair "son of Alasdair," which correlates to the personal name Alexander.


The surname MacAlasdair was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dl Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where Alasdair Mr was listed on record in 1253, as witnessing a charter by his brother, Aonghas Mr a le, to the Paisley Abbey.

Spelling variations are a very common occurrence in records of early Scottish names. They result from the repeated and inaccurate translations that many names went through in the course of various English occupations of Scotland. MacAlasdair has been spelled MacAlister, MacAllister, MacAllaster, MacAllestair, MacAllester, MacAllister and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacAlasdair research. Another 235 words (17 lines of text) covering the year 1645 is included under the topic Early MacAlasdair History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacAlasdair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the MacAlasdair family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first MacAlasdairs to arrive in North America: Charles MacAlister settled in Philadelphia in 1808; Daniel, David, Denis, James, John, Robert, Thomas and William MacAlister all arrived in Philadelphia between 1830 and 1870..


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: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.


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    Other References

    1. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
    2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    3. 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.
    4. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
    5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    6. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
    7. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    8. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
    9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    11. ...

    The MacAlasdair Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The MacAlasdair 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 29 November 2011 at 14:27.

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