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MacAlistair History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



The sea-swept Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland, made up the ancient Dalriadan kingdom, the ancestral home of the MacAlistair family. Their name comes from the given name Alexander, which in turn was originally derived from the Greek name, which means defender of men. In the late 11th century, Queen Margaret introduced the name, which she had heard in the Hungarian Court where she was raised, into Scotland by naming one of her sons Alexander. The popularity of the name Alexander was ensured by the fact that it was born by three Scottish kings, the first being Margaret's son who succeeded to the throne of Scotland following the death of Malcolm III.


Early Origins of the MacAlistair family


The surname MacAlistair was first found in Kintyre, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the MacAlistair family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacAlistair research.
Another 462 words (33 lines of text) covering the years 1230, 1295, 1475, 1602, 1200, 1605, 1615, 1765, 1846, 1431, 1570, 1640, 1614, 1588, 1655, 1640, 1643, 1619, 1681, 1665, 1681, 1620, 1665, 1660, 1665, 1653, 1686, 1797 and are included under the topic Early MacAlistair History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacAlistair Spelling Variations


Many spelling variations of MacAlistair have been recorded over the years, including These are the result of the medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English. Alexander, Alistair, MacAlexander, Alisandre, Alischoner, Alsinder, Alastair, MacAlexter, Callestar, Aleckander, Alexandri, Alisdair, Alaisder, Alestare, Alistare and many more.

Early Notables of the MacAlistair family (pre 1700)


Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Sir William Alexander (circa 1570-1640), 1st Earl of Stirling, Scottish government official, knighted in 1614, appointed Governor of the barony of Nova Scotia; William Allestry (Allestrie) (1588-1655), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons of England (1640-1643)...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacAlistair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacAlistair family to Ireland


Some of the MacAlistair family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 119 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacAlistair family to the New World and Oceana


Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the MacAlistair family emigrate to North America: Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, who colonized Nova Scotia, in Antigonish, Pictou, the Carolinas, Virginia and Upper Canada. Richard H. Alexander, traveled from Ontario in a group called the ".

Contemporary Notables of the name MacAlistair (post 1700)


  • Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie (1941-2011), American computer scientist awarded the Turing Award in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology for 1998

The MacAlistair 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: Per mare, per terras
Motto Translation: By sea, by land.


MacAlistair Family Crest Products



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