MacAlister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Clan from whom the MacAlister family descends began among the ancient Dalriadan kingdom of the west coast of Scotland. Their name comes from the Gaelic Mac Alasdair "son of Alasdair," which correlates to the personal name Alexander.

Early Origins of the MacAlister family

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

Early History of the MacAlister family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacAlister research. Another 118 words (8 lines of text) covering the year 1645 is included under the topic Early MacAlister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacAlister Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name MacAlister include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include MacAlister, MacAllister, MacAllaster, MacAllestair, MacAllester, MacAllister and many more.

Early Notables of the MacAlister family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the MacAlister family to Ireland

Some of the MacAlister family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States MacAlister migration to the United States +

Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

MacAlister Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jam MacAlister, who arrived in Virginia in 1696 [1]
MacAlister Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hugh Macalister, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732 [1]
  • Hugh MacAlister, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [1]
MacAlister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles MacAlister, who settled in Philadelphia in 1808
  • Anthony MacAlister, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [1]
  • Daniel MacAlister, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [1]
  • I MacAlister, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]
  • James Macalister, who landed in America in 1850 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia MacAlister migration to Australia +

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

MacAlister Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Daniel MacAlister who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 4th August 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • James MacAlister, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dauntless" in 1840 [3]
  • James MacAlister, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bruce" in 1846 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name MacAlister (post 1700) +

  • C. Harry MacAlister, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Hawaii, 1964 [5]
  • Patrick MacAlister (1826-1895), Irish Roman Catholic Prelate, 24th Lord Bishop of Down and Connor
  • Robert Lachlan Macalister (1890-1967), New Zealand politician, Mayor of Wellington from 1950 to 1956
  • Colonel Norman Macalister, Lieutenant-Governor of Prince of Wales Isle (1808 to 1810)
  • Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister (1870-1950), Irish archaeologist
  • Sir Donald MacAlister (1854-1934), 1st Baronet of Tarbert, physician, and principal and vice-chancellor
  • Arthur Macalister (1818-1883), three-time Premier of Queensland, Australia
  • Scott Macalister Bryce (b. 1958), American two-time Daytime Emmy Award and two-time Soap Opera Digest Award nominated actor, best known for his portrayal of Craig Montgomery on As the World Turns
  • Gregory Macalister Mathews CBE (1876-1949), Australian amateur ornithologist
  • Macalister "Mac" Price (1948-2003), senior New Zealand Foreign Affairs official

The MacAlister 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 and by land.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAUNTLESS 1840. Retrieved from
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY BRUCE 1846. Retrieved from
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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