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Origins Available: Scottish-Alt, Scottish


The ancestors of the MacDonald family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The family name comes from the Anglicized version of the Gaelic personal name Mac Dhomhnuill. MacDonald is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. The surname MacDonald arose from the vernacular naming tradition, whereby surnames were formed by adopting the given name of one's father, or another ancestor. This name was first found in Kintyre, where members of this family had resided for many years.

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The surname MacDonald was first found in Kintyre, and much of the Eastern islands and coast-lands where members of this Clan, descended through Somerled, Lord of the Isles and had resided for many years.

Historical recordings of the name MacDonald 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 MacDonald, Macdonald, McDonald, Donaldson, MacDonny and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacDonald research. Another 435 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1336, 1386, 1423, 1437, 1449, 1603, and 1692 are included under the topic Early MacDonald History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Notable amongst the Clan from early times was John of Islay, or John MacDonald, (d. 1386), who was the Lord of the Isles (1336-86) and chief of Clan...

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacDonald Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the MacDonald family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 164 words (12 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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Dalriadan families proliferated in North Ameri ca. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name MacDonald or a variant listed above:

MacDonald Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Daniel MacDonald, who landed in Virginia in 1731
  • Norman and Elizabeth Macdonald, and their two children who settled in Georgia in 1741
  • Daniel Macdonald, who came to New Jersey sometime between 1730 and 1749
  • Archibald MacDonald, who arrived in America in 1760-1763
  • James Macdonald, who landed in North Carolina in 1772
  • ...

MacDonald Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Alastair Macdonald, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • Moore MacDonald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Robert MacDonald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • William MacDonald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Thomas MacDonald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
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MacDonald Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • John J Macdonald, who landed in California in 1900
  • James Ernest Macdonald, who arrived in Colorado in 1903
  • Samuel MacDonald, who arrived in Colorado in 1903
  • Alexander MacDonald, who arrived in Mississippi in 1905
  • Carmen Claude MacDonald, who landed in Alabama in 1920
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MacDonald Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Charles MacDonald, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia from Skye, in 1776
  • Ensign. Soirle MacDonald U.E., (Soril, Soirlee, Sorley, Samuel, Soyle) (b. 1730) born in Isle of Skye, Scotland from North Carolina, USA who settled in Port Roseway, [Shelbourne], Nova Scotia c. 1783, returned to the Isle of Skye, Scotland in 1790 originally arriving in America in m1771, listed as serving in the Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment, married to Flora Nicolson in Scotland in 1765 having 4 children he died in 1830 [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Private. Alexander MacDonald U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 he served in the Queen's Loyal Rangers [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mr. Alexander MacDonald Sr., U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mr. Alan MacDonald U.E. born in Scotland from North Carolina, USA who settled in Douglas Township [Kennetcook], Hants County, Nova Scotia c. 1784, then moved to England before finally settling Isle of Skye in Scotland he served in the Royal Highlands Emigrants, and the 84th Regiment, married to Flora they had 6 children [4]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • ...

MacDonald Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Donald Macdonald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Ronald Macdonald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Janet Macdonald, aged 3, landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • John MacDonald, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Jon Macdonald, aged 6, arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
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MacDonald Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Edward MacDonald, English convict from Warwick, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • William Macdonald, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Hugh MacDonald, aged 29, a shepherd, arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Africaine" in 1836
  • John MacDonald arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839
  • John MacDonald arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1839
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MacDonald Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Macdonald, aged 24, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Accrington" in 1863
  • John MacDonald, aged 28, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Margaret MacDonald, aged 25, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
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  • Ian Pirie MacDonald (1867-1942), American portrait photographer
  • Dwight MacDonald (1906-1982), American writer, editor, social critic, philosopher, and political radical
  • Maggie Macdonald (1952-2016), née Michie, a Scottish Gaelic singer and primary school teacher
  • Rory MacDonald (b. 1949), Scottish folk-rock musician and songwriter
  • Thomas Logie MacDonald (1901-1973), Scottish astronomer and politician
  • Alexander MacDonald (b. 1948), Scottish professional footballer and manager
  • Malcolm Macdonald (1901-1981), Scottish administrator
  • George Macdonald (1824-1905), Scottish poet and novelist
  • Cyril Pius "Cy" MacDonald (1928-2015), Canadian educator and politician who represented Milestone from 1964 to 1975 and Qu'Appelle-Wolseley from 1975 to 1982 in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan
  • Flora MacDonald PC CC OOnt ONS (1926-2015), Canadian politician, Minister of Communications (1986-1988), Minister of Employment and Immigration (1984-1986), 16th Secretary of State for External Affairs (1979-1980), MP for Kingston and the Islands (1972-1988)
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MacDonald Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. Lawrence Kay MacDonald, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914

Halifax Explosion

  • Master Arthur  MacDonald (1911-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Rosanna  MacDonald, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917 but later died due to injuries
  • Mrs. Margaret  MacDonald (1880-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Allan  MacDonald (1914-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Miss Ethel  MacDonald (1899-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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HMAS Sydney II

  • Mr. Frank Leslie MacDonald, English Gunner from North End, Portsmouth, England, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking

HMS Hood

  • Mr. Alastair D Macdonald (b. 1923), Scottish Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Cupar, Fife, Scotland, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. George MacDonald, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
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  • Adam and Susan Fickas: their Descendants and Allied Families by Viva Fickas Freeman.
  • McDaniel/MacDonald Notes by Ellen Byrne.
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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: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.

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MacDonald Clan Badge
MacDonald 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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Septs of the Distinguished Name MacDonald
Aisles, Alwraith, Alwraithy, Alwraord, Alwraorde, Alwraork, Alwraorth, Alwraorthe, Alwraorthy, Asparran, Asparrand, Asparrane, Asparrant, Asparren, Asparrend, Asparrent, Asparrind, Asparrint, Asparryn, Asparrynd, Bait, Baith, Baithy, Balach, Balack, Balake, Balech, Baleck, Balick, Balitch, Ballach, Ballack, Ballak, Ballake, Ballech, Balleck, Ballick, Ballitch, Balloch, Ballock, Ballok, Ballox, Ballyck, Ballyke, Baloch, Balock, Balox, Balyck, Balyke, Baorde and more.

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Citations



  1. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Other References

  1. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  2. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The MacDonald Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacDonald 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 8 August 2016 at 14:53.

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