MacLafferty History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the name MacLafferty lived in the Kingdom of Dalriada. In those days the name MacLafferty was used to indicate a person who prominent ruler. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Fhlaithbheartaich, which means son of the dominion bearing, or son of the ruler. The name is a cognate of the Irish name Flaherty, which is Flaithbheartach in Gaelic. Flaithbheartach, in modern Irish, means generous or hospitable, which may hint at some of the qualities that are described by the name MacLafferty.

Early Origins of the MacLafferty family

The surname MacLafferty was first found in Islay, one of the Hebridean islands, and Court of the Lords of the Isles from very ancient times. The MacLavertys, MacLevertys, and variations on that spelling were heralds of the great Lords of the Isles, the first Dalriadan kingdom of Scotland.

The MacLiver variant is an interesting one. "The old pronunciation was Macleever, [while] the modern is Macliver. A commission was granted Campbell of Auchinbrek and others in 1619 to apprehend Ewne M' Finla VcGillevir in Kilchoane, and John McEwne VcIlliver, who had been denounced rebels by Campbell of Barbreck. John Roy M'Gilliver in Islay, 1686. Sometimes confused with Macclure, q. v. M'Ileur (in Islay) 1733." [1]

Early History of the MacLafferty family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacLafferty research. Another 118 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1524 and 1540 are included under the topic Early MacLafferty History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacLafferty Spelling Variations

The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years MacLafferty has appeared as MacLaverty, McLaverty, McLafferty, MacLafferty, MacLardy, MacLardie, McLardy, McLardie, MacLeverty, McLeverty, MacLacharty, McLacharty and many more.

Early Notables of the MacLafferty family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early MacLafferty Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the MacLafferty family to Ireland

Some of the MacLafferty family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 31 words (2 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 MacLafferty family

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name MacLafferty or a variant listed above include: John McClarty, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856; Pat, Neil, John and Cornelius McClafferty settled in Philadelphia between 1834 and 1860.


Contemporary Notables of the name MacLafferty (post 1700) +

  • James Henry Maclafferty (1871-1937), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California (1922-1925)


The MacLafferty 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. ^ 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)


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