Show ContentsMacMaster History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name MacMaster was first used centuries ago in the region that was once the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. It was a name for a cleric. The Middle Gaelic word magisder is borrowed from the Latin magister. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac a Mhaighstir, which means son of the Master. [1]

Early Origins of the MacMaster family

The surname MacMaster was first found in Ardgour (Scottish Gaelic: Ard Ghobhar, meaning Height of the goats), where they were anciently derived from members of the Clan MacInnes, who changed their name.

"This surname is now found mainly in the shires of Dumfries and Wigtown, but was also the name of a sept in Ardgour traditionally said to have been dispossessed by Macleans in the fifteenth century." [1]

Early History of the MacMaster family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacMaster research. Another 72 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1433, 1498, 1582 and are included under the topic Early MacMaster History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacMaster Spelling Variations

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents MacMaster has been spelled MacMaster, McMaster, M'Master, Mac a' Mhaighstir (Gaelic) and many more.

Early Notables of the MacMaster family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the MacMaster family to Ireland

Some of the MacMaster family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 88 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States MacMaster migration to the United States +

These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The MacMaster were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

MacMaster Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Elizabeth MacMaster, who sailed to New York in 1774
  • Elizabeth Macmaster, aged 21, who arrived in New York in 1774 [2]
MacMaster Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Wm. Macmaster, aged 36, who settled in America, in 1894
MacMaster Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Dora MacMaster, aged 25, who settled in America from Belfast, in 1905
  • John MacMaster, aged 41, who immigrated to America from Leslie, Scotland, in 1907
  • Archibald Macmaster, aged 45, who landed in America from London, England, in 1910
  • Henry Vere Macmaster, aged 32, who landed in America from London, England, in 1913
  • Donald Macmaster, aged 56, who immigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1914
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada MacMaster migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

MacMaster Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Angus MacMaster migrated from Lochaber, Inverness to Inverness County, Nova Scotia in 1802
  • William MacMaster (1811-1887), born in County Tyrone was the founder of the University of Toronto
MacMaster Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Charles Adolphus MacMaster, aged 66, who immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1919

Contemporary Notables of the name MacMaster (post 1700) +

  • Erasmus D. MacMaster D.D. (1806-1866), American Presbyterian pastor, academic and theologian, President of Hanover College and Miami University
  • John Bach MacMaster (1852-1932), American historian
  • Mary Macmaster (b. 1955), Scottish harpist, known for her work with The Poozies and the duo Sileas
  • Kenneth "Ken" MacMaster (b. 1934), Canadian politician, member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1977 to 1981
  • Daniel Stewart MacMaster (1968-2008), Canadian singer, lead vocalist for the Canadian/British hard rock band Bonham
  • Sir Donald Macmaster KC (1846-1922), 1st Baronet, Canadian lawyer and a politician
  • Hugh Alan "Buddy" MacMaster CM, ONS (1924-2014), Canadian fiddle player, known as King of the Jigs, uncle of Natalie MacMaster
  • Allan MacMaster (b. 1974), Canadian politician in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly
  • Natalie MacMaster CM (b. 1973), Canadian two-time Juno Award winning fiddler from Inverness County, Nova Scotia

The MacMaster 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: MacAonghais a-rithist
Motto Translation: Again MacInnes

  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)
  2. 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) on Facebook