Show ContentsMacNab History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

MacNab is a name that evolved among the descendants of the people of the kingdom of Dalriada in ancient Scotland. It is a name for a person who worked as a son of an abbot. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac an Aba. They are descended from the hereditary abbots of St. Fillan's near Loch Earn. Fillan was a royal prince of the royal house of Dalriada. In the reign of William, the Lyon of Scotland, the Abbots of Glendochart held a rank equivalent to the Earls of Atholl and Menteith. The Clan held the barony of Glendochart at the west end of Loch Tay.

Early Origins of the MacNab family

The surname MacNab was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where they joined with the MacDougalls in opposing Robert the Bruce and consequently lost many of the vast territories they had held. However, the Chief of the MacNabs finally became reconciled to the Bruce, and regained many of his lost lands when King David II came to the throne of Scotland. He also received the official charter for the barony of Bowaine dated 1336. Finlay MacNab, the 4th Chief of the Clan, added considerably to the estates toward the end of the 15th century, but in 1552 another Finlay, the 6th Chief, fell into financial difficulties and mortgaged most of the Clan lands to the Campbell of Glenorchy. The Clan, however, refused to acknowledge the superiority of the Campbells

Early History of the MacNab family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacNab research. Another 403 words (29 lines of text) covering the years 1612, 1651, 1660, 1745, 1780, 1816, 1820, 1770, 1860, 1798, 1862, 1854, 1856 and are included under the topic Early MacNab History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacNab Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. MacNab has been spelled MacNab, MacNabb, MacKnab, Mac an Aba (Gaelic) and others.

Early Notables of the MacNab family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the MacNab family to Ireland

Some of the MacNab family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States MacNab migration to the United States +

Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first MacNabs to arrive on North American shores:

MacNab Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Macnab, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651 [1]
MacNab Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • D.C. Macnab, aged 47, who settled in America from Leith, in 1905
  • Robert Macnab, aged 21, who landed in America from Glasgow, in 1906
  • Cyrus MacNab, aged 13, who immigrated to the United States from Bridge of Weir, Scotland, in 1907
  • Margaret MacNab, aged 15, who landed in America from Bridge of Weir, Scotland, in 1907
  • Alexander MacNab, aged 12, who immigrated to America from Bridge of Weir, Scotland, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada MacNab migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

MacNab Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Alexander W. Macnab, aged 65, who settled in Toronto, Canada, in 1916

Contemporary Notables of the name MacNab (post 1700) +

  • Iain MacNab of Barachastlain (1890-1967), Scottish wood-engraver and painter
  • James MacNab of MacNab (1926-2013), English-born, Scottish Clan chief, 23rd Chief of the Clan MacNab, member of the Royal Company of Archers, Queen Elizabeth II's bodyguard in Scotland
  • Francis Macnab (b. 1931), Australian executive minister of St Michael's Uniting Church, Melbourne, Australia
  • John Angus Macnab (1906-1977), British conservative politician
  • Sir Allan Napier MacNab (1798-1862), 1st Baronet, Canadian Premier of the Province of Canada before Canadian Confederation (1854–1856); he had Dundurn Castle, a neoclassical mansion on York Boulevard in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada built in 1835, designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1984
  • Brigadier General John Francis Macnab (1906-1980), British Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders
  • Maurice Ronald MacNab (1902-1962), English cricketer
  • Brigadier Sir Geoffrey Alex Colin MacNab (1899-1995), Military Attaché to France

The MacNab 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: Timor omnis abesto
Motto Translation: Let fear be far from all.

  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) on Facebook