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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish

Where did the English McAdams family come from? What is the English McAdams family crest and coat of arms? When did the McAdams family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McAdams family history?

The history of the name McAdams begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from the given name Adam, which is itself derived from the Latin name Adamus which means earth.


The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. McAdams has been recorded under many different variations, including Adam, Adams, MacAdam, MacAdams, MacCaw and others.

First found in Annandale where they held a family seat at Kynemund.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McAdams research. Another 371 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1189, 1329, 1460, 1281, 1327, 1891, 1585, 1661, 1656, 1586, 1667, 1654, 1655, 1656, 1658, 1626, 1698, 1651, 1719, 1685, 1719, 1695, 1697, 1689, 1748, 1662, 1720, 1712, 1720 and are included under the topic Early McAdams History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 191 words (14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McAdams Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the McAdams family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 201 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name McAdams or a variant listed above:

McAdams Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George McAdams, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827
  • Robert McAdams, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838
  • William McAdams, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1841
  • Samuel McAdams, who landed in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1843
  • John McAdams, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1853

McAdams Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Alex McAdams, aged 14, who emigrated to the United States from Glasgow, in 1901
  • George McAdams, aged 39, who landed in America from Aberdeen, in 1906
  • George McAdams, aged 26, who settled in America from Sligo, in 1906
  • Bridget McAdams, aged 40, who settled in America from Leitrim, Ireland, in 1907
  • Edward McAdams, aged 33, who landed in America, in 1908

McAdams Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Catherine McAdams, aged 77, who emigrated to Sarnia, Canada, in 1921
  • James McAdams, aged 21, who settled in Halifax, Canada, in 1921


  • Scott McAdams (b. 1970), American politician, Mayor of Sitka, Alaska and Democratic nominee for United States Senator from Alaska in 2010
  • Carl McAdams (b. 1944), American professional football player who played for the New York Jets (1967-1969)
  • Janet McAdams, American author of partial Native American descent, recipient of the American Book Award in 2001
  • Francis H. McAdams (1915-1985), American member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
  • Dona Ann McAdams (b. 1954), American photographer
  • James McAdams, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, 1992
  • James McAdams, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Albany County 3rd District, 1915
  • J. L. C. McAdams, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1904
  • Harry Mayhew McAdams (1916-2008), American Democrat politician
  • Frank J. McAdams, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1948, 1952



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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. 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.
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The McAdams Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McAdams 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 10 February 2016 at 13:34.

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