McAilister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
On the Scottish west coast, the McAilister family was born among the ancient Dalriadan clans. Their name comes from the given name Alexander, which in turn was originally derived from the Greek name, which means defender of men. In the late 11th century, Queen Margaret introduced the name, which she had heard in the Hungarian Court where she was raised, into Scotland by naming one of her sons Alexander. The popularity of the name Alexander was ensured by the fact that it was born by three Scottish kings, the first being Margaret's son who succeeded to the throne of Scotland following the death of Malcolm III.
Early Origins of the McAilister family
The surname McAilister was first found in Kintyre, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
"As a surname Alexander is very common on the west coast, where, according to the authors of Clan Donald, some of the descendants of Godfrey, second son of Alastair Mor, appear to have settled in the Carrick district of Ayrshire. " 
The Clan MacAllistair, Alisdair being the Gaelic for Alexander, are descended from the great King Somerled. Somerled had five sons, by his marriage to Ragnhildis, daughter of the Norwegian King of the Isles, Olaf Morsel. In the MacAllister line, Ranald had two sons, Ruari and Donald, and Donald had two sons, Angus and Alisdair. Alisdair living about 1230 to 1295 claimed the territory in South Knapdale, Kintyre, the ancient Clan seat was at Ard Phadraid (Patrick's Point) on the south side of Loch Tarbot. Alisdair (known as Alisdair Mor (the big)) is the recognized founder of the Clan. On his death, his estates were given to his brother and heir who was one of Bruce's supporters, Angus Mor.
Early History of the McAilister family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McAilister research. Another 462 words (33 lines of text) covering the years 1230, 1295, 1475, 1602, 1200, 1605, 1615, 1765, 1846, 1431, 1570, 1640, 1614, 1588, 1655, 1640, 1643, 1619, 1681, 1665, 1681, 1620, 1665, 1660, 1665, 1653, 1686, 1743, 1797 and are included under the topic Early McAilister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McAilister Spelling Variations
In the Middle Ages, the translation between Gaelic and English was not a highly developed process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and so, an enormous number of spelling variations appear in records of early Scottish names. McAilister has appeared as Alexander, Alistair, MacAlexander, Alisandre, Alischoner, Alsinder, Alastair, MacAlexter, Callestar, Aleckander, Alexandri, Alisdair, Alaisder, Alestare, Alistare and many more.
Early Notables of the McAilister family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Sir William Alexander (circa 1570-1640), 1st Earl of Stirling, Scottish government official, knighted in 1614, appointed Governor of the barony of Nova Scotia; William Allestry (Allestrie) (1588-1655), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons of England (1640-1643)...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McAilister Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McAilister family to Ireland
Some of the McAilister family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 153 words (11 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 McAilister family
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 McAilister were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, who colonized Nova Scotia, in Antigonish, Pictou, the Carolinas, Virginia and Upper Canada. Richard H. Alexander, traveled from Ontario in a group called the ".
Related Stories +
The McAilister 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, by land.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print