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The sea-swept Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland, made up the ancient Dalriadan kingdom, the ancestral home of the McAlister family. 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.

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The surname McAlister was first found in Kintyre, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Many spelling variations of McAlister have been recorded over the years, including These are the result of the medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English. Alexander, Alistair, MacAlexander, Alisandre, Alischoner, Alsinder, Alastair, MacAlexter, Callestar, Aleckander, Alexandri, Alisdair, Alaisder, Alestare, Alistare and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McAlister research. Another 925 words (66 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, 1797 and are included under the topic Early McAlister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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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 McAlister Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the McAlister family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 187 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the McAlister family emigrate to North America:

McAlister Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Archibald McAlister, who arrived in America in 1730
  • Elizabeth McAlister, who arrived in New York, NY in 1738
  • Florence McAlister, who landed in New York in 1738
  • Angus McAlister, who arrived in New York in 1738
  • Charles McAlister, who landed in New York in 1739
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McAlister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John McAlister, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1801
  • Anthony McAlister, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Hugh McAlister, aged 26, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1834
  • James McAlister, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1854
  • Susan McAlister, aged 30, landed in New York in 1854

McAlister Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jonathan McAlister, aged 24, landed in Quebec in 1833
  • William McAlister, aged 30, landed in Quebec in 1833

McAlister Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James McAlister arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bruce" in 1846
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  • Jim McAlister (b. 1957), American soccer defender
  • Fred McAlister (1928-2008), American Minor League baseball player and Major League Baseball scout
  • Ernie McAlister (b. 1957), American politician, Mayor of Cary, North Carolina from 2003-2007
  • Barbara McAlister (b. 1941), Native-American mezzo soprano opera singer
  • Barbara McAlister, American gold medalist diver at the 1963 Pan American Games featured on the cover of the magazine Sports Illustrated
  • John R. McAlister, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from Ohio, 2000
  • Harry Hill McAlister (1875-1959), American Democrat politician, Member of Tennessee State Senate, 1911-13; Presidential Elector for Tennessee, 1916; Tennessee Democratic State Chair, 1918-20; Tennessee State Treasurer, 1919-27, 1931-33; Governor of Tennessee, 1933-37
  • Elmer J. McAlister, American Republican politician, Candidate for New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Rochester 2nd Ward, 1938
  • A. C. McAlister, American politician, Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Alamance County, 1870
  • A. C. McAlister, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 10th District, 1862
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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.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
    3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
    5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
    6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    8. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
    9. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
    10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
    11. ...

    The McAlister Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McAlister 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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