McAlister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the McAlister family

The surname McAlister 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. " [1]

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 McAlister family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McAlister 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 McAlister History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McAlister Spelling Variations

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.

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

Ireland Migration of the McAlister family to Ireland

Some of the McAlister 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.


United States McAlister migration to the United States +

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 [2]
  • Elizabeth McAlister, who arrived in New York, NY in 1738 [2]
  • Florence McAlister, who landed in New York in 1738 [2]
  • Angus McAlister, who arrived in New York in 1738 [2]
  • Charles McAlister, who landed in New York in 1739 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McAlister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John McAlister, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1801 [2]
  • Anthony McAlister, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • Hugh McAlister, aged 26, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1834 [2]
  • James McAlister, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1854 [2]
  • Susan McAlister, aged 30, who landed in New York in 1854 [2]

Canada McAlister migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McAlister Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Jonathan McAlister, aged 24, who landed in Quebec in 1833
  • William McAlister, aged 30, who landed in Quebec in 1833

Australia McAlister migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

McAlister Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James McAlister, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bruce" in 1846 [3]

New Zealand McAlister migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McAlister Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann C Mcalister, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 3rd November 1859 [4]
  • Mr. John Mcalister, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 3rd November 1859 [4]
  • Mr. Hugh Mcalister, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 3rd November 1859 [4]
  • Mr. Duncan McAlister, (b. 1846), aged 28, Scottish blacksmith, from Lanark travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [4]
  • Mrs. Margaret McAlister, (b. 1846), aged 28, Scottish settler, from Lanark travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McAlister (post 1700) +

  • 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
  • Christopher "Chris" James McAlister (b. 1977), American NFL football player
  • John R. McAlister, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from Ohio, 2000 [5]
  • 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 [5]
  • Elmer J. McAlister, American Republican politician, Candidate for New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Rochester 2nd Ward, 1938 [5]
  • A. C. McAlister, American politician, Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Alamance County, 1870 [5]
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The McAlister 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.


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  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)
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY BRUCE 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846LadyBruce.htm
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook
Shipping
Fastest Delivery Possible

Digital Products on Checkout, all other products filled in 1 business day

Money Back
Money Back Guarantee

Yes, all products 100% Guaranteed

Support
BBB A+ Rating

The Best Rating possible

Payment
Secure Online Payment

Entire site uses SSL / Secure Certificate