McAllister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

McAllister is a very old Scottish name that may even date back to the Dalriadan tribe of Scotland's western coast and Hebrides islands. It 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 McAllister family

The surname McAllister 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 McAllister family

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

McAllister Spelling Variations

Spelling variations are a very common occurrence in records of early Scottish names. They result from the repeated and inaccurate translations that many names went through in the course of various English occupations of Scotland. McAllister has been spelled Alexander, Alistair, MacAlexander, Alisandre, Alischoner, Alsinder, Alastair, MacAlexter, Callestar, Aleckander, Alexandri, Alisdair, Alaisder, Alestare, Alistare and many more.

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

Ireland Migration of the McAllister family to Ireland

Some of the McAllister 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 McAllister migration to the United States +

Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first McAllisters to arrive in North America:

McAllister Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Angus McAllister, who arrived in New England in 1718 [2]
  • Archibald McAllister, who landed in New England in 1738-1739 [2]
  • Florance McAllister, who arrived in New York, NY in 1738 [2]
  • Richard McAllister, who landed in New England in 1738-1739 [2]
  • Margaret McAllister, who landed in New York in 1740 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McAllister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander McAllister, aged 26, who landed in New York in 1812 [2]
  • Charles McAllister, aged 23, who arrived in Delaware in 1813 [2]
  • John McAllister, who landed in America in 1814 [2]
  • Daniel McAllister, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1818 [2]
  • James McAllister, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1826 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McAllister migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McAllister Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Patrick McAllister, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1752
  • Ananias McAllister U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [3]
  • Mr. Daniel McAllister U.E. born in Argyleshire, Scotland from New Hampshire, USA who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [3]
  • Mr. John McAllister U.E. born in Argyleshire, Scotland from New Hampshire, USA who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [3]
McAllister Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John McAllister, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Robert McAllister, aged 18, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833
  • Mary McAllister, aged 10, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Pacific" from Liverpool, England
  • John McAllister, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Mr. Hugh McAllister, aged 3 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Superior" departing from the port of Londonderry, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in October 1847 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McAllister migration to Australia +

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

McAllister Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Ann McAllister, Scottish Convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atwick" on 28 September 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Mr. James McAllister, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 26th May 1843, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Henry McAllister, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1845 [7]
  • Jane McAllister, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Victoria Regia"
  • John McAllister, aged 30, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Melbourne"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McAllister 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:

McAllister Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas McAllister, aged 23, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Mr. William McAllister, Scottish settler from Arran travelling from Leith aboard the ship 'Melbourne' arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 18th March 1861 [8]
  • Henry McAllister, aged 41, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • Martha McAllister, aged 37, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • Sarah McAllister, aged 10, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McAllister (post 1700) +

  • Robert McAllister (1951-2018), American recording engineer for The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Rush, owner of Record Plant remote studio
  • The Right Reverend Gerald Nicholas McAllister (1923-2014), American prelate, 3rd Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma (1977-1989)
  • Layna McAllister, American cinematographer
  • Tim McAllister (b. 1962), American musician
  • Samuel McAllister (b. 1869), Irish-born American sailor, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Deuce McAllister (b. 1978), American NFL football player
  • Arthur H. McAllister, American Republican politician, Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Barnstead, 1956; Elected New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Barnstead 1956 [9]
  • Archibald McAllister (1813-1883), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 17th District, 1863-65 [9]
  • Anthony J. McAllister, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Kings County 21st District, 1922 [9]
  • Alexander McAllister, American politician, Member of North Carolina State Senate from Cumberland County, 1787-90, 1798; Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Cumberland County, 1820 [9]
  • ... (Another 52 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • William John McAllister (1962-1988), Scottish Passenger from Argyll, Scotland, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [10]


The McAllister 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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 42)
  5. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 23rd August 2020, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atwick)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asiatic
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ISABELLA WATSON 1845. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1845IsabellaWatson.htm
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, April 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html


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