Show ContentsMcCallister History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The west coast of Scotland and the rocky Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the McCallister family. The root of their name is 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 McCallister family

The surname McCallister 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 McCallister family

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

McCallister Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. McCallister 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 McCallister 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 McCallister Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCallister Ranking

In the United States, the name McCallister is the 4,172nd most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the McCallister family to Ireland

Some of the McCallister 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 McCallister 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 McCallisters to arrive in North America:

McCallister Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Cornelius McCallister, who arrived in New Castle, Del in 1792 [3]
McCallister Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Felix McCallister, who arrived in America in 1811 [3]
  • John McCallister, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1814 [3]
  • Archibald McCallister, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1837 [3]
  • David McCallister, who landed in Texas in 1850 [3]
  • Alex McCallister, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1855 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McCallister Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Annie McCallister, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States from Newcastlewood, in 1905
  • William McCallister, aged 22, who settled in America from St. John's, Newfoundland in 1905
  • Mary McCallister, aged 23, who immigrated to America from Down, in 1906
  • Michael McCallister, aged 2, who landed in America from Portrush, Ireland, in 1907
  • Charles McCallister, aged 3, who immigrated to America from Portrush, Ireland, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McCallister 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:

McCallister Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Mccallister, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th April 1863 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name McCallister (post 1700) +

  • Herbert Alonzo "Lon" McCallister Jr. (1923-2005), American actor, best known for his roles in The Red House (1947), The Story of Seabiscuit (1949) and The Big Cat (1949)
  • Blaine McCallister (b. 1958), American PGA golfer who has had 5 PGA Tour Wins
  • Michael McCallister, American chief executive of Humana, a health insurance company
  • Herbert Alonzo "Lon" McCallister Jr. (1923-2005), American actor who appeared with Edward G. Robinson in The Red House and with Shirley Temple in The Story of Seabiscuit (1947)
  • Jack McCallister (1879-1946), American Major League Baseball coach and manager of the Cleveland Indians
  • Charles McCallister (1903-1997), American bronze medalist water polo player at the 1932 Summer Olympics
  • Robert "Bob" McCallister (b. 1934), American PGA and Senior PGA golfer
  • John McCallister MLA (b. 1972), Northern Ireland Unionist politician, Deputy Leader of NI21 (2013-2014), Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (2010-2012)

The McCallister 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook