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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Scottish McCleave family come from? What is the Scottish McCleave family crest and coat of arms? When did the McCleave family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McCleave family history?

The name McCleave is an age-old Dalriadan-Scottish nickname for a prominent ruler. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Fhlaithbheartaich, which means son of the dominion bearing, or son of the ruler. The name is a cognate of the Irish name Flaherty, which is Flaithbheartach in Gaelic. Flaithbheartach, in modern Irish, means generous or hospitable, which may hint at some of the qualities that are described by the name McCleave.


The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years McCleave has appeared as MacLaverty, McLaverty, McLafferty, MacLafferty, MacLardy, MacLardie, McLardy, McLardie, MacLeverty, McLeverty, MacLacharty, McLacharty and many more.

First found in Islay, one of the Hebridean islands, and Court of the Lords of the Isles from very ancient times. The MacLavertys, MacLevertys, and variations on that spelling were heralds of the great Lords of the Isles, the first Dalriadan kingdom of Scotland.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCleave research. Another 253 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1524 and 1540 are included under the topic Early McCleave History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early McCleave Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the McCleave family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 130 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McCleave Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Francis McCleave, aged 30, a carpenter, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Sarah McCleave, aged 28, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Mary McCleave, aged 6, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Margaret McCleave, aged 4, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Martha McCleave, aged 2, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884


  • David "Dave" Edward McCleave (1911-1988), English Olympic gold medalist boxer at the 1934 Summer Olympics
  • Robert Jardine McCleave (1922-2004), Canadian Progressive Conservative party member of the Canadian House of Commons


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 and by land.


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  1. 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.
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  8. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  9. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  11. ...

The McCleave Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McCleave 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 29 May 2013 at 08:13.

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