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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.

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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.


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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.

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

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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.

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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


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  • 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


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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 and by land.

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  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  5. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  10. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. 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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