McCleave History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the McCleave family

The surname McCleave was 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.

The MacLiver variant is an interesting one. "The old pronunciation was Macleever, [while] the modern is Macliver. A commission was granted Campbell of Auchinbrek and others in 1619 to apprehend Ewne M' Finla VcGillevir in Kilchoane, and John McEwne VcIlliver, who had been denounced rebels by Campbell of Barbreck. John Roy M'Gilliver in Islay, 1686. Sometimes confused with Macclure, q. v. M'Ileur (in Islay) 1733." [1]

Early History of the McCleave family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCleave research. Another 118 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1524 and 1540 are included under the topic Early McCleave History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCleave Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the McCleave family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McCleave family to Ireland

Some of the McCleave family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


New Zealand McCleave 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:

McCleave Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Francis McCleave, aged 30, a carpenter, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Sarah McCleave, aged 28, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Mary McCleave, aged 6, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Margaret McCleave, aged 4, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Martha McCleave, aged 2, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McCleave (post 1700) +

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


The McCleave 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 and by land.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)


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