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Origins Available: Scottish-Alt, Scottish


The old Scottish-Dalriadan name McDonald is derived from the Anglicized version of the Gaelic personal name Mac Dhomhnuill. McDonald is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. The surname McDonald arose from the vernacular naming tradition, whereby surnames were formed by adopting the given name of one's father, or another ancestor. This name was first found in Kintyre, where members of this family had resided for many years.

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The surname McDonald was first found in Kintyre, and much of the Eastern islands and coast-lands where members of this Clan, descended through Somerled, Lord of the Isles and had resided for many years.

Translation in medieval times was an undeveloped science and was often carried out without due care. For this reason, many early Scottish names appeared radically altered when written in English. The spelling variations of McDonald include MacDonald, Macdonald, McDonald, Donaldson, MacDonny and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDonald research. Another 435 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1336, 1386, 1423, 1437, 1449, 1603, and 1692 are included under the topic Early McDonald History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Notable amongst the Clan from early times was John of Islay, or John MacDonald, (d. 1386), who was the Lord of the Isles (1336-86) and chief of Clan...

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McDonald Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the McDonald family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 164 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The McDonald were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

McDonald Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Bryan McDonald, who arrived in New Castle, Del in 1690

McDonald Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Caul McDonald, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716
  • Rose McDonald, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716
  • Randal McDonald, who arrived in New England in 1718
  • Mary McDonald, who landed in New York in 1738
  • Anna McDonald, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1738
  • ...

McDonald Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Allen McDonald, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Daniel McDonald, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806
  • Thomas McDonald, who arrived in America in 1806
  • Archibald McDonald, who arrived in America in 1809
  • Lauchlin McDonald, aged 27, arrived in North Carolina in 1812
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McDonald Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • James Edward McDonald, who arrived in Mississippi in 1900
  • Robert Walter McDonald, who arrived in Mississippi in 1900
  • W A McDonald, who arrived in Mississippi in 1900
  • Hans Peter McDonald, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1907
  • Samuel McDonald, who landed in Alabama in 1921

McDonald Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Peter McDonald, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mary McDonald, who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Mary McDonald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1773
  • John McDonald, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • John McDonald, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1773
  • ...

McDonald Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • William McDonald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • James McDonald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Hugh McDonald, aged 3, landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Isobel McDonald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Janet McDonald, aged 3, arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
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McDonald Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Francis McDonald, English convict from Devon, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Alexander McDonald, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • John McDonald, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Robert McDonald, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • William McDonald, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
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McDonald Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Adam Cummings McDonald landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • D McDonald landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Blenheim
  • Peter McDonald landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • W H McDonald landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Glenbevie
  • William McDonald landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
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  • Forrest McDonald (1927-2016), American historian, considered one of the foremost historians of the U.S. Constitution and of the early American period
  • Andrew Joseph McDonald (1923-2014), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Little Rock from 1972 to 2000
  • Michael F. McDonald, American politician, Member of Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, 1899; Democratic Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1900
  • Miles F. McDonald, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, 1945; Justice of New York Supreme Court 2nd District, 1958
  • Milford Edgar McDonald, American politician, Member of South Carolina State Senate, 1968-78 (27th District 1968, 1st District 1969-78)
  • Milton McDonald, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1941
  • Nancy McDonald, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives 76th District
  • Nathan P. McDonald, American politician, Delegate to Nebraska State Constitutional Convention, 1919-20
  • Noah A. McDonald, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Bangkok, 1884
  • Parker Lee McDonald, American politician, Justice of Florida State Supreme Court, 1979-94
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McDonald Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. Charles Keven McDonald, British Junior 4th Engineer from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. Alexander Betteley McDonald, British Purser from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. Louis Adam McDonald, British Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914

Halifax Explosion

  • Mrs. Catherine  McDonald, Canadian resident from Poor Farm Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Mary  McDonald (1850-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Mary  McDonald (1856-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Margaret  McDonald, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. John  McDonald (1874-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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HMAS Sydney II

  • Mr. John Dennis McDonald (1918-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Waterloo, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking

HMS Hood

  • Mr. Wallace McDonald (b. 1913), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Harold McDonald (b. 1910), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Ewen McDonald (b. 1920), Scottish Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Mallaig, Inverness, Scotland, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. Donald Mcdonald, British Electrical Artificer, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. James McDonald, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. John Mcdonald, English Fireman from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Charles Mcdonald, English First Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. James Mcdonald, English Trimmer from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
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  • Kincannon and McDonald of Southwest Virginia by David B. Trimble.
  • Never Say Die by Julia Davis.
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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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Citations



    Other References

    1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    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. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    5. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
    6. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
    7. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
    8. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
    9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    10. 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.
    11. ...

    The McDonald Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McDonald 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 2 August 2016 at 10:42.

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