McDonalds History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The old Scottish-Dalriadan name McDonalds is derived from the Anglicized version of the Gaelic personal name Mac Dhomhnuill. McDonalds is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. The surname McDonalds 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.

Most historians note the name claims descent through the High Kings of Ireland, namely Colla Uais and Conn of the Hundred Battles. Movement between Scotland and Ireland was very frequent over the centuries. [1]

Early Origins of the McDonalds family

The surname McDonalds 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.

Early History of the McDonalds family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDonalds research. Another 300 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1692, 1386, 1336, 1386, 1329, 1335, 1341, 1342, 1386, 1420, 1386, 1449, 1415, 1424, 1498, 1456 and are included under the topic Early McDonalds History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McDonalds Spelling Variations

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 McDonalds include MacDonald, Macdonald, McDonald, Donaldson, MacDonny and many more.

Early Notables of the McDonalds family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was John of Islay, or John MacDonald, (d. 1386), the first Lord of the Isles (1336-1386) and chief of Clan Donald. He was he was the son of Angus Og Macdonald, who died at Isla about 1329, and was buried at Icolmkill. The Macdonalds trace their descent from Donald, elder son of Refinald, second son of Sommerled of Argyll, king of the Isles. On account of a dispute with the regent regarding certain lands, John of Isla joined the party of Edward Baliol, to whom, in consideration of a grant of the lands of...
Another 354 words (25 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McDonalds Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McDonalds family to Ireland

Some of the McDonalds family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the McDonalds family

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 McDonalds were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Daniel Macdonald, who came to New Jersey sometime between 1730 and 1749; Angus McDonald who settled in Virginia in 1746; Norman and Elizabeth Macdonald, and their two children who settled in Georgia in 1741.



The McDonalds 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. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)


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