McElhany History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The age-old Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the McElhany family. Their name comes from the Gaelic expression "the son of the servant Storm."

Early Origins of the McElhany family

The surname McElhany was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the McElhany family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McElhany research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1428 is included under the topic Early McElhany History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McElhany Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McElhany has been spelled MacAloney, McAloney, MacAlonie, McAlonie, MacIlhenny, McIlhenny, MacIlhinny, McIlhinny, MacIlhiney, McIlhiney, MacIlhinney, McIlhinney, MacIldowney, McIldowney, MacIldownie, McIldownie, MacGilloney, McGilloney, MacGillonie, McGillonie, MacAlloon, McAlloon, MacAlooni, McAlooni, MacElheaney, McElheaney, MacElhiney, McElhiney, MacElhinney and many more.

Early Notables of the McElhany family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McElhany family to Ireland

Some of the McElhany family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 100 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McElhany migration to the United States +

Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first McElhanys to arrive on North American shores:

McElhany Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Peter McElhany, aged 33, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name McElhany (post 1700) +

  • William W. McElhany, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Allegheny County, 1897-1900
  • William T. McElhany, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 3rd District, 1867-69
  • Robert J. McElhany, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Springfield, Missouri, 1845-49


The McElhany 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: Aonaibh ri cheile
Motto Translation: Unite.


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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