McIsaac History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McIsaac family comes from the ancient Scottish Dalriadan clans of the mountainous west coast of Scotland. The name McIsaac is derived from the personal name Isaac. The Gaelic forms of the name are Mac Isaac or Mac Iosaig, both of which mean son of Isaac. [1]

Early Origins of the McIsaac family

The surname McIsaac was first found in Inverness, where one of the first records of the family was in 1476 when "the lands of Ardere in the barony of Clastray were resigned by Mariot, daughter of Molmoria M'Kesek." [1]

Spelling variations for the family are quite varied: Mackessack, Mackissack, Mackissock, Mackissek, Makesaig (1592), Makkessake (1591), McKisack (1684) and many more.

In 1496, Donald Makessaig was recorded at Kilmun and he is probably the Donald McEsayg recorded in 1511. "John M'Intheir was convicted in 1623 for letting M'Keissik's 'bairnis the for hunger' in Breadalbane (BRT., p. 379 -there was probably a famine). Marion MacKissock was resident in the parish of Boyne, 1684, Elspet M'Kissick in Relliclone, parish of Madertie, 1658 (Dunkeld)." [1]

Early History of the McIsaac family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McIsaac research. Another 156 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1685 and 1871 are included under the topic Early McIsaac History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McIsaac Spelling Variations

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. McIsaac has appeared in various documents spelled MacIsaac, MacIsaack and others.

Early Notables of the McIsaac family (pre 1700)

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


United States McIsaac migration to the United States +

Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name McIsaac or a variant listed above:

McIsaac Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Murdoch McIsaac who settled in New England in 1685
McIsaac Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Malcom McIsaac, aged 29, who landed in New York, NY in 1775 [2]
McIsaac Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Euphemia Tod McIsaac, who arrived in Ohio in 1844 [2]

Canada McIsaac migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McIsaac Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Angus McIsaac, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Cath McIsaac, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Duncan McIsaac, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Mary McIsaac, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801

New Zealand McIsaac 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:

McIsaac Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Alexander McIsaac, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ellen Lewis" in 1860
  • Allan McIsaac, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ellen Lewis" in 1860
  • Donald McIsaac, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ellen Lewis" in 1860
  • Angus McIsaac, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ellen Lewis" in 1860
  • John McIsaac, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ellen Lewis" in 1860
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McIsaac (post 1700) +

  • Justin McIsaac (b. 1978), semi-retired American professional wrestler
  • William "Billy" McIsaac (b. 1949), Scottish musician
  • Hilary McIsaac (1820-1901), Canadian farmer, shipbuilder and politician who represented 2nd Kings in the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island from 1872 to 1879
  • Hazel A. McIsaac (1933-2012), Newfoundland politician who represented St. George's from 1975 to 1979, eponym of the ferry MV Hazel McIsaac
  • Joseph Clifford "Cliff" McIsaac (1930-2006), Canadian veterinarian and politician, MLA for Wilkie, Saskatchewan (1964-1975)
  • Tai McIsaac (b. 1975), Australian former rugby union footballer and current coach, two-time member of the Australia National Team (2006 and 2003)
  • Shona McIsaac (b. 1960), British Labour Party politician, Member of Parliament for Cleethorpes (1997-2010)
  • James McIsaac (1854-1927), Canadian journalist and politician who represented King's, Prince Edward island in the Canadian House of Commons from 1917 to 1921
  • Colin Francis McIsaac (1854-1927), Canadian lawyer and politician in Nova Scotia who represented Antigonish from 1895 to 1905
  • Angus McIsaac (1842-1902), Canadian lawyer, judge and politician in Nova Scotia who represented Antigonish from 1873 to 1885


  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)
  2. ^ 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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