Show ContentsMcMath History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

On the western coast of Scotland and on the Hebrides islands the McMath family was born among the ancient Dalriadan clans. Their name comes from the son of Matthew. [1] In Gaelic, the name was spelled M'Mhathain or Mathanach. The latter names in Gaelic were probably derived from Mac Mhathghamhuin which means son of the bear. Indeed, early references of the name have reference to the Scottish bear. [2] [3]

Today, early legal records provide a plethora of information about the family with various early spellings. Some of the first records include, "Robertus filius Mathei [who] witnessed a charter by Walter filius Alani, a. 1177. John Mathyson and Michael Mathowson were outlawed as part guilty of the slaughter of Walter de Ogilvy, Sheriff of Angus, in 1392." [3]

Early Origins of the McMath family

The surname McMath was first found in the Scottish Highlands were they could be found in Lochalsh, Lochcarron and Kintail. They are said to descend from Gilleoin of the ancient and royal house of Lorne. They gave their allegiance to the Clan MacDonald, the Lord of the Isles. Kenneth MacMathan (Cormac Mac Mathian) was the constable of Eilean Donan castle and is recorded in most accounts of the invasion of King Haakon IV of Norway against Scotland in the 13th century. One accounts suggests that McMathan and his clansmen fought under the Earl of Ross, defeating Haaken at Largs in 1263.

There is a record of Kermac Macmaghan in Inverness, receiving 20 cows from the Earl of Ross in 1264. "In the Norse Saga he is called Kjarmak son of Makamal = Corniac Macmathan. The Siol Mhathain, a sept of Matheson, in an old Gaelic song appears as Siol Mhothan. Matheson has been adopted as the English form of the name simply on account of the similarity of sound." [3]

Early History of the McMath family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McMath research. Another 418 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1263, 1400, 1411, 1427, 1498, 1514, 1427, 1600, 1539, 1570, 1631, 1688, 1715, 1719, 1820, 1851, 1683, 1796, 1878, 1851 and 1963 are included under the topic Early McMath History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McMath Spelling Variations

In various documents McMath has been spelled Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations. Mathieson, MacMaghan, MacMathan MacMaken, Mathie, Mann and many more.

Early Notables of the McMath family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Margaret Matson, one of two women tried in Philadelphia for witchcraft in 1683; Sir James Nicolas Sutherland Matheson (1796-1878), born in Shiness, Lairg, who made a great fortune in the opium trade, and was created the 1st Baronet of Lewis in 1851. His family proceeded to buy the former Clan territories: James Matheson...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McMath Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McMath Ranking

In the United States, the name McMath is the 10,868th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the McMath family to Ireland

Some of the McMath family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States McMath 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 McMath or a variant listed above:

McMath Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Agnes S. McMath, aged 17, who immigrated to the United States from Oldham, in 1897
  • Alice N. McMath, aged 11, who landed in America from Oldham, in 1897
McMath Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Geo. McMath, aged 23, who landed in America from Scotland, in 1902
  • Agnes McMath, aged 21, who immigrated to America from Derry, Ireland, in 1907
  • Jessie McMath, aged 26, who immigrated to America from Girvan, Scotland, in 1907
  • Agnes McMath, aged 26, who landed in America from Girvan, Scotland, in 1909
  • Herbert McMath, aged 31, who settled in America, in 1919
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McMath 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:

McMath Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • David McMath, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859 [5]
  • M Mcmath, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [6]
  • Mr. David Mcmath, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [6]
  • Miss Mcmath, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [6]
  • Mr. McMath, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Rangitiki" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 25th March 1875 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name McMath (post 1700) +

  • Robert C. "Bob" McMath Jr. (b. 1944), American historian and academic, Dean of the Honors College of the University of Arkansas
  • Virginia McMath (1911-1995), birth name of Ginger Rogers, American Academy Award winning actress, dancer, and singer who made 73 films, best known for her acting and dancing roles with Fred Astaire
  • Major General Sidney Sanders "Sid" McMath (1912-2003), American decorated U.S. Marine and politician, 34th Governor of Arkansas (1949-1953)
  • Robert Raynolds McMath (1891-1962), American solar astronomer, awarded the Franklin Institute's John Price Wetherill Medal in 1933
  • Herbert Louis "Herb" McMath (b. 1954), former American NFL football defensive tackle and defensive end from Coahoma, Mississippi
  • Jimmy Lee McMath (1949-2010), American Major League Baseball player
  • Francis Charles McMath (1867-1938), American engineer and amateur astronomer, eponym of the McMath lunar crater
  • Mrs. Katherine Sally McMath O.B.E., British County President for Girlguiding West Lothian, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Girlguiding and to the community in West Lothian [8]
  • Paula McMath, Canadian singer-songwriter

The McMath 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: Fac et Spera
Motto Translation: Do and hope.

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 5th November 2010). Retrieved from
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  8. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook