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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Scottish McNab family come from? What is the Scottish McNab family crest and coat of arms? When did the McNab family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McNab family history?

McNab is a name that evolved among the descendants of the people of the kingdom of Dalriada in ancient Scotland. It is a name for a person who worked as a son of an abbot. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac an Aba. They are descended from the hereditary abbots of St. Fillan's near Loch Earn. Fillan was a royal prince of the royal house of Dalriada. In the reign of William, the Lyon of Scotland, the Abbots of Glendochart held a rank equivalent to the Earls of Atholl and Menteith. The Clan held the barony of Glendochart at the west end of Loch Tay.


Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. McNab has been spelled MacNab, MacNabb, MacKnab, Mac an Aba (Gaelic) and others.

First found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where they joined with the MacDougalls in opposing Robert the Bruce and consequently lost many of the vast territories they had held. However, the Chief of the MacNabs finally became reconciled to the Bruce, and regained many of his lost lands when King David II came to the throne of Scotland. He also received the official charter for the barony of Bowaine dated 1336. Finlay MacNab, the 4th Chief of the Clan, added considerably to the estates toward the end of the 15th century, but in 1552 another Finlay, the 6th chief, fell into financial difficulties and mortgaged most of the Clan lands to the Campbell of Glenorchy. The Clan, however, refused to acknowledge the superiority of the Campbells


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNab research. Another 612 words(44 lines of text) covering the years 1612, 1651, 1660, 1745, 1770, 1780, 1798, 1816, 1820, 1854, 1856, 1860, and 1862 are included under the topic Early McNab History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early McNab Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the McNab family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 155 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 McNabs to arrive on North American shores:

McNab Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Andrew McNab, who arrived in North Carolina in 1748
  • Helen McNab, aged 42, arrived in New York, NY in 1775
  • William McNab, who landed in America in 1782

McNab Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John McNab, aged 31, landed in New York in 1812
  • Peter McNab, aged 38, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Archibald McNab, aged 29, landed in New York, NY in 1812-1813

McNab Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • David McNab, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Alexander McNab, aged 38, a farmer, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Catherine McNab, aged 25, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • John McNab, aged 2, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Janet McNab, aged 1, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815

McNab Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John McNab arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Indus" in 1839

McNab Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alexander McNab arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Christian McNab arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859


  • Alex "Alec" McNab (1895-1960), Scottish-born, American soccer player and coach, inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame (2005)
  • William Ramsay McNab (1844-1889), Scottish physician and botanist
  • William McNab (b. 1870), Scottish professional association footballer
  • Neil McNab (b. 1957), former Scottish footballer
  • John "Jock" McNab (b. 1894), Scottish international footballer
  • Bob McNab (b. 1943), English football player
  • Colin McNab (b. 1961), British chess Grandmaster
  • William McNab (1855-1923), one of Canada's most important pioneering railway engineers
  • Robert McNab (1864-1917), New Zealand lawyer, farmer, historian, and politician of the Liberal Party
  • Robert "Bob" McNab (b. 1943), English former footballer



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: Timor omnis abesto
Motto Translation: Let fear be far from all.


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  1. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  6. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  11. ...

The McNab Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McNab 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 30 June 2014 at 20:24.

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