McNab History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the McNab family

The surname McNab was 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

Early History of the McNab family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNab research. Another 403 words (29 lines of text) covering the years 1612, 1651, 1660, 1745, 1780, 1816, 1820, 1770, 1860, 1798, 1862, 1854, 1856 and are included under the topic Early McNab History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McNab Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the McNab family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McNab family to Ireland

Some of the McNab family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McNab 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 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 [1]
  • Helen McNab, aged 42, who arrived in New York, NY in 1775 [1]
  • William McNab, who landed in America in 1782 [1]
McNab Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John McNab, aged 31, who landed in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Peter McNab, aged 38, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Archibald McNab, aged 29, who landed in New York, NY in 1812-1813 [1]

Canada McNab migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McNab Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James McNab U.E. who settled in Saint Johns, New Brunswick c. 1784 [2]
McNab Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • David McNab, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Alexander McNab, aged 38, a farmer, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Catherine McNab, aged 25, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • John McNab, aged 2, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Janet McNab, aged 1, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McNab migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

McNab Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John McNab, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Indus" in 1839 [3]

New Zealand McNab 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:

McNab Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Mcnab, Canadian settler from Baddeck travelling from Cape Breton aboard the ship "Spray" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 25th June 1857 [4]
  • Mr. Robert Mcnab, Canadian settler from Baddeck travelling from Cape Breton aboard the ship "Spray" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 25th June 1857 [4]
  • Alexander McNab, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Christian McNab, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Mrs. McNab, Australian settler travelling from Melbourne, Victoria aboard the ship "Drover" arriving in Invercargill, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 4th September 1863 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McNab (post 1700) +

  • Alex "Alec" McNab (1895-1960), Scottish-born, American soccer player and coach, inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame (2005)
  • Walter Scott McNab, American Republican politician, Member of New York State Assembly, 1915-19; Delegate to New York State Constitutional Convention 32nd District, 1938 [6]
  • W. G. McNab, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Michigan 14th District, 1948 [6]
  • Rebecca H. McNab, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1956, 1964; Member of New York Republican State Committee, 1961 [6]
  • John L. McNab, American Republican politician, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, 1912-13; Presidential Elector for California, 1924; Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1928, 1932 [6]
  • Gavin McNab, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1920, 1924 [6]
  • John "Jock" McNab (b. 1894), Scottish international footballer
  • Neil McNab (b. 1957), former Scottish footballer
  • William McNab (b. 1870), Scottish professional association footballer
  • William Ramsay McNab (1844-1889), Scottish physician and botanist
  • ... (Another 20 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


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


  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)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) INDUS 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Indus.htm
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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