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

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

An ancient Scottish people known as the Picts were the forefathers of the McPherson family. McPherson is a name for a parson. The Gaelic forms of the names are Mac a' Phearsain and Mac a Phearsoin, which mean son of the parson. This was the surname of various ecclesiastical families in Scotland and is descended from a Chief of the great Clan Chattan ('tribe of the cats'), called Gille Chattan. This Chief can, in turn, be traced back to Feachar the Long, King of Lorn who died in 697 AD. The Clan's original territories were in Stratthnairn, Strathdearn and Badenoch from whence they long contested the leadership of the Clan Chattan with the MacKintoshes, who also claimed descent from the Gille Chattan through a female heiress.

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During the Middle Ages, there was no basic set of rules and scribes wrote according to sound. The correct spelling of Scottish names were further compromised after many haphazard translations from Gaelic to English and back. Spelling variations of the name McPherson include MacPherson, McPherson, MacPhersone, Mac a' Phearsoin (Gaelic) and many more.

First found in Inverness, where they were hereditary keepers of the sacred stone of St. Catan, and early Chief of the Clan Chattan. The MacPhersons are sometimes called the Clan Mhuirich, 'the children of Muredach,' from an early Chief of the Clan, Duncan (the Parson) who was imprisoned with the Lord of the Isles after the Battle of Harlaw (1411).


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McPherson research. Another 1047 words(75 lines of text) covering the years 1490, 1528, 1600, 1645, 1672, 1689, 1688, 1715, 1745, 1745, 1784, 1932, 1675, 1700, 1776 and 1783 are included under the topic Early McPherson History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 165 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McPherson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Scots left their country by the thousands to travel to Australia and North America. Desperate for freedom and an opportunity to fend for themselves, many paid huge fees and suffered under terrible conditions on long voyages. Still, for those who made the trip, freedom and opportunity awaited. In North America, many fought their old English oppressors in the American War of Independence. In recent years, Scottish heritage has been an increasingly important topic, as Clan societies and other organizations have renewed people's interest in their history. An examination of passenger and immigration lists shows many early settlers bearing the name of McPherson:

McPherson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Alexander McPherson, who settled in south Carolina in 1716
  • Alexander McPherson, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716
  • Owen McPherson, who landed in Virginia in 1716
  • William McPherson, who arrived in Maryland in 1716
  • Mary McPherson, who landed in Massachusetts in 1729


McPherson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • George McPherson, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812
  • Duncan McPherson, who arrived in New York in 1812
  • Walter McPherson, aged 38, landed in New York in 1812
  • Eliza McPherson, aged 37, arrived in New York, NY in 1822
  • Daniel McPherson, who arrived in New York in 1841


McPherson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Ann McPherson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Hugh McPherson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Kate McPherson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Peter McPherson, aged 42, a ploughman, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • Helen McPherson, aged 40, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815


McPherson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Nelson Trafalgar McPherson, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Alexander McPherson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tomatin" in 1840
  • Catherine McPherson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tomatin" in 1840
  • Ann McPherson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tomatin" in 1840
  • Margaret McPherson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tomatin" in 1840


McPherson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James McPherson, aged 27, a wright, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • Jane McPherson, aged 27, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • William McPherson, aged 29, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • Ann McPherson, aged 27, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • Archibald McPherson, aged 28, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842


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  • Bruce A. McPherson (b. 1944), American politician, 30th Secretary of State of California (2005-2007)
  • James Alan McPherson (b. 1943), American novelist and short story writer awarded the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • William McPherson (b. 1933), American editor and literary critic awarded the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
  • James Birdseye McPherson (1828-1864), American general of the Union Army during the American Civil War
  • Dallas Lyle McPherson (b. 1980), American Major League Baseball third baseman
  • Donald G. McPherson (b. 1965), American former NFL and CFL quarterback, current a college football commentator for SportsNet New York, inducted into the NCAA College Football Hall of Fame in 2008
  • William Joseph "Joe" McPherson Jr. (b. 1950), American politician, Louisiana State Senator (1984-1996)
  • Tom McPherson (b. 1935), American politician, 1st Mayor of Cooper City, Florida
  • Edward McPherson (1830-1895), American newspaper editor and politician, director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association
  • Jonathan David "JD" McPherson (b. 1977), American singer-songwriter and guitarist

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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: Touch not the cat bot a glove
Motto Translation: Touch not the cat without a glove

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  1. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  4. 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).
  5. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  7. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  11. ...

The McPherson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McPherson 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 14 April 2015 at 14:25.

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