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

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

In the Scotland of ancient times, McVicar was a name for a son of a vicar, who was a priest in charge of a parish in which most or all of the tithes were paid to another recipient, while the vicar received a stipend. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac a Bhiocair.


Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McVicar has been spelled MacVicar, MacViccar, MacVicker, MacVicer, MacWicar and many more.

First found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McVicar research. Another 249 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1400 and 1685 are included under the topic Early McVicar History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the McVicar family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 157 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The hardy Scots who made the crossing settled all along the east coast of North America and in the great west that was just then opening up. At the time of the American War of Independence, many United Empire Loyalists moved north from the American colonies to Canada. Scottish national heritage became better known in North America in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic events. An examination of immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name McVicar arrived in North America very early:

McVicar Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Archibald McVicar settled with his wife, children and servants in New York in 1775 with his brothers Barnabas and John
  • Neil McVicar, who landed in New York in 1780

McVicar Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • A McVicar, aged 20, arrived in South Carolina in 1812
  • Archibald McVicar, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813
  • Peter McVicar, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1824
  • Archibald, Dan, Denis, Patrick, William McVicar arrived in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860
  • John McVicar, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1864

McVicar Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jno McVicar, who landed in Canada in 1812
  • Robert McVicar, who landed in Canada in 1812

McVicar Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Donald McVicar, aged 41, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules"
  • Neil McVicar, aged 30, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules"
  • Neil McVicar, aged 20, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules"
  • John McVicar, aged 41, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Neptune"

McVicar Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Janet McVicar arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855


  • Daniel McVicar (b. 1958), American actor, director and writer
  • Nelson McVicar (1871-1960), Canadian-born, United States federal judge
  • David McVicar (b. 1967), Scottish opera and theatre director
  • John McVicar (b. 1940), British journalist and one-time convicted armed robber who escaped from prison
  • Robert McVicar (b. 1982), Canadian professional ice hockey goalie
  • Jessica "Jekka" McVicar, English organic gardening expert, author and broadcaster
  • John Richard "Jack" McVicar (b. 1904), Canadian professional ice hockey player


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: Tandem
Motto Translation: At length.


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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  4. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  8. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  9. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  10. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  11. ...

The McVicar Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McVicar 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 10 January 2015 at 22:06.

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