McVicar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the McVicar family

The surname McVicar was 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.

Early History of the McVicar family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McVicar research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1400 and 1685 are included under the topic Early McVicar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McVicar Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the McVicar family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McVicar family to Ireland

Some of the McVicar family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 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 McVicar migration to the United States +

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 [1]
McVicar Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A McVicar, aged 20, who arrived in South Carolina in 1812 [1]
  • Archibald McVicar, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813 [1]
  • Peter McVicar, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1824 [1]
  • Archibald, Dan, Denis, Patrick, William McVicar, who arrived in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860
  • John McVicar, aged 22, who arrived in New York in 1864 [1]

Canada McVicar migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McVicar Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Haliday McVicar U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. Nevin McVicar U.E. who settled in Mascarene, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [2]
McVicar Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John McVicar, who landed in Canada in 1812
  • Robert McVicar, who landed in Canada in 1812

Australia McVicar migration to Australia +

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

McVicar Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary McVicar, Scottish Convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atwick" on 28 September 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Donald McVicar, aged 41, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules" [4]
  • Neil McVicar, aged 30, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules" [4]
  • Neil McVicar, aged 20, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules" [4]
  • John McVicar, aged 41, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Neptune" [5]

New Zealand McVicar 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:

McVicar Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Janet McVicar, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • Mr. Peter Mcvicar, (b. 1832), aged 27, Scottish ploughman from Perth travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Victory " arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th May 1859 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name McVicar (post 1700) +

  • Nelson McVicar (1871-1960), Canadian-born, United States federal judge
  • Daniel McVicar (b. 1958), American actor, director and writer
  • James A. McVicar, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Maine 1st District, 1948, 1952; Postmaster at Portland, Maine, 1949-51; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Maine, 1952 [7]
  • 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
  • John Richard "Jack" McVicar (b. 1904), Canadian professional ice hockey player
  • Jessica "Jekka" McVicar, English organic gardening expert, author and broadcaster
  • Robert McVicar (b. 1982), Canadian professional ice hockey goalie


The McVicar 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: Tandem
Motto Translation: At length.


  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. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 23rd August 2020, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atwick)
  4. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 27 July 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HMS Hercules 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/hercules1853.shtml
  5. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 26 October 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Neptune 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/neptune1853.shtml.
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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