McWha History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The west coast of Scotland and the rocky Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the McWha family. The root of their name is the names Wattie and Watty, both of which are pet forms of the personal name Walter. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Bhaididh, which translates as son of Wattie or son of Watty.

Early Origins of the McWha family

The surname McWha 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 McWha family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McWha research. Another 118 words (8 lines of text) covering the year 1620 is included under the topic Early McWha History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McWha Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. McWha has been spelled MacWatt, MacWattie, MacWatters, MacQuattie, MacVatt and many more.

Early Notables of the McWha family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McWha family to Ireland

Some of the McWha family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McWha migration to the United States +

Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first McWhas to arrive in North America:

McWha Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel McWha, aged 57, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1826 [1]
  • John McWha, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [1]
  • James McWha, who landed in Arkansas in 1852 [1]

New Zealand McWha 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:

McWha Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Mcwha, (b. 1832), aged 30, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1862 [2]
  • Mrs. Sophia Mcwha, (b. 1834), aged 28, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1862 [2]
  • Mr. Matthew Mcwha, (b. 1838), aged 24, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1862 [2]
  • Miss Mary A. Mcwha, (b. 1856), aged 6, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1862 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name McWha (post 1700) +

  • James Alexander McWha (b. 1947), Irish-born, Australian botanist, former Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide


  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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