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

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

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.


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.

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 McWha research. Another 253 words(18 lines of text) covering the year 1620 is included under the topic Early McWha History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the McWha family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 177 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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, arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1826
  • John McWha, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1840
  • James McWha, who landed in Arkansas in 1852


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


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  1. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  2. 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.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  8. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The McWha Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McWha 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 18 April 2013 at 08:49.

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