McWilliams History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McWilliams family comes from the ancient Scottish Dalriadan clans of the mountainous west coast of Scotland. The name McWilliams is derived from the personal name William. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac Uilleim, which means son of William.

Early Origins of the McWilliams family

The surname McWilliams was first found in on the Isle of Harris, 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.

Early History of the McWilliams family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McWilliams research. Another 121 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1187, 1215, and 1613 are included under the topic Early McWilliams History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McWilliams Spelling Variations

Translation in medieval times was an undeveloped science and was often carried out without due care. For this reason, many early Scottish names appeared radically altered when written in English. The spelling variations of McWilliams include MacWilliam, MacQuilliam, MacKilliam, MacWilliams, MacKullie, MacCullie, MacWillie and many more.

Early Notables of the McWilliams family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McWilliams family to Ireland

Some of the McWilliams family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McWilliams 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 McWilliams arrived in North America very early:

McWilliams Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jane McWilliams, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1771 [1]
  • Archibald McWilliams, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1772 [1]
  • Elizabeth McWilliams, aged 35, who landed in New York, NY in 1775 [1]
  • George McWilliams, aged 25, who arrived in New York, NY in 1775 [1]
  • Janet McWilliams, aged 27, who arrived in New York, NY in 1775 [1]
McWilliams Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John McWilliams, who landed in America in 1811 [1]
  • David McWilliams, aged 17, who landed in New York in 1812 [1]
  • William McWilliams, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Nicholas McWilliams, who arrived in Maryland in 1817 [1]
  • James McWilliams, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McWilliams migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McWilliams Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John McWilliams U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [2]
McWilliams Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Daniel McWilliams, aged 24, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834
  • Donald McWilliams, aged 27, who landed in Quebec in 1834
  • Felix McWilliams, aged 25, who arrived in Quebec in 1834

Australia McWilliams migration to Australia +

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

McWilliams Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Daniel McWilliams, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Spartan" in 1849 [3]
  • Charles McWilliams (aged 31) arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Aurora"
  • Nancy McWilliams, aged 34, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Caucasian" [4]

New Zealand McWilliams 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:

McWilliams Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Anne Mcwilliams, (b. 1841), aged 22, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship " Lancashire Witch" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 13th October 1863 [5]
  • Miss Jane Mcwilliams, (b. 1847), aged 19, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Bombay" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 18th August 1866 [5]
  • James McWilliams, aged 29, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dunedin" in 1875
  • Rose McWilliams, aged 33, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dunedin" in 1875
  • Thomas McWilliams, aged 8, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dunedin" in 1875
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McWilliams (post 1700) +

  • Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, German-born, American actress, known for The Lake House (2006), One Small Hitch (2013) and Herd Mentality (2011)
  • Wilson Carey McWilliams (1933-2005), American political scientist at Rutgers University
  • Johnny McWilliams (b. 1972), former American NFL football tight end who played from 1996 to 2000
  • Caroline Margaret McWilliams (1945-2010), American actress, best known for her role as Marcy Hill on the television series Soap
  • William Henry "Bill" McWilliams (1910-1997), American Major League Baseball player who played for the Boston Red Sox in 1931
  • Robert Hugh McWilliams Jr. (1916-2013), American judge, US Court of Appeals 10th Circuit (1970–1984), Colorado Supreme Court (1961–1970)
  • Julia Carolyn McWilliams (1912-2004), birth name of Julia Child, American chef, author, and television personality, recipient of the three Emmys, five more Emmy nominations and a Peabody Award
  • Larry McWilliams (b. 1954), American former Major League Baseball player who played from 1978 to 1990
  • Carey McWilliams (1905-1980), American author, editor, and lawyer
  • Peter Alexander McWilliams (1949-2000), American writer and cannabis activist
  • ... (Another 39 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Robert McWilliams, British Assistant Saloon Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [6]


  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The SPARTAN 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Spartan.htm
  4. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 26 April 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Caucasian 1857. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/caucasian1857.shtml
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


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