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

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

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

The Strathclyde-Briton people of ancient Scotland were the first to use the name Milligan. The Milligan family lived in Wigtown, a former royal burgh in the Machars of Galloway in the south west of Scotland. This burgh is first mentioned in an indenture of 1292, and the fact that the sheriffdom was in existence at the time of the Largs campaign of 1263 suggests that the burgh may also have been recognized as such during the reign of Alexander III.


The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Milligan has appeared as Milligan, Millicen, Millicken, Milliken, Milligan and many more.

First found in Wigtownshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Bhaile na h-Uige), formerly a county in southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, 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 Milligan research. Another 211 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1526, 1612, and 1688 are included under the topic Early Milligan History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Milligan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Milligan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Bryant Milligan, who is on record in Virginia in 1705
  • Bryant Milligan, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Mary Milligan, aged 34, arrived in New York in 1774
  • Agnes Milligan, aged 31, landed in New York in 1774

Milligan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Milligan, aged 28, arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • William Milligan, aged 59, landed in Kentucky in 1812
  • John Milligan, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1818
  • Margaret Milligan, aged 20, arrived in Oswegatchie River, NY in 1822
  • Samuel Milligan, aged 30, arrived in Oswegatchie River, NY in 1822

Milligan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • James Milligan, aged 50, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast
  • Robert Milligan, who landed in Canada in 1836
  • Maurice Milligan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1840

Milligan Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Miss J A Milligan, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

Milligan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • David Milligan, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Mary Milligan, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Milligan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1837
  • Melville Milligan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Nicol" in 1840
  • Sarah Milligan arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Nicol" in 1840

Milligan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Milligan, aged 27, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Golden Sea" in 1874


  • Andy Milligan (1929-1991), American playwright, screenwriter, cinematographer, actor, film editor, producer, and director
  • John Jones Milligan (1795-1875), American lawyer and politician, Associate Justice Delaware Superior Court (1839-1864)
  • John "Jocko" Milligan (1861-1923), American Major League baseball catcher
  • Lambdin Purdy Milligan (1812-1899), American lawyer, farmer, and leader of the Knights of the Golden Circle during the American Civil War
  • William Milligan (1821-1892), Scottish theologian
  • William Rankine Milligan PC, KC (1898-1971), Scottish Tory politician and judge
  • Alice Milligan (1865-1953), Irish nationalist and poet
  • Stephen David Wyatt Milligan (1948-1994), British Conservative politician and journalist
  • Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan (1918-2002), English comedian, writer and actor, performing member of "The Goon Show"
  • Alexander William Milligan (1858-1921), Australian accountant, legal clerk, zoological collector and ornithologist



  • History of the Families Millingas and Millanges of Saxony and Normandy by Gideon Tibbetts Ridlon.
  • Milligan Family of Saratoga Co., N.Y. by Paul Wesley Prindle.

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: Regarde Bien
Motto Translation: Attend well.


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  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  6. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  8. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Milligan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Milligan 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 26 February 2015 at 15:13.

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