Paterson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Paterson comes from the ancient Dalriadan clans of Scotland's west coast and Hebrides islands. The name comes from the personal name Patrick.

Early Origins of the Paterson family

The surname Paterson was first found in Ross-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rois) a former county, now part of the Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles in Northern Scotland, which emerged from the Gaelic lordship of the Earl of Ross. The ancestral home of the Clan Pheadirean (Patersons) was on the north side of Lochfyne. Moving from the Gaelic into English spellings resulted in the typical wide range of surname spellings. By example, William Patrison and John Patonson, a 'gentillmen,' were witnesses in Aberdeen in 1446, Donald Patyrson was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1494, Robert Patersoun was 'capitane of ane were schip of Dundee' in 1544, Fyndlay Patersoun had a tack of the lands of Owar Elrik from the Abbey of Cupar in 1557, and so on. [1]

Early History of the Paterson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Paterson research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1700, 1604, 1679, 1632, 1708, 1706, 1727, 1658, 1719, 1691 and are included under the topic Early Paterson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Paterson Spelling Variations

The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years Paterson has appeared as Patterson, Paterson, Pattersen, Patteson, Pattison and many more.

Early Notables of the Paterson family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was John Paterson (1604-1679), Bishop of Ross; John Paterson (1632-1708), the last Archbishop of Glasgow, Bishop of Galloway, Bishop of Edinburgh; and William Pattison (1706-1727), an English poet. Sir William Paterson (1658-1719), a Scottish trader and banker, one of the founders of the Bank of England. One story claims "he came from Scotland...
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Paterson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Paterson family to Ireland

Some of the Paterson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 75 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 Paterson migration to the United States +

Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Paterson or a variant listed above:

Paterson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Eleanor Paterson, who arrived in Maryland in 1651 [2]
  • Elizabeth Paterson, who landed in Maryland in 1667 [2]
  • Janet Paterson, who landed in New Jersey in 1685 [2]
  • Thomas Paterson, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685 [2]
  • Andrew and David Paterson who were banished to Georgia in 1685
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Paterson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Paterson who settled in New Hampshire in 1718
  • Christian Paterson, who arrived in New York in 1738 [2]
  • Anne Paterson, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [2]
  • Agnes Paterson, who landed in South Carolina in 1772 [2]
  • Samuel Paterson, who arrived in South Carolina in 1772 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Paterson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Paterson, who landed in Georgia in 1850 [2]
  • Adam Paterson, who arrived in New York, NY in 1859 [2]
Paterson Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • William Bothwell Paterson, who landed in Alabama in 1918 [2]

Canada Paterson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Paterson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • George Paterson, aged 36, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816
  • David Paterson, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Archibald Paterson, who arrived in Quebec in 1821
  • Barnabas Paterson, who landed in Canada in 1832
  • Agnes Paterson who settled in Wellington county, Ontario in 1851

Australia Paterson migration to Australia +

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

Paterson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Paterson, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Mr. Alexander Paterson, (McNicolls, Colin), Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Blenheim" on 11th March 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • John Paterson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [5]
  • Elizabeth Paterson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [5]
  • Robert Paterson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Paterson 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:

Paterson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W. Paterson, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clydeside" in 1841
  • Andrew Paterson, aged 29, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Margaret Paterson, aged 27, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Henrietta Paterson, aged 1, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Mr. James Paterson, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Paterson (post 1700) +

  • Basil Alexander Paterson (1926-2014), American labor lawyer and political leader in New York and Harlem, father of David Paterson, 55th Governor of New York
  • William Paterson (1745-1806), Irish-born, American statesman, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, and Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 2nd governor of New Jersey (1790 to 1793)
  • David Paterson (b. 1954), American politician, 55th Governor of New York (2008-2010), 74th Lieutenant Governor of New York (2007-2008)
  • Tim Paterson (b. 1956), American computer programmer, author of MS-DOS
  • John Paterson (1744-1808), American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Tioga County, 1792-93; Broome County Judge, 1798, 1806; U.S. Representative from New York 16th District, 1803-05 [7]
  • Harry B. Paterson, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, 1930-34 [7]
  • Doug Paterson, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Nebraska 2nd District, 2002 [7]
  • David Alexander Paterson (b. 1954), American Democrat politician, Member of New York State Senate 30th District; Elected 2002, 2004; Lieutenant Governor of New York, 2007-08; Governor of New York, 2008-10 [7]
  • David Paterson, American politician, Member of South Dakota State Senate 21st District, 1913-16 [7]
  • Chet Paterson, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Ohio 22nd District, 1950 [7]
  • ... (Another 35 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Miss Linda Jan Paterson (1957-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [8]
  • Mrs. Ethel Mary Paterson (1925-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [8]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John Paterson, British Butcher from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [9]
  • Mr. Alex Paterson (1875-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [9]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Andrew Paterson, British Stoker 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [10]
  • Walter Duncan Paterson (d. 1939), British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [10]


The Paterson 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: Pro Rege et grege
Motto Translation: For King and people.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blenheim
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FAIRFIELD 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Fairfield.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). 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
  8. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  9. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  10. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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