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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English-Alt, English, Scottish

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

The Tait surname is generally thought to be derived from the Old Norse word "teitr," meaning "cheerful." According to the Venerable Bede, Tate was used as a nickname for Ethelberga daughter of Ethelbert, king of Kent. [1] Some sources suggest that its origins are quite distinct from the Old English roots of Tate.

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Spelling rules only evolved in the last few centuries with the invention of the printing press and the first dictionaries. Spelling variations are extremely common in names from before that period. Tait has been spelled Tait, Tate, Tayte, Taite and others.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, where they held a family seat from early times. One of the first records of the name was Thomas dictus Tayt in 1329 who was listed as having a debt to the king at that time. There are several recorded instances of payments to a John Tayt, clerk of the hospital of Montrose, between 1362-70. Alexander Tayt was burgess of Edinburgh in 1381. Adam Tayte had a safe conduct to travel in England in 1424. [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tait research. Another 327 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1597, 1381, 1424, 1432, 1490, 1492, 1531, 1567, 1531, 1567, 1575, 1605, 1626, 1666, 1652, 1715, 1692, 1652, 1715, 1692 and are included under the topic Early Tait History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 117 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tait Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Tait family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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After making their great crossing, many Boernician-Scottish families settled along the east coast of North America. When the War of Independence broke out, United Empire Loyalists moved north to Canada while the rest stayed to fight. The ancestors of many of these Scots still populate the continent. This century, through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations, they began to rediscover their collective national heritage. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Tait or a variant listed above:

Tait Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Magnus Tait, who settled in East New Jersey in 1685
  • Patrick Tait, who settled in East New Jersey in 1685

Tait Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • David Tait, who arrived in Florida in 1769
  • James Tait, who arrived in Boston in 1774
  • Elizabeth Tait, who came to Savannah, Georgia in 1775
  • David Tait, aged 7, arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1775

Tait Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Jas Tait, aged 37, landed in South Carolina in 1812
  • James Tait, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813
  • William Tait, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1818
  • James Tait, who settled in Baltimore Maryland with his son in 1820
  • Robert Tait, who arrived in New York in 1838


Tait Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • George Tait, a planter in Trinity, Newfoundland, in 1822
  • John Tait arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834
  • Andrew Tait, who arrived in New Brunswick in 1847

Tait Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • John Tait, who arrived in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

Tait Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • James Tait, aged 30, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839
  • Helen Tait, aged 22, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839
  • Anne Tait, aged 4, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839
  • Alexander Tait, aged 2, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839
  • Anne Tait arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Harry Lorrequer" in 1849


Tait Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Alexander Tait arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863
  • Margaret Tait arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863
  • John Tait arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863
  • Edward Tait arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863
  • James Tait arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863


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  • Douglas Tait, American actor, stuntman, and independent filmmaker, known for his work in Star Trek, Zathura: A Space Adventure, Thor, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Land of the Lost
  • Charles Tait (1768-1835), American politician, United States Senator from Georgia (1809-1819)
  • Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905), American wildlife artist
  • William Walker Tait (b. 1929), American emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago
  • Joseph "Joe" Tait (b. 1937), American sports broadcaster for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians, awarded the Basketball Hall of Fame 2010 Curt Gowdy Media Award
  • Michael DeWayne Tait (b. 1966), American contemporary Christian music artist
  • Archibald Campbell Tait (1811-1882), Scottish churchman who became the Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Alan Victor Tait (b. 1964), Scottish dual-code rugby footballer and coach
  • Peter Guthrie Tait (1831-1901), Scottish physicist and mathematician, professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh University who developed Tait's conjecture
  • Thomas Smith Tait (1882-1952), Scottish architect who designed a number of buildings around the world in Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles, notably St. Andrew's House

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  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)

Other References

  1. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  2. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  5. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  7. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Tait Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tait 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 25 January 2016 at 03:05.

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