Skip to content Skip to footer

MacAlister Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: FORTITER (boldly)

Let me share the remarkable history of your family, the MacAlisters, and their Scottish lineage. It is widely acknowledged that your family can trace its ancestry back to Alasdair Mor, the son of Donald of Islay and the great-grandson of Somerled, the esteemed King of the Isles. Your family’s lands in Loup are even mentioned in a charter by James III, confirming the extensive territories in Kintyre belonging to the Lord of the Isles.

In 1481, Charles Macalister, an esteemed member of your family, was appointed as the constable of the Castle of Tarbert and was granted land. Charles was succeeded as the chief by his son, John, who was the first to be styled ‘of the Lowb’. Clan Alister, although not numerous, held a position of influence and sought to strengthen their standing by forming alliances with other noble houses. In 1591, Godfrey Macalister of Loup received a charter from the Earl of Argyll, securing lands at Tarbert which remained in your family’s possession until after 1745.

During the early 17th century, your family witnessed both moments of rebellion and recognition. Archibald Macalister, the heir of Tarbert, led a raid on the prosperous island of Bute in 1602, which led to his denouncement as a rebel. In 1605, Archibald and his kinsman, John Macalister, Tutor of Loup, were ordered to appear before the Privy Council and provide surety on the risk of being outlawed. Alexander Macalister, along with Angus Og, the leader of the Macdonalds of Islay, faced charges of treason and were subsequently imprisoned in the Tolbooth in Edinburgh before their execution by hanging. However, by 1623, Macalister of Loup is named as one of the justices of the peace for Argyllshire, showcasing the resilience and reputation of your family.

Throughout the generations, the MacAlisters expanded their presence, establishing themselves in Stirlingshire during the 14th century. Over time, their name gradually transformed to Alexander due to anglicization. By the 16th century, they settled on the esteemed estates of Menstrie, located a few miles north-east of Stirling. One notable figure, William Alexander of Menstrie, served as a courtier under the patronage of the Earl of Argyll. He played a pivotal role in promoting the colonization of Scottish territories in Canada, known as Nova Scotia, and devised a scheme wherein those investing in the colony would be granted the esteemed title of Baronet of Nova Scotia.

In 1706, Tarbert passed from the MacAlisters to the Macleans, but the chiefs of your family continued to thrive on their lands in Loup. A younger son of the chiefly family, Duncan, ventured to Holland in 1717, where he rose to high rank in the army. His descendants can still be traced to this day. Eventually, the family decided to sell off their estates in Kintyre, and the present chief now resides in England. Glenbarr Abbey serves as the modern clan center, proudly exhibiting various artifacts and mementos that preserve the rich heritage of your esteemed name, the MacAlisters.

And so, the remarkable tale of the MacAlisters, your family’s ancient lineage, weaves through the rich tapestry of Scottish history, leaving a legacy that stands the test of time. From the legendary Alasdair Mor, son of Donald of Islay and great-grandson of the valiant Somerled, to the brave and resolute members of Clan Alister who secured their position through alliances, your family’s journey is one of courage, honor, and resilience.

The MacAlisters’ journey took them beyond the borders of Kintyre, as they settled in Stirlingshire and beyond. Their contributions to the colonization of Nova Scotia and their prominent roles in military and courtier positions reflect their far-reaching influence and ambition.

Through the passage of time, the MacAlisters faced both challenges and opportunities, from the turbulent conflicts during the Jacobite uprisings to the dispersal of family members to far-off lands like Australia, America, and Canada.As the MacAlister saga continues to unfold, may you stand tall and proud, knowing that you are the living embodiment of a rich and storied heritage. Embrace the legacy, embrace the kinship, and let the MacAlister name shine brightly as a testament to the resilience and greatness that resides within your family’s lineage.

SHARE WITH OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

The Family Crest

Wherever in the world you live, embrace your family heritage and adorn your home with a timeless symbol of your family legacy with our crafted Family Crests.

Family Crest Motto: FORTITER (boldly)

$99.00

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Copyright Notice: This artwork is protected by copyright law. Unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or usage of this artwork without explicit permission from ScottishFamilyCrest.com is strictly prohibited.