Select Stewart Surname Genealogy

Stewart is generally thought of as one of the leading families of Scotland.  The root of the name is the Old English stigweard, meaning a household guardian.  The title was used of an officer controlling the domestic affairs of a household, particularly of a royal household. 

Select Stewart Resources on The Internet

Scotland.  The ancestral origins of the Stewart family in Scotland are a bit obscure.  What is known for certain is the family line can be traced back to Alan FitzFlaad, a Breton who had come over to England sometime after the Norman Conquest.  As FitzAlans, they established themselves as a prominent Anglo-Norman family.  It was Alan’s great grandson Walter FitzAlan who became the first hereditary High Steward of Scotland

His descendants founded the royal Stuart line in Scotland (the French spelling as French has no "w") after Walter Stewart of this line married Marjorie, the daughter of King Robert the Bruce.  They turned out to be an unlucky dynasty.  Of the fourteen crowned monarchs between 1371 and 1714, four were murdered or executed, two died in battle and one in exile, while seven in succession came to the throne as minors. 

King James II, who was deposed in 1688, was their last ruling monarch, although the Stuarts, based in France, did attempt a return.  James the Old Pretender failed in 1715 and Bonnie Prince Charlie failed in 1745.  After the defeat at Culloden in 1746, the Stuart hopes were finished. 

There were a number of other related but non-royal Stewart branches, notably: 
  • the Stewarts of Appin in Argyllshire in the Scottish Highlands, descendants of Dugald Stewart in the 15th century.  The main sub-branches were those of Lorn and Ardsheal.  These Stewarts, known as “the loyal clan,” fought and fell at Culloden.  
  • the Stewarts of Atholl in Perthshire, descendants of Alexander Stewart, the 14th century "Wolf of  Badenoch."  These Stewarts came to be known for their prowess in battle.  
  • the Stewarts of Balquhidder in Perthshire descended from a 15th century Stewart laird of Baldorran. Sir William Stewart was appointed the Royal Baillie at Balquhidder around the year 1485.   This line also later included the Stewarts of Ardvorlich.
  • the Stuarts of Bute in Argyllshire, descended from the 14th century Sheriff of Bute and "black" Stewart.  They supported the British during the Jacobite uprisings and were ennobled as the Earls of Bute.  The third Earl was briefly British Prime Minister in 1762.  
  • and the Stewarts of Ochiltree and Dunduff in Ayrshire, the former descended from  Andrew Stuart, the Chancellor of Scotland in 1460, and the latter from William Stewart, the Scottish ambassador to France in the early 1500’s.  Both branches established themselves in Ireland.  
The distribution of Stewarts in the 1891 census showed that most of them were living in Lowland Scotland. But there were also sizeable numbers in Perthshire, Angus, and Aberdeenshire. 

Ireland.  Many Stewarts from the Scottish Lowlands settled in Ulster in the 17th century.  

Andrew Stewart, Lord Ochiltree of Ayrshire, was one of the nine Scottish chief undertakers of the Plantation and was granted lands in Tyrone.  His grandson, after whom Stewartstown in Tyrone was named, was made Lord Mountjoy in 1683.  

The Stewarts of Dunduff in Ayrshire were granted lands in Donegal and established their home at Ballylawn castle.  Alexander Stewart of this family made money from the linen trade and acquired the Mount Stewart estate in county Down in 1744.  His son became the Marguess of Londonderry.  A descendant was Robert Stewart, Lord Castlereagh, who was British Foreign Secretary from 1812 until the conclusion of the war with Napoleon.  This family remained a political force in Northern Ireland into the 20th century.  

America.  Duncan Stuart, later Stewart, was an early Stewart in America.  He is believed to have been captured at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 and shipped to New England as a prisoner of war.  His name appeared in Ipswich, Massachusetts records as a shipwright and ship builder.  Alexander Stewart, possibly related, was a tailor in Charlestown in 1662 when he married Hannah Templar. 

James Stuart from Perthshire was in 1740 one of the early settlers along the Cowpasture river in Augusta county, Virginia.  He was captured by Pawnee Indians in 1757 and burned at the stake.  His son, James Stewart, was present at his death but managed to escape.  There were also other Stewart families in Augusta county by this time. 

A Steuart (sic) family appeared in Maryland.  They too had their origins in Perthshire, George Steuart arriving in Maryland around 1721 and becoming a wealthy tobacco planter.  A Loyalist at the time of the Revolutionary War, he returned to Scotland.  But his family remained.  Much of their property was confiscated after the Civil War.  Dr. Richard Sprigg Steuart was a pioneer in the treatment of mental illness. The Spring Grove hospital in Maryland became his life’s work. 

Scots Irish Stewarts came to America, including: 
  • Robert Stewart, a member of a Scots Irish party who had come to Boston in 1718 and, a year later, founded the township of Londonderry, New Hampshire.  The most remarkable Stewart of Londonderry, however, was not a descendant but a freed African American slave named Flora Stewart who died there in 1868 at the reported age of 118.  
  • Lazarus Stewart who arrived in 1729 and settled in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.  His son Captain Lazarus Stewart was a fighter on the Pennsylvania frontier who was killed during an early skirmish of the Revolutionary War.  
  • Samuel Stewart who came with his family from county Down six years later and also made for Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, which had by that time become a center for Scots Irish settlement.   
  • and James Stewart of Tyrone, one of the many Jacobites vanquished at Culloden, who fled to America in 1760 and bought land in New Castle county, Delaware.  His descendants later moved to Tennessee.  Alexander Stewart was a general in the Confederate army during the Civil War. 
Canada.  Robert Stewart from Campbeltown in Argyllshire came to Prince Edward Island in 1770.  His brother Peter followed him five years later.  Peter became Chief Justice of the new colony.  When he died in 1805 his sons John, known as Hellfire Jack, and Charles, the quieter one, came to dominate Island politics. 

John Stewart, Scots Irish, had been impressed into the British Navy, but jumped ship in 1810 in Nova Scotia. There he married Elizabeth Laird and their home, now styled the Stewart House, still functions today. Alexander Stewart, also Scots Irish, was an early settler in Peterborough, Ontario in 1822.  He died there in 1847, survived by his wife whose letters back to Ireland, published in 1889, told much of their early Canadian experiences

Select Stewart Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Stewart Names

Walter Stewart, the 3rd High Steward of Scotland, was the first use to use Stewart as a surname.
Robert Stewart, Lord Castlereagh, was British Foreign Secretary from 1822 to the conclusion of the war with Napoleon.
Jimmy Stewart was a popular American film actor of the 1940's and 1950's.
Jackie Stewart was the F1 motor racing champion in the 1970's.
Rod Stewart from Scotland has been, over many decades, a very popular pop singer.
Martha Stewart, an American homemaking advocate, is an author and somewhat controversial business magnate.

Select Stewarts Today

  • 79,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lanarkshire)
  • 115,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 66,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
Stewart is the #5 ranked surname in Scotland.

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

Return to Main Page