Sloan Surname Genealogy

Sloan has Gaelic origins.  The name comes from the Gaelic name Sluaghadhan, meaning “leader of a
military expedition” and from shaughadh
“expedition” or “raid.”  Sloan is the anglicized form.

The word appears in early times in both Scottish and Irish
records.  A certain Sluagadagh went forth to Rome around the year
966, according to the Chronicle of
the Picts
in Scotland.  The Annals of the Four Masters recorded
the name of Maelpatrick O’Shuaghadh, a Celtic bard, in 1015 in
Ireland.  Sloan
developed later as both a Scottish and Irish surname.

Sloan, Sloane
and Slone
are the main spellings today.

Sloan Resources on

Sloan Ancestry

Early examples of the Sloan surname date from the 16th century:

  • William Slowane who held a tenemant in Dalkeith, Midlothian in
  • John Aslowane who was a burgess in Edinburgh in 1562
  • and John Sloane who held lands in Traquair, Peebleshire in 1565

However, the greater frequency of the name at that time was on the west
coast of Scotland.  Sloans there included Donald Showan the
sheriff of Ayr, John Sloan a merchant in neartby Maybole, and the
Sloans at Kirkcudbright near Galloway.  A branch of this family
migrated to Ulster, while James
Sloan was a prominent Glasgow merchant in the early 19th century.

William Sloan
from Dalry in north
Ayrshire was a 19th century missionary to the Faroe Islands.
After his death in 1914 his
youngest son Andrew continued the practice there.  An Ayrshire
farmer Andrew Sloan started Sloan’s Dairies in 1911 for milk delivery
in the
Glasgow area.  The business expanded and
continued until 1972 when it was sold to Express Dairies.

Today the Sloan name in Scotland is
most common in Ayrshire and around Glasgow.

.   The Sloan name is mainly to be found in the
Ulster counties of Down and
Antrim.  In fact in the southern part of county Down known as the
kingdom of Mourne
, Sloan is the second most common surname
in the

Sloans of Catholic Irish origin form the larger number here.  One
Sloan family has been traced to the 18th century and Henry Sloan,
born in Drummonds in Kilkeel parish.  His descendants continue to
farm there. Other Sloans were and are to be found at Attical,
Glenloughlan, and Greencastle.

There were Protestant Sloans as well.  Alexander Sloan had arrived
from Kirkcudbright in the early 17th century as one of the Scottish
planters.  He settled at
Killyleagh to the north of Mourne by Strangford Lough.  He was of
the landed or merchant class and held the
office of Receiver General.  Sir Hans Sloane of this family
was an avid collector and bequeathed his collection to the British
Museum.  His name lives
on as Sloane Square in London.

There were few Sloans from England.  The largest number of Sloans
in the late 19th century were to
be found in Cumberland and Lancashire in NE England, reflecting either
Scottish or Irish Sloan arrivals.

America.  Sloans in
America came from England, Scotland and Ireland, as well as a few from
Europe (possibly Slones from Slovenia).  The largest number,
however, came from Ireland.

These Sloans in the 18th century included:

  • into Massachusetts.  William Sloan came from Ulster to
    Massachusetts in the 1720’s.
    He and his family were later one of the first settlers of Lyme, New
  • into Pennsylvania.  Hanover, Pennsylvania
    contained many Sloans, starting with John Sloan who died there in
    The Sloans of Rockbridge county in Vriginia, first evident in the
    1750’s, were thought to have come via Pennsylvania.  Samuel Sloan
    was an early settler in Westmoreland county in 1768. Captain
    John “Bigfoot” Sloan of the same county was an officer in the
    Revolutionary War and a well-known Indian fighter.  Andrew Sloan
    arrived in Pennsylvania after the War was over.  His descendant
    Earl Sloan was the
    inventor of Sloan’s
  • and into the Carolinas.   Caleb Sloan from county
    Antrim came to North Carolina in the 1730’s.  David Sloan from
    county Down arrived there some fifty years later and settled in South

and New Zealand.

From north Ayrshire came
Alexander Sloane and his wife Annabella in 1849.  He
became a successful cattle farmer at
Mulwala, NSW.  His son Thomas continued
his father’s merino stud farm.  But he is
best remembered for his collection of ground and tiger beetles and his
published work on new varieties of these beetles.

Walter Sloane arrived in Auckland, New
Zealand as a young lad from
Glasgow in 1862.  He was an inn keeper
there but died apparently in Sydney, Australia.

Sloan Miscellany

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

Sloan Names

Sir Hans Sloane was an
18th century Irish physician and collector, whose collection became the
foundation of the British Museum.  Sloane Square in London was
named after him.
Samuel Sloan, born to Irish
immigrant parents, was the 19th century Philadelphia-based architect
and best selling author of architecture books.
was an American-born jockey who made his mark in both
America and Britain at the turn of the 20th century.
Alfred P. Sloan was the
long-time CEO of General Motors and the man who, after Henry Ford,
transformed the US automobile industry.
The Sloane Ranger, a term
invented in the 1980’s, described the upper-class lifestyle of a woman
who lived in the neighborhood of Sloane Square, a fashionable area of

Select Sloans Today

  • 12,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Glasgow)
  • 18,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 11,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply