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

Stewart Resources on

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
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
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

King James II, who was deposed
in 1688, was their last ruling monarch, although the Stuarts, based in
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,”
    and fell at Culloden.  
  • the
    Stewarts of
    Atholl in Perthshire, descendants of Alexander Stewart, the 14th
    “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.  

distribution of Stewarts in the 1891 census showed that
most of them were living in
Scotland. But there were also sizeable numbers in Perthshire, Angus,

Many Stewarts from the Scottish Lowlands settled in Ulster in the 17th

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
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
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
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

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
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
    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
    frontier who was killed during an early skirmish of the Revolutionary
  • Samuel
    Stewart who came with his family from
    county Down six years later and also made for Lancaster county,
    which had by that time become a center for Scots Irish settlement.   
  • and
    Stewart of Tyrone
    , one of the many
    Jacobites vanquished at Culloden, who fled to America in 1760 and
    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
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
Ireland, published in 1889, told much of their early Canadian

Stewart Miscellany

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

Stewart Names

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
, 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.



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