Johnston family crest and coat of arms

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Meaning of the Johnston family crest symbols

Shield - Saltire cross

The saltire cross on the shield is a powerful symbol of the crucifixion of Christ and serves as a reminder of the strong religious beliefs of the early family members. It is a reminder of their faith and a symbol of their commitment to their beliefs.

Shield - Chief

The chief along the top section of the shield represents authority and domination of will. It was given to those as a reward for wisdom, strong-mindedness and success in battle.

Bird - Phoenix

The phoenix, is an ancient symbol of resurrection in heraldry and represents the long standing nature of the family, as it is said to be reborn from its own ashes. It is a symbol of strength and immortality.

Meaning of the Johnston coat of arms colors


The silver or white color on the coat of arms, (known as 'Argent'), signifies sincerity and peacefulness. It is one of the oldest colors known in ancient heraldry.


The black color (known as Sable) symbolizes constancy and the enduring nature of the family. It is a symbol of family longevity through time.


The red color (known as Gules) traditionally symbolized martyrdom and the historic military strength of family members when called upon in times of war.

Johnston name meaning and origin

The early history of the family name Johnston is a fascinating tale that spans several centuries and is deeply rooted in the British Isles. While the exact origins of the name remain somewhat uncertain, it is believed to have derived from the given name John, which was a popular name in medieval England and Scotland.

The surname Johnston first emerged in Scotland, particularly in the border regions between Scotland and England. The borderlands were known for their turbulent history, marked by constant conflict and raids between the two nations. It is in this context that the Johnston name gained prominence, as many individuals took on the name to signify their association with the region.

During the Middle Ages, the Johnston family played a significant role in the border conflicts. They were often involved in the defense of their lands against English incursions and were known for their fierce loyalty to the Scottish crown. The Johnstons were renowned warriors, and their military prowess earned them respect and recognition.

As the border conflicts subsided, the Johnstons transitioned from a predominantly military role to becoming influential landowners and administrators. They acquired vast estates and became prominent figures in local governance. The family's influence extended beyond the borders, with branches of the Johnston clan establishing themselves in various parts of Scotland.

The Johnstons were also closely associated with the powerful Scottish clans, particularly the Clan Armstrong and Clan Maxwell. Through intermarriage and alliances, they solidified their position within the Scottish nobility and further expanded their influence.

In addition to their military and political endeavors, the Johnstons also made significant contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Scotland. Many members of the family were patrons of the arts and sciences, supporting poets, writers, and scholars. Their patronage helped foster a vibrant cultural scene in Scotland during the Renaissance period.

The Johnstons' influence continued to grow, and by the 17th century, they had established themselves as one of the most prominent families in Scotland. Their power and wealth allowed them to maintain a position of influence even during times of political upheaval, such as the Jacobite uprisings.

While the early history of the Johnston name primarily revolves around Scotland, it is worth noting that the name also had a presence in England and Ireland. Over time, individuals bearing the Johnston name migrated to these countries, spreading the name further afield.

In conclusion, the early history of the family name Johnston is deeply intertwined with the turbulent history of the British Isles. From their origins in Scotland to their involvement in border conflicts,

Johnston name origin in the United States

The Johnston family name has a rich and early history in America, with the first settlers arriving in the early colonial period. While they were not the very first to bear the name, they were among the first to establish themselves in the New World.

These early Johnstons were part of the wave of European immigrants who sought new opportunities and a fresh start in America. They arrived in various parts of the country, including New England, the Mid-Atlantic region, and the southern colonies. As one of the first families with the Johnston surname, they played a significant role in shaping the early American society.

The Johnstons quickly integrated into their new communities, adapting to the local customs and contributing to the growth of the colonies. They engaged in various occupations, such as farming, trade, and craftsmanship, and became respected members of their respective communities.

Over time, the Johnston family name spread across the American continent, with subsequent generations branching out and establishing themselves in different states and regions. They played a part in the American Revolution, the westward expansion, and the development of the United States as a nation.

The early history of the Johnston family name in America is a testament to the resilience and determination of these early settlers. Their contributions to the growth and development of the country are a lasting legacy that continues to be celebrated today.

History of family crests like the Johnston coat of arms

Family crests and coats of arms emerged during the Middle Ages, mostly in wider Europe. They were used as a way to identify knights and nobles on the battlefield and in tournaments. The designs were unique to each family and were passed down from generation to generation.

The earliest crests were simple designs, such as a single animal or symbol, but they became more elaborate over time. Coats of arms were also developed, which included a shield with the family crest, as well as other symbols and colors that represented the family's history and achievements.

The use of family crests and coats of arms spread throughout Europe and became a symbol of social status and identity. They were often displayed on clothing, armor, and flags, and were used to mark the family's property and possessions.

Today, family crests and coats of arms are still used as a way to honor and celebrate family heritage.

Johnston name variations and their meaning

The family name Johnston has several variations that have emerged over time. One common variation is Johnson, which is a simplified version of the original name. This variation is often found in English-speaking countries and is widely recognized. Another variation is Johnstone, which is more commonly found in Scotland. This variation adds an extra 'e' to the name, giving it a slightly different pronunciation. Additionally, there are variations such as Jonson and Johnsen, which are less common but still exist. These variations may have originated from different regions or through different branches of the family. It is interesting to see how the name has evolved and adapted over the years, with each variation having its own unique characteristics. Whether it is spelled Johnston, Johnson, Johnstone, Jonson, or Johnsen, the name still represents a family lineage and carries a sense of identity for those who bear it.

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