Johnston Family History
ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. The families of Johnston originated in Dumfries in Scotland. The original of the name had a Tour or dwelling there in the twelfth century. His descendant in the sixth generation was Sir Adam Johnston of that ilk, who died in 1455. From his eldest son, John, descended the Lords Johnston, Earls of Hartfell. George the last Marquis, died in 1792. Another son of Sir Adam was Gilbert, the first of the family of Johnstons of Elphinstone. His descendant Samuel, was created a Baronet. The Johnstons of Westerhall are descended from a Matthew Johnston. His descendant was created a Baronet in 1700. The present Baronet belongs to this family. The fifth Baronet's daughter was created Countess of Bath.
In Ireland this name and its variants were introduced into Ulster Province by settlers who arrived from England and Scotland, especially during the seventeenth century. During the 'Plantations of Ireland' in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Ireland was colonized by the English Crown with this period marking the end of Gaelic supremacy in Ireland. This period brought an influx of settlers into the country but, unlike the earlier Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century that resulted in a full integration into Irish society of the new arrivals, the same never occurred with the Ulster Planters who maintained their own distinct identity.
Johnstons of native Irish origin took their name as an anglicized version of the native Gaelic MacSeain sept, who were a branch of the O'Neills. This Gaelic name was also changed to MacKeown and McKeon. The Johnston
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Johnston