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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Scottish-Alt, Scottish

Where did the Scottish McKenzie family come from? What is the Scottish McKenzie family crest and coat of arms? When did the McKenzie family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McKenzie family history?

The ancestors of the McKenzie family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. Their surname comes from the personal name Coinneach. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Coinnich or Mac Choinnich, both of which mean son of Coinneach. However, In Adamnan, the Gaelic form of the name is Cainnechus, which is derived from the word cann, meaning fair or bright; thus, the surname is of the 'nickname' variety in this case.

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Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McKenzie has been spelled MacKenzie, McKenzie, Kennethson, Kenneth, Kennieson, MacCoinnich (Gaelic), MacWhinnie, MacWhinny, MacWhinney and many more.

First found in Ross-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rois) a former county, now part of the Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles in Northern Scotland, which emerged from the Gaelic lordship of the Earl of Ross, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKenzie research. Another 383 words(27 lines of text) covering the years 1278, 1715, 1771, 1561, 1568, 1594, 1569, 1611, 1651, 1635, 1678, 1636, 1691, 1688, 1662, 1677, 1677, 1688, 1630, 1714 and are included under the topic Early McKenzie History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 269 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKenzie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the McKenzie family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words(7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name McKenzie were among those contributors:

McKenzie Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Alexander McKenzie, who landed in Virginia in 1716
  • George McKenzie, who arrived in New York in 1738
  • John and Mary McKenzie, who settled with two children in New York, NY in 1738
  • William McKenzie, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1773
  • Margaret McKenzie, aged 27, arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774


McKenzie Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James McKenzie, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Henry H McKenzie, who landed in Mississippi in 1857

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  • Benjamin McKenzie (b. 1978), American actor
  • Brigadier-General Henry Ray McKenzie (1904-1992), American Quartermaster, US Army Forces Mid Pacific (1945-1947)
  • Julia McKenzie (b. 1941), English actress
  • Robert "Bob" McKenzie (b. 1957), Canadian hockey commentator
  • Paul McKenzie (b. 1984), Scottish-Canadian singer
  • Peter McKenzie, New Zealand actor best known for his portrayal as Elendil in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Neil McKenzie (b. 1975), South African cricket player
  • Lieutenant Hugh McDonald McKenzie (1885-1917), Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War
  • Sir Roy Allan McKenzie ONZ, KBE (1922-2007), New Zealand horse breeder and racer, and well known for his philanthropy
  • Jean Robertson McKenzie CBE (1901-1964), New Zealand diplomat

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Luceo non uro
Motto Translation: I shine not burn.

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  1. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  2. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  5. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  6. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  10. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  11. ...

The McKenzie Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McKenzie Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 22 April 2014 at 06:06.

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