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

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

The west coast of Scotland and the rocky Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the McKinley family. The root of their name is the personal name Finlay. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac Fionnlaigh, which means son of Finlay. Thus, McKinley is a cognate of the surname Finlayson.


Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. McKinley has appeared in various documents spelled MacKinley, MacKinlay, MacKindlay, MacKinly, MacKindley and many more.

First found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where the surname is still commonly found around Glenlyon and Balquhidder. The earliest known record of the name is from 1493, when Gillaspyk M'Kynlay witnessed legal proceedings involving Archibald, Earl of Argyll.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKinley research. Another 211 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1511, 1675, and 1700 are included under the topic Early McKinley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 32 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKinley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the McKinley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 176 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Ancestors of many of the Dalriadan families who crossed the Atlantic still live along the east coast of the United States and Canada. Some Scottish settlers arrived in Canada during the American War of Independence as United Empire Loyalists, while others stayed south to fight for a new nation. The descendants of Scottish settlers in both countries began to rediscover their heritage in the 19th and 20th centuries through Clan societies and highland games. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name McKinley or a variant listed above:

McKinley Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • David McKinley, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743
  • William McKinley, who landed in Maryland in 1767
  • Michael McKinley, aged 40, landed in New York, NY in 1775
  • Jean McKinley, aged 26, arrived in New York, NY in 1775

McKinley Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Alexander McKinley, aged 23, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Mary McKinley, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Andrew McKinley, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Henry McKinley, who arrived in Maryland in 1809
  • John McKinley, aged 20, landed in Maine in 1812

McKinley Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Andrew McKinley, aged 55, who landed in America from Derry, in 1905
  • Alex McKinley, aged 38, who emigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1905
  • Alex McKinley, aged 24, who landed in America from Glasgow, in 1906
  • Annie McKinley, aged 12, who landed in America from Addiewell, Scotland, in 1907
  • Annabella McKinley, aged 3, who emigrated to the United States from Burnbank, Scotland, in 1910


  • President William McKinley Jr. (1843-1901), American politician, 25th President of the United States (1897-1901)
  • Kenny McKinley (1987-2010), American NFL football wide receiver for the Denver Broncos (2009-)
  • Robin McKinley (b. 1952), born Jennifer Carolyn Robin McKinley, American fantasy author, her 1984 novel The Hero and the Crown won the Newbery Medal
  • John McKinley (1780-1852), American politician and jurist, U.S. Senator from Alabama (1837) and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1837-1852)
  • David B McKinley (b. 1947), American politician, U.S. Representative for West Virginia (2011-)
  • Brigadier-General Edward Brigham McKinley (1895-1963), American Chief Fiscal Officer, Office of the Quartermaster-General (1939-1945)
  • General Craig Richard McKinley (b. 1952), USAF American 26th chief, National Guard Bureau (2008 to 2012), the first officer from the National Guard to ever achieve the grade of a four-star general
  • William McKinley (1810-1811), American politician, U.S. Representative from Virginia
  • William Thomas McKinley (b. 1938), American composer and jazz pianist, awarded a citation from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and eight National Endowment for the Arts grants
  • Ida Saxton McKinley (1847-1907), American first lady, wife of President McKinley



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: Amo
Motto Translation: I love.


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  1. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  2. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  3. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The McKinley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McKinley 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 16 October 2014 at 13:35.

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