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

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

MacKness comes from the ancient Dalriadan clans of Scotland's west coast and Hebrides islands. The name comes from the personal name Naos, which is a dialectal form of Aonghus or Angus. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Neis, which is derived from the earlier form Mac Naois; both of these mean son of Angus. Thus, the name MacKness is a cognate of MacAngus and MacInnes.

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The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years MacKness has appeared as MacNeish, MacNeice, MacNish, MacNess, MacKness, MacNeece 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 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 MacKness research. Another 238 words(17 lines of text) covering the year 1522 is included under the topic Early MacKness History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early MacKness Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the MacKness family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 165 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name MacKness or a variant listed above: Thomas McNeish, who settled in Philadelphia in 1868; Michael McNish settled in Philadelphia in 1866.

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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: Animo non astutia
Motto Translation: By courage, not by craft.

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  1. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  2. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  3. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  8. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  9. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  10. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  11. ...

The MacKness Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacKness 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 27 October 2010 at 13:49.

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