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

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

The McKinlay family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name McKinlay is derived from the personal name Finlay. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac Fionnlaigh, which means son of Finlay. Thus, McKinlay is a cognate of the surname Finlayson.

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Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations. McKinlay has been written as 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.


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

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

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Some of the McKinlay 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.

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The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name McKinlay or a variant listed above include:

McKinlay Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Neil McKinlay, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685

McKinlay Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John McKinlay, aged 55, landed in New York, NY in 1812-1813
  • Peter McKinlay, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1830
  • Janet McKinlay, who arrived in America in 1832
  • Alexander, John and Richard McKinlay, who settled in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

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  • Arthur "Art" Frank McKinlay (1932-2009), American Olympic silver medalist rower in the 1956 Olympics, participant in the 1952 Olympics, twin brother to John Dickson McKinlay
  • Duncan E. McKinlay (1862-1914), U.S. Representative from California
  • Adeline McKinlay, American tennis player
  • John Dickinson McKinlay (1932-2013), American Olympic silver medalist rower in the 1956 Olympics, participant in the 1952 Olympics, twin brother to "Art" McKinlay
  • William Alexander McKinlay (b. 1969), Scottish former footballer
  • Kevin Donald McKinlay (b. 1986), Scottish professional footballer
  • Thomas Valley "Tosh" McKinlay (b. 1964), Scottish former international footballer
  • Robert McKinlay (1932-2002), Scottish professional footballer
  • Adam Storey McKinlay (1887-1950), Scottish Labour Party politician
  • Donald McKinlay (1891-1959), Scottish football defender

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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: Amo
Motto Translation: I love.

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  1. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  2. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  3. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  4. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  10. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The McKinlay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McKinlay 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 17 January 2014 at 10:38.

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