An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The story of the Gunn family stretches back through time to the Viking settlers who populated the rugged shores of Scotland in the Medieval era. The name Gunn was derived from Gunni, a descendant of Einar and of the great peace Kings of Uppsale in Sweden, progenitor of this great Clan. Gunni was the son of Gillanders, one of the six northern Earls who besieged King Malcolm IV of Scotland at Perth in 1160. The Gunns, the Sinclairs, the Mackays and the Gordons ruled the far northern reaches of Scotland. The Gunns' territory centered in Caithness and Sutherland.
The surname Gunn was first found in the Orkneys. But perhaps to North Americans the most interesting aspect of Gunn history is the discovery of a Coat of Arms, which is undoubtedly of the Gunn Clan, in Westford, Massachusetts. Chiseled into a rock face, it has been reliably dated back to 1395. This was almost one hundred years before Columbus discovered America. Archaeologists first assumed this marking was the work of an early Indian tribe, but closer examination and the clearance of the scrub, revealed a knight in full armor, a huge sword and a shield on which the Gunn Coat of Arms was displayed. How did a Knight of the Gunn Clan manage to be buried in Massachusetts years before Columbus discovered America? For the answer, historians went back to the Orkneys. They knew that the Jarls of Orkney, many centuries before had recorded that they wintered in their Viking missions in a land running with fire from the rocks (Nova Scotia, also on the east coast of North America, has bituminous rocks, which can catch fire and melt down the ravines to the sea). They also knew that the Gunns were related to and rode and sailed with the Jarls of Orkney. The pieces of the puzzle fit together fine, but few historians had realized to that point that the Viking discoveries of the New World had penetrated as far south as Massachusetts. This carving is one of the few real evidences of their pioneering expeditions. It is also the earliest record of a Gunn Clan Coat of Arms.
Spelling variations are extremely common among Scottish names dating from this era because the arts of spelling and translation were not yet standardized. Spelling was done by sound, and translation from Gaelic to English was generally quite careless. In different records, Gunn has been spelled Gunn, Gun, Guinne (Gaelic) and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gunn research. Another 342 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1231 and 1438 are included under the topic Early Gunn History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Gunn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Gunn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
Those who made the voyage were greeted with ample opportunity to acquire land and a political climate far away from the oppressive monarchy of the old country. They settled along the east coast of what would become Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence, those who remained loyal to England traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In this century, many Scots living in North America have begun to recover their rich heritage through festivals, highland games, and Clan societies. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Gunn:
Gunn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Gunn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Gunn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Gunn Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Gunn Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Gunn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Gunn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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: Aut pax, aut bellum
Motto Translation: Either peace or war
A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...More
Septs of the Distinguished Name Gunn
Eanrig, Eanruig, Enrick, Galay, Galdie, Galey, Gallay, Galley, Gallie, Gally, Ganson, Gauenson, Gaueson, Gauldie, Gaunson, Gavenson, Gavinson, Gawenson, Gaweson, Geeorge, Geeorges, Geeorgeson, Georg, George, Georges, Georgeson, Gilgun, Guine, Guinne, Gun, Gunce, Gunn, Gunnce, Inrig, Jamesion, Jameson, Jamieson, Jamiesoun, Jamison, Jammesion, Jammeson, Jammieson, Jammiesoun, Jammison, Jammyson, Jamyson, Janeson, Jimisolm, Jimisom, Jimisomb and more.
The Gunn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gunn 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 25 March 2016 at 06:36.