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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Scottish-Alt, Scottish


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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The surname McKenzie was 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.

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.


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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 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 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

McKenzie Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Katherine McKenzie, who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Adam McKenzie, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Mr. Caleb McKenzie U.E. who settled in Saint Johns, New Brunswick c. 1784
  • Mr. Colin McKenzie Sr., U.E. who settled in Ernest Town [Ernestown], Lennox & Addington, Ontario c. 1784
  • Mr. Donald McKenzie U.E. who settled in Saint Johns, New Brunswick c. 1784


McKenzie Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Farquhar McKenzie, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Andrew McKenzie, aged 35, arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816
  • Robert McKenzie, aged 60, landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816
  • Thomas McKenzie, aged 21, a weaver, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the ship "Quebec" from Glasgow
  • Mrs. McKenzie, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the ship "Quebec" from Glasgow


McKenzie Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Daniel McKenzie, English convict from Durham, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • William McKenzie, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Roderick McKenzie arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838
  • R. McKenzie arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839
  • Elizabeth McKenzie arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839


McKenzie Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Duncan McKenzie landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Hugh McKenzie landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Blenheim
  • John McKenzie landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas W McKenzie landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Adelaide
  • William McKenzie landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840


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  • Brigadier-General Henry Ray McKenzie (1904-1992), American Quartermaster, US Army Forces Mid Pacific (1945-1947)
  • Benjamin McKenzie (b. 1978), American actor
  • Joseph McKenzie (1929-2015), Scottish photographer, known as the "father of modern Scottish photography" for his black and white images of post-war Scotland
  • Mr. Henry Mckenzie, English Night Watchman from Walton, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. John Barrie Mckenzie (d. 1941), British Able Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Donald James McKenzie (1921-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Pascoe Vale, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. A  McKenzie, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. Ronald  McKenzie (1879-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Daniel Everett  McKenzie (1908-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Reginald  McKenzie (1913-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917

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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. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  3. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  4. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  8. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. 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).
  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 May 2016 at 12:12.

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