Aitkin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Aitkin is an ancient Scottish name that was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. It is a name for someone who lived in Lanarkshire.

Early Origins of the Aitkin family

The surname Aitkin was first found in Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, where they originated in the old barony of Akyne. Some of the first records of the name were Atkyn de Barr in 1340 [1] and later in 1405, "John of Akyne, a Scottish merchant petitioned for the return of his ship and goods illegally seized in England." [2] The name and all it's variants are double diminutives of Adam, formed from 'Ad,' the diminutive of Adam + 'kin' [2]

Early History of the Aitkin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Aitkin research. Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1405, 1482, 1497, 1520, 1744, 1773, 1613, 1687, 1676, 1680, 1687, 1613, 1654, 1613, 1642 and 1676 are included under the topic Early Aitkin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Aitkin Spelling Variations

In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Aitkin has been spelled Aitken, Aiken, Atkin, Atkins and others.

Early Notables of the Aitkin family (pre 1700)

Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Aitkin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Aitkin family to Ireland

Some of the Aitkin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 173 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Aitkin migration to the United States +

Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Aitkin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Aitkin, who landed in Mississippi in 1838 [3]
  • Robert Aitkin, who arrived in New York, NY in 1841 [3]

Australia Aitkin migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Aitkin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Jane Aitkin, aged 23, a housemaid, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Nugget" [4]

New Zealand Aitkin migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Aitkin Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Aitkin, who landed in Waiwatu River, New Zealand in 1840
  • W. S. Aitkin, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1861
  • Anne Aitkin, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Annie Wilson" in 1863

Contemporary Notables of the name Aitkin (post 1700) +

  • William H. Aitkin (1860-1927), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1896; Member of Michigan Republican State Executive Committee, 1899 [5]
  • Thomas P. Aitkin, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Manchester; Elected 1902 [5]
  • John Aitkin M.D. (1770-1790), Scottish surgeon who must have studied medicine at Edinburgh, where he became M.R.C.S. in 1770 [6]


The Aitkin Motto +

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: Robore et vigilantia
Motto Translation: Strength and vigilance.


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 4th July 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nugget1854.shtml.
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2019


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