Show ContentsCairncross History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Cairncross surname are thought to have lived in the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The name Cairncross was given to someone who lived in Crynecross at Nisbett, which was in the old barony of Glenesk in Angus.

Early Origins of the Cairncross family

The surname Cairncross was first found in Angus (Gaelic: Aonghas), part of the Tayside region of northeastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, formerly known as Forfar or Forfarshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Cairncross family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cairncross research. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1400, 1597, 1603, 1544, 1539, 1528, 1529, 1637, 1701, 1684, 1687, 1693, 1701, 1684, 1684 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Cairncross History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cairncross Spelling Variations

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 Cairncross has appeared as Cairncross, Carncross, Carnross, Cairncroce, Cairncrose and many more.

Early Notables of the Cairncross family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Robert Cairncross (d. 1544) , a Scottish bishop, Bishop of Ross in 1539 and held office as Lord High Treasurer of Scotland from 1528 to 1529. He "was descended from the ancient family of Balmashannar, Forfarshire, which had been seated there as early as the time of Robert II." [1] Alexander Cairncross (1637-1701), was Scottish Archbishop of Glasgow (1684 to 1687), Bishop of Raphoe (1693-1701) and...
Another 73 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cairncross Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cairncross family to Ireland

Some of the Cairncross family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Cairncross migration to the United States +

Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Cairncross Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Cairncross, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [2]
Cairncross Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John Cairncross, aged 24, who immigrated to America from Jedburgh, Scotland, in 1907
  • William Cairncross, aged 19, who settled in America from Dublin Ireland, in 1909
  • Robert T. Cairncross, aged 25, who landed in America, in 1919
  • Margaret Cairncross, aged 0, who landed in America from Gateshead, England, in 1920
  • Norah Cairncross, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from Gateshead, England, in 1920
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Cairncross (post 1700) +

  • Barbara Cairncross, former Southern Transvaal and South Africa cricketer
  • Alexander Messent "Sandy" Cairncross OBE, British epidemiologist
  • Sir Alexander Kirkland "Alec" Cairncross KCMG FBA FRSE (1911-1998), British economist
  • John Cairncross (1913-1995), British intelligence officer during World War II, who passed secrets to the Soviet Union, allegedly the fifth member of the Cambridge Five
  • Zachary Cairncross (b. 1989), Australian footballer
  • Neil Cairncross, Under Secretary of State
  • Frances Anne Cairncross CBE (b. 1944), British economist
  • Cameron "Cam" Cairncross (b. 1972), Australian left-handed pitcher who played for the Major League Baseball in 2000

The Cairncross 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: Certamine parata
Motto Translation: Acquired by strife.

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. 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) on Facebook