Cairnes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Among the the peoples of ancient Scotland, the first to use the name Cairnes were the Strathclyde-Britons. Cairnes was a name for someone who lived in Midlothian. The name Cairnes is also derived from the Gaelic word carn, which means pile of stones, and referred to the stone burial chambers we now call cairns. [1]

Early Origins of the Cairnes family

The surname Cairnes was first found in Midlothian, in the lands of Cairns in the parish of Mid-Calder.

"The first of the name recorded is William de Carnys, who appears as a charter witness in 1349. Though this is the earliest mention of the name in record there must have been many of the surname living at an earlier date, as in the latter half of the fourteenth century many individuals of the name are mentioned in documents referring to the adjoining counties of Midlothian and West Lothian. In 1363 William de Carnys and his son, Duncan de Carnys, had a charter of the baronies of Esterquytburne and Westirquitburne from David II. Two years later David de Carnys appears as a bailie of Edinburgh." [2]

Early History of the Cairnes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cairnes research. Another 271 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1372, 1386, 1395, 1406, 1431, 1455, 1401, 1408, 1418, 1430, 1452, 1454, 1503, 1572, 1639, 1665, 1732, 1673, 1743, 1669, 1707, 1703, 1707 and are included under the topic Early Cairnes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cairnes Spelling Variations

Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Cairnes has been spelled Cairns, Cairn, Kairnes, Carnys and others.

Early Notables of the Cairnes family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cairnes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cairnes family to Ireland

Some of the Cairnes family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 127 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Canada Cairnes migration to Canada +

Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:

Cairnes Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Cairnes, "Carnes" U.E. (b. 1720) born in New York, USA who settled in Nashwaak, New Brunswick c. 1783 he served as part of the 2nd Battalion, DeLancey's Regiment, in 1789 he moved to Saint Marys & Maugerville, New Brunswick before finally settling in Frederiction, New Brunswick where he died in 1802 [3]

Australia Cairnes migration to Australia +

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

Cairnes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Cairnes who was convicted in Durham, England for 7 years , transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cairnes (post 1700) +

  • John Elliot Cairnes (1823-1875), Irish economist


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora


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