Cairny History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Pictish-Scottish family that first used the name Cairny lived on the lands of Cardney in Perthshire.

Early Origins of the Cairny family

The surname Cairny was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland.

Cairnie is a parish in Aberdeenshire. "This place once formed part of the lordship of Strathbogie, which was granted to Sir Adam Gordon, by King Robert Bruce, after the defeat and attainder of Cumin, Earl of Badenoch, and was the original estate of the family of Gordon, whose property, since that period, has become very greatly extended." [1]

Early History of the Cairny family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cairny research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1320 and 1546 are included under the topic Early Cairny History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cairny Spelling Variations

The arts of spelling and translation were yet in their infancies when surnames began, so there are an enormous number of spelling variations of the names in early Scottish records. This is a particular problem with Scottish names because of the numerous times a name might have been loosely translated to English from Gaelic and back. Cairny has been spelled Cairney, Cairnie, Cardney, Cairnie and others.

Early Notables of the Cairny family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Cairny family

This oppression forced many Scots to leave their homelands. Most of these chose North America as their destination. Although the journey left many sick and poor, these immigrants were welcomed the hardy with great opportunity. Many of these settlers stood up for their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. More recently, Scots abroad have recovered much of their collective heritage through highland games and other patriotic functions and groups. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has located various settlers bearing the name Cairny: John Cairney arrived in New York in 1836.



The Cairny 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: Ad alta
Motto Translation: To high things.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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