Caourn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Caourn 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 Midlothian. The name Caourn 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 Caourn family

The surname Caourn 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 Caourn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Caourn 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 Caourn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Caourn Spelling Variations

Prior to the first dictionaries, scribes spelled words according to sound. This, and the fact that Scottish names were repeatedly translated from Gaelic to English and back, contributed to the enormous number of spelling variations in Scottish names. Caourn has been spelled Cairns, Cairn, Kairnes, Carnys and others.

Early Notables of the Caourn family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Caourn family to Ireland

Some of the Caourn 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.

Migration of the Caourn family

In such difficult times, the difficulties of raising the money to cross the Atlantic to North America did not seem so large compared to the problems of keeping a family together in Scotland. It was a journey well worth the cost, since it was rewarded with land and freedom the Scots could not find at home. The American War of Independence solidified that freedom, and many of those settlers went on to play important parts in the forging of a great nation. Among them: John Cairns settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775; Michael Cairns followed in 1799; Andrew in 1830; John in 1840; Robert in 1864.



  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)


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