Innes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Innes surname in Scotland is said to derive from the name of the barony of Innes in Moray. As such, the surname belongs to the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The place name Innes comes from the Gaelic "inis," meaning "island formed by two branches of a stream." [1]

Early Origins of the Innes family

The surname Innes was first found in Morayshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times. The Clan's progenitor is Berowaldus Flandrensis who, in 1153, obtained from King Malcolm IV a grant of lands in Innes, in the province of Elgin. [2]

The original barony was an island formed by two branches of a stream. Berowaldus was supposedly a Fleming of quite high distinction. His grandson, Walter of Innes, had these lands confirmed to him in 1226 by King Alexander II of Scotland.

Berowald continued to be a favorite first name within the Clan for some time, and this later became anglicized as Walter. Walter de Inneys was the first Chief of the Clan and held territorial control of the barony. His successor, William de Inays was forced to pledge his allegiance during King Edward I of England's brief conquest of Scotland in 1296. Scotland declared its independence at Arbroath in 1320, and it is from this point that the Innes Clan began to flourish; many branches developed with numerous Chieftains.

Sir Alexander, the 9th Chief of the Clan, built the great tower of Kincairdy Castle, and King James IV was entertained there by Sir James, the 12th Chief of the Clan in 1490. In 1579, the Privy Council of Scotland officially recognized the Innes as a Clan under Robert, the 19th Chief of Innes.

During the 1600's the Innes Clan played an important role in Scottish politics and Alexander Innes of Cockstoune, Sir Harie Innes, James Innes of Landysyde, Robert Innes, Chief of the Clan, Robert Innes of Murietown, Robert Innes of Blairtown, Robert Innes of Fortrose, were all members of Scotland's parliament. In 1554, the friction between the Innes Clan and the Dunbars reached its peak and was to continue for another thirty years. It had started with the intrusion of the Dunbars into Innes Clan territory. William Innes, the 15th Chief of the Clan, gathered eighty of his Clansmen and sacked the Priory of Pluscarden, and Alexander Dunbar narrowly escaped death on the alter steps of Elgin Cathedral. The feud finally ended with outside arbitration when it was agreed that no Dunbar should go east of the Cairn of Kilbuick and that no Innes could enter the town of Forres.

Early History of the Innes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Innes research. Another 184 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1736, 1823, 1767, 1805, 1370, 1414, 1396, 1407, 1396, 1398, 1396, 1398, 1407, 1406, 1414, 1655, 1690, 1670, 1721, 1650, 1670, 1680, 1690, 1652 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Innes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Innes Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Innes, Innis, Innice, Inniss and others.

Early Notables of the Innes family (pre 1700)

Of note in the family at this time was John de Innes (c. 1370-1414), medieval Scottish churchman, received a bachelorate in civil law from the University of Paris by 1396 and in canon law by 1407, pursuing an ecclesiastical career, being Archdeacon of Caithness from 1396 until 1398, and Dean of Ross, from some point between 1396 and 1398 until 1407, gave up the latter position in that year, having been elected as Bishop of Moray sometime in late 1406, and receiving consecration from Pope Benedict XIII in either Italy or southern France in the following January, bishop for over seven...
Another 100 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Innes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Innes migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Innes Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Innes, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Alexander Innes, who settled in New England in 1651
  • Alexander Innes, who landed in New England in 1652 [3]
  • Gilbert Innes, who settled in East New Jersey in 1683
Innes Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert and James Innes, who both arrived in Barbados in 1716
  • Lewis Innes, who settled in Boston in 1725
  • James Innes, who arrived in North Carolina in 1732 [3]
  • Robert Innes, who arrived in America in 1750 [3]
  • Katherine Innes, aged 20, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Innes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Innes, aged 23, who arrived in New York in 1812 [3]
  • John Innes, who landed in New York in 1822 [3]
  • George Innes, who landed in New York in 1827 [3]
  • William W Innes, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • R B Innes, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]

Canada Innes migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Innes Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Robert Innes and his child Duncan, who arrived at Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773 aboard the "Hector"
  • Robert Innes, who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773

Australia Innes migration to Australia +

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

Innes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Innes, Scottish convict from Perth, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [4]
  • Alexander Innes, a gunsmith, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • William Innes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839 [5]
  • Miss. Elizabeth Innes (Fraser, Frazer), (b. 1815), aged 32, British Servant who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years for theft, transported aboard the "Asia" on 9th March 1847, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1898 [6]
  • William Innes, aged 29, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Omega"

New Zealand Innes 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:

Innes Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Captain T. Innes, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Inchinnan" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 27th May 1852 [7]
  • Mr. Alfred Innes, (b. 1840), aged 21, Scottish carpenter, from Berkshire travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [8]
  • Mr. James Innes, (b. 1841), aged 20, Scottish farm labourer, from Caithness travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [8]
  • Mr. Frank Innes, (b. 1835), aged 28, Scottish ploughman, from Caithness travelling from London aboard the ship "Sebastopol" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st May 1863 [8]
  • Mrs. Innes, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bahia" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 7th December 1863 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Innes Settlers in New Zealand in the 20th Century
  • Thomas Innes, aged 61, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926
  • Isabell Innes, aged 36, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926
  • Helen Innes, aged 21, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926

Contemporary Notables of the name Innes (post 1700) +

  • Judith Innes (d. 2020), American academic, professor emerita at the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Scott Innes (b. 1966), American author, songwriter, voice actor, and radio personality
  • William Thornton Innes III (1874-1969), American aquarist, author, photographer, printer and publisher
  • Laura Innes (b. 1959), American three-time Primetime Emmy Award nominated actress and director, best known for her role as Dr. Kerry Weaver on ER
  • Frederick Maitland Innes (1816-1882), Scottish-born, Australian politician, 9th Premier of Tasmania (1872 to 1873)
  • Andrew Colin Innes, Scottish born, London-based musician
  • Cosmo Nelson Innes FRSE (1798-1874), Scottish advocate, judge, Advocate-Depute, Sheriff of Elginshire, and Principal Clerk of Session, his "Essay Concerning Some Scotch Names" gives great insight into many Scottish families
  • Chris Innes (b. 1976), Scottish footballer from Broxburn, Scotland
  • Robert Thorburn Ayton Innes (1861-1933), Scottish astronomer best known for discovering Proxima Centauri in 1915, eponym of the Innes lunar crater
  • Lieutenant General James John McLeod Innes VC, CB (1830-1907), Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross in 1858
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Ethel Jean  Innes (1901-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [9]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Alexander Innes (b. 1916), Scottish Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Portsley, Banffshire, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [10]


The Innes 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: Be Traist
Motto Translation: Be faithful.


  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. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1823
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PLANTER 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Planter.htm
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1847
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  10. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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