Kairnay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Pictish clans of ancient Scotland were the ancestors of first people to use the name Kairnay. The name was found on the lands of Cardney in Perthshire.

Early Origins of the Kairnay family

The surname Kairnay 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 Kairnay family

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

Kairnay Spelling Variations

In the Middle ages, spelling and translation were not yet regulated by any general rules. spelling variations in names were common even among members of one family unit. Kairnay has appeared Cairney, Cairnie, Cardney, Cairnie and others.

Early Notables of the Kairnay family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Kairnay family

Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland, Australia, and North America in search of greater opportunity and freedom. The colonies across the Atlantic were the most popular choice, but a passage there was neither cheap nor easily suffered. Passengers arrived sick and poor, but those who made it intact often found land and more tolerant societies in which to live. These brave settlers formed the backbone of the burgeoning nations of Canada and the United States. It is only this century that the ancestors of these families have begun to recover their collective identity through the patriotic highland games and Clan societies that have sprung up throughout North America. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Kairnay: John Cairney arrived in New York in 1836.



The Kairnay 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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