Kearnes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The chronicles of the Kearnes family show that the name was first used in the Scottish/English Borderlands by the Strathclyde- Britons. It was a name for a person who lived in Midlothian. The name Kearnes 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 Kearnes family

The surname Kearnes 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 Kearnes family

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

Kearnes Spelling Variations

The origin of rules governing the spelling of names and even words is a very recent innovation. Before that, words and names were spelled according to sound, and, therefore, often appeared under several different spelling variations in a single document. Kearnes has been spelled Cairns, Cairn, Kairnes, Carnys and others.

Early Notables of the Kearnes family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Kearnes family to Ireland

Some of the Kearnes 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.


United States Kearnes migration to the United States +

The persecution faced in their homeland left many Scots with little to do but sail for the colonies of North America. There they found land, freedom, opportunity, and nations in the making. They fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence, or traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In both cases, they made enormous contributions to the formation of those great nations. Among them:

Kearnes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Michael J. Kearnes, aged 25, who immigrated to the United States from Swinford, in 1898
Kearnes Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Maggie Kearnes, aged 30, who landed in America from Moher, in 1903
  • John Kearnes, aged 30, who landed in America from Liverpool, in 1905
  • John Kearnes, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States, in 1921
  • James Kearnes, aged 22, who settled in America, in 1922
  • John Kearnes, aged 52, who immigrated to America from Soton, in 1922

Australia Kearnes migration to Australia +

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

Kearnes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Bridget Kearnes, (b. 1802), aged 24, Irish country servant who was convicted in Kildare, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 3rd October 1826, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Miss Elizabeth Kearnes, (Keane), (b. 1802), aged 24, Irish country servant who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 3rd October 1826, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Rebecca Kearnes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kearnes (post 1700) +

  • Joseph Kearnes, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Cumberland County, 1791-92 [5]
  • John Kearnes, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Cumberland County, 1805-07 [5]


  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ramillies.htm
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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