Kearnie History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The saga of the Kearnie family begins among the people of the ancient tribe of the Picts. They lived on the lands of Cardney in Perthshire.

Early Origins of the Kearnie family

The surname Kearnie 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 Kearnie family

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

Kearnie Spelling Variations

Although Medieval Scotland lacked a basic set of spelling rules, which meant that scribes recorded names according to their sounds it was not uncommon for the names of a father and son to be recorded differently. As a result, there are many spelling variations of Scottish single names. Kearnie has been written Cairney, Cairnie, Cardney, Cairnie and others.

Early Notables of the Kearnie family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Kearnie family

Thousands of Scots left their home country to travel to Ireland or Australia, or to cross the Atlantic for the North American colonies. The difficult crossing was an enormous hurdle, but those who survived found freedom and opportunity in ample measure. Some Scots even fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence. This century, their ancestors have become aware of the illustrious history of the Scots in North America and at home through Clan societies and other organizations. Passenger and immigration lists show many early and influential immigrants bearing the name Kearnie: John Cairney arrived in New York in 1836.



The Kearnie 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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