Keneir History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The chronicles of the Keneir family reach back into Scottish history to an ancient tribe known as the Picts. The ancestors of the Keneir family lived in the lands of Kinnear, which lie near Wormit in the county of Fife. [1] The name literally means "chieftain." [2]

Early Origins of the Keneir family

The surname Keneir was first found in Fife, from the lands of Kin-near near Wormit. The family descend from "Symon, son of Michael, [who] gave a carucate of land of Cathelai to the church of St. Andrews. His grant was confirmed by King Malcolm IV, and King William confirmed the grant of Chathelach, with common pasture for twenty-four beasts, and eighty sheep, which Symon, son of Michael gave, and his son Alan confirmed. The descendants of Symon took the name of Kinnear, and were the vassals of the Priory of St. Andrews in the lands of Kathlac, etc., which they held till the beginning of the eighteenth century. Reginald de Kener witnessed gift of one mark of silver annually by Alexander, earl of Buchan to the Abbey of Arnbroath, c. 1250." [3]

Early History of the Keneir family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keneir research. Another 143 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1170, 1216, 1296, 1543, 1600, 1602, 1536, 1574, 1543, 1574, 1477, 1439, 1457, 1782, 1830, 1782, 1802, 1813, 1814 and 1818 are included under the topic Early Keneir History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keneir Spelling Variations

When the first dictionaries were invented in the last few hundred years, spelling gradually became standardized. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound. Names were often recorded under different spelling variations every time they were written. Keneir has been written Kinnear, Kynnier, Kynnair, Kenneir, Kinner, Kinnier, MacEnir and many more.

Early Notables of the Keneir family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Petrus Kyrior who was elected common councillor of Aberdeen, 1477; John de Kynor who was admitted burgess of Aberdeen, 1439; and Adam Kynnor in 1457. [3] Sir John MacDonald Kinneir (1782-1830), was Lieutenant-Colonel H.E.I.C.S., traveller and diplomatist, born at Carnden, Linlithgow, on 3 Feb. 1782, and was the son of John Macdonald, comptroller of customs at Borrowstounness, and Mrs. Cecilia Maria Kinneir. "In 1802 he was nominated to a cadetship by Sir William Bensley, under the name...
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keneir Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Keneir family to Ireland

Some of the Keneir family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Keneir family

The crossing to North America did not seem so great in comparison with the hardships many Scots endured at home. It was long, expensive, and cramped, but also rewarding. North America offered land and the chance for settlers to prove themselves in a new place. And many did prove themselves as they fought to forge a new nation in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of those Scots can now experience much of their once-lost heritage through the Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up across North America in the last century. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Keneir: John and Elizabeth Kinner settled in New York in 1774; with sons Nicholas and Anthony and daughter Elizabeth; David Kinnear arrived in Philadelphia in 1844.



  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  3. ^ 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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