Kinnear History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The annals of Scottish history reveal that Kinnear was first used as a name by descendants of the Pictish tribe of ancient Scotland. The Kinnear 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 Kinnear family

The surname Kinnear 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 Kinnear family

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

Kinnear Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, there was no basic set of rules and scribes wrote according to sound. The correct spelling of Scottish names were further compromised after many haphazard translations from Gaelic to English and back. Spelling variations of the name Kinnear include Kinnear, Kynnier, Kynnair, Kenneir, Kinner, Kinnier, MacEnir and many more.

Early Notables of the Kinnear 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 Kinnear Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Kinnear family to Ireland

Some of the Kinnear 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.


United States Kinnear migration to the United States +

Scots left their country by the thousands to travel to Australia and North America. Desperate for freedom and an opportunity to fend for themselves, many paid huge fees and suffered under terrible conditions on long voyages. Still, for those who made the trip, freedom and opportunity awaited. In North America, many fought their old English oppressors in the American War of Independence. In recent years, Scottish heritage has been an increasingly important topic, as Clan societies and other organizations have renewed people's interest in their history. An examination of passenger and immigration lists shows many early settlers bearing the name of Kinnear:

Kinnear Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • David Kinnear, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1844

Canada Kinnear migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kinnear Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Kinnear, aged 22, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • Margaret Kinnear, aged 23, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • John Kinnear, aged 1, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • Miss. Ann Kinnear, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Aberdeen" departing 1st May 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 13th June 1847 but she died on board [4]
  • Mr. Matthew Kinnear, aged 4 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Free Trader" departing 22nd June 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 14th August 1847 but he died on board [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Kinnear migration to Australia +

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

Kinnear Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Alexandrina A.V. Kinnear, aged 14, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Emily" [5]
  • Jacinda C.D. Kinnear, aged 16, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Emily" [5]
  • L.C.D. Kinnear, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849 [5]
  • A.A.V. Kinnear, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849 [5]
  • Miss Jessie Kinnear, (b. 1823), aged 28, Scottish laundress who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years for robbery, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1872 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Kinnear 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:

Kinnear Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Kinnear, (b. 1843), aged 16, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Anne" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th August 1859 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kinnear (post 1700) +

  • George Kinnear (1836-1912), American real estate developer in Seattle, Washington responsible for the development of Queen Anne Hill
  • George E. R. "Gus" Kinnear II (1928-2015), American four star admiral in the United States Navy
  • Kent Kinnear (b. 1966), American former professional tennis player
  • Dominic Kinnear (b. 1967), Scottish-born, American former soccer player
  • Gregory "Greg" Kinnear (b. 1963), Academy Award-nominated American actor
  • Samuel A. Kinnear, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Columbus, Ohio, 1914-22 [8]
  • John B. Kinnear, American politician, Mayor of Takoma Park, Maryland, 1902-06 [8]
  • Jack Kinnear, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Nevada, 1944 [8]
  • George Kinnear, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Washington, 1956, 1960 [8]
  • William Duthie Kinnear (1880-1974), Scottish gold medalist rower at the 1912 Summer Olympics
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  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)
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 83)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The EMILY 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Emily.htm
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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