Knee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The spelling and overall form of Irish names tend to vary widely. The original Gaelic form of the name Knee is Mac Neidhe, which is derived from the word niadh, which means champion.

Early Origins of the Knee family

The surname Knee was first found in County Down (Irish:An Dún) part of the Province of Ulster, in Northern Ireland, formerly known as county St Mirren, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the Knee family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knee research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the year 1037 is included under the topic Early Knee History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knee Spelling Variations

In the Middle Ages, a name was often recorded under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer. Literacy was rare at that time and none of the languages to be found in the British Isles had achieved any great semblance of standardization. Variations of the name Knee found include MacNee, MacNea, MacNay, MacKnee, MacNeigh, MacNia, Nee, Knee and many more.

Early Notables of the Knee family (pre 1700)

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

Knee Ranking

In the United States, the name Knee is the 12,394th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Knee is ranked the 462nd most popular surname with an estimated 102 people with that name. [2]


United States Knee migration to the United States +

Ireland experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the late 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape such hunger and disease. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Knee:

Knee Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Knee, who landed in America in 1809 [3]
  • Harmon Knee, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1830 [3]
  • James Knee, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1875 [3]

Canada Knee migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Knee Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

Australia Knee migration to Australia +

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

Knee Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Knee, English convict from Wiltshire, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [5]
  • Mr. Joseph Knee, English convict who was convicted in Bath, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "David Clarke" on 3rd June 1841, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]

New Zealand Knee 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:

Knee Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Knee, aged 23, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Mrs. Susan Knee, (b. 1836), aged 25, Irish settler, from County Donegal travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [7]
  • Mr. James Knee, (b. 1839), aged 22, Irish farm labourer, from County Donegal travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Knee (post 1700) +

  • Bernie Knee (1924-1994), American singer and musician, best known for his work with Carole King
  • Allan Knee, American film and television writer and playwright
  • Miriam Knee (b. 1938), Australian cricketer who played eight women's test matches
  • Fred Knee (1868-1914), British trade unionist and socialist politician


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd June 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/david-clarke
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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