Kneen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Kneen was first used as a surname in the Scottish/English Borderlands by the Strathclyde-Briton. The first Kneen family lived in Ayrshire. The surname Kneen was also regarded as derived from the Gaelic patronymic Mac Naoimhin, which is derived from the word "naomh," meaning "little saint." The name was a favorite personal name in Galloway and Ayrshire.  
Another source claims the name "points to an early but forgotten personal name,"  but the lion's share of sources point to the aforementioned "little saint" origin.
Early Origins of the Kneen family
The surname Kneen was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, where the first record of the family appeared in the Latin form Nevinus, who was parson of Neveth and witnessed grant of a saltpan in Rosneath to the monks of Paisley, c. 1230. 
"Patrick filius Nevyn mentioned in 1284 is doubtless Patrick fiz John Nevyn or Neivin of Lanerkshire who rendered homage, 1296. Thomas filius Neuini served on an inquest in 1295, another Thomas filius Nyuini or Niuini was a tenant in Garvalde, 1376, and Crunyhatoun was leased to Robert filius Niuini in the same year." 
Some of the family ventured south into England where as a forename Neuyn filius Ade was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland in 1332 and Thomas filius Neuini was listed in 1295. 
Early History of the Kneen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kneen research. Another 372 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1230, 1400, 1296, 1386, 1538, 1590, 1635, 1635, 1675, 1793, 1539, 1594, 1680, 1715, 1700, 1639, 1684, 1686, 1744, 1686, 1634, 1703, 1725, 1695, 1707, 1711, 1720, 1721, 1722 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Kneen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kneen Spelling Variations
Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Kneen has been spelled Niven, Nevin, Nevins, Nivens, Navin, Newin, Nevane, Niffen, Nifen, Niving, Neving, Newing, Neiven, Nivine, Nevison, Niveson and many more.
Early Notables of the Kneen family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family at this time was Kate McNiven (died 1715), also called Kate Nevin, a young nurse who served the House of Inchbrakie in the Parish of Monzie, near Crieff in Scotland in the early 1700s, she was one of the...
Migration of the Kneen family to Ireland
Some of the Kneen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:
Kneen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Kneen Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Kneen Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
Kneen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
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: Vivis sperandum
Motto Translation: Where there is life there is hope