Kneff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Scottish name Kneff was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The original bearer of the name lived in Ayrshire. The surname Kneff was also regarded as derived from the Gaelic patronymic Mac Naoimhin, which is derived from the word naomh, meaning saint.

Early Origins of the Kneff family

The surname Kneff was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, long before the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Early History of the Kneff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kneff research. Another 252 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1230, 1400, 1296, 1386, 1538, 1590, 1635, 1715, 1700, 1639, 1684 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Kneff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kneff Spelling Variations

The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Kneff 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 Kneff family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Kate McNiven (died 1715), also called Kate Nevin was 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...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kneff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Kneff family to Ireland

Some of the Kneff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Kneff family

To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were: William Nevin, who settled in New Jersey in 1685; John, Joseph, Michael, Patrick, Thomas and William Nevin, who settled in Pennsylvania between 1772 and 1856.


Contemporary Notables of the name Kneff (post 1700) +

  • David S. Kneff, American politician, Workers World Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1984, 1988 [1]


The Kneff 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: Vivis sperandum
Motto Translation: Where there is life there is hope


  1. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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