Kniffin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Strathclyde-Briton people of ancient Scotland were the first to use the name Kniffin. The Kniffin family lived in Ayrshire. The surname Kniffin 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 Kniffin family
The surname Kniffin 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 Kniffin family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kniffin 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 Kniffin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kniffin Spelling Variations
The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Kniffin has appeared as Niven, Nevin, Nevins, Nivens, Navin, Newin, Nevane, Niffen, Nifen, Niving, Neving, Newing, Neiven, Nivine, Nevison, Niveson and many more.
Early Notables of the Kniffin 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...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kniffin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Kniffin family to Ireland
Some of the Kniffin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 221 words (16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kniffin migration to Canada +
As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:
Kniffin Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Mr. Kniffin David U.E. who settled in Bell Vue, Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 
Related Stories +
The Kniffin 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
- ^ 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)
- ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Supplement to Irish Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Book Company, 1964. Print.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X