Knisley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The root of the ancient Dalriadan-Scottish name Knisley is the personal name Naos, which is a dialectal form of Aonghus or Angus. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Neis, which is derived from the earlier form Mac Naois; both of these mean son of Angus. Thus, the name Knisley is a cognate of MacAngus and MacInnes.

Early Origins of the Knisley family

The surname Knisley was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Knisley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knisley research. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1522 is included under the topic Early Knisley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knisley Spelling Variations

The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years Knisley has appeared as MacNeish, MacNeice, MacNish, MacNess, MacKness, MacNeece and many more.

Early Notables of the Knisley family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Knisley family to Ireland

Some of the Knisley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Knisley migration to the United States +

Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The Knisley were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

Knisley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Raymond L. Knisley, aged 26, who arrived in Santa Anita, California, in 1924

Contemporary Notables of the name Knisley (post 1700) +

  • Ron Knisley, American Director of Sports and Competition for Special Olympics Illinois, eponym of the Ron Knisley Memorial Special Olympics Shootout
  • Dr. Knisley, American eponym of the Dr. Knisley Covered Bridge, Bedford County, Pennsylvania
  • Lucy Knisley (b. 1985), American comic artist and musician
  • Clarence H. Knisley, American Democrat politician, Ohio treasurer of state, 1937-39; defeated, 1938; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1948 (alternate), 1952 [1]


The Knisley 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: Animo non astutia
Motto Translation: By courage, not by craft.


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


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