Show ContentsMacNair History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The first family to use the name MacNair lived among the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The name MacNair is derived from the personal name John. The Gaelic form of their name was originally Mac-Iain-uidhir, which means son of dun John. However, the MacNair family of Perth traditionally derive their name from M'an-oighre, which means son of the heir. Experts have also theorized that the surname MacNair may be derived from Mac-an-fhuibir, which means son of the smith, or Mac-an-huidhir, which means son of the stranger.

Early Origins of the MacNair family

The surname MacNair was first found in Perth, 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.

Further to the south in England, the Menaire, Menear, Manhire and other variants claim descent from Walter Maenhir who was listed in Devon in 1293. The very rare variant Manhire traces back to Ellis Menheire who was listed in Devon in 1642. [1]

Early History of the MacNair family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacNair research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1392, 1526, 1546, 1776 and 1890 are included under the topic Early MacNair History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacNair Spelling Variations

Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. MacNair has appeared MacNair, MacNaire, MacNayer, MacNeir, MacNuir, Menair and many more.

Early Notables of the MacNair family

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was

Ireland Migration of the MacNair family to Ireland

Some of the MacNair family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States MacNair migration to the United States +

Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name MacNair:

MacNair Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Alexander MacNair, who landed in Maine in 1651-1652 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name MacNair (post 1700) +

  • Rachel M. MacNair (b. 1958), American sociologist and psychologist
  • Frances MacNair (1873-1921), née MacDonald, a Scottish artist; her work contributed to the development of the "Glasgow Style" during the 1890s
  • James Herbert Macnair (1868-1955), Scottish architect and designer; his work contributed to the development of the "Glasgow Style" during the 1890s
  • Peter Livesay Macnair (b. 1940), Canadian anthropologist, Curator of Ethnology at the Royal British Columbia Museum (1965-1996)
  • Air Marshall James MacNair,

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. 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) on Facebook