MacNiven History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, MacNiven was a Strathclyde-Briton name for someone who lived in Ayrshire. The surname MacNiven was also regarded as derived from the Gaelic patronymic Mac Naoimhin, which is derived from the word naomh, meaning saint.

Early Origins of the MacNiven family

The surname MacNiven 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 MacNiven family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacNiven 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 MacNiven History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacNiven Spelling Variations

In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. MacNiven 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 MacNiven 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 MacNiven Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the MacNiven family to Ireland

Some of the MacNiven 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.


United States MacNiven migration to the United States +

Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

MacNiven Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel MacNiven, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States, in 1894
MacNiven Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Annie Macniven, aged 40, who landed in America from Liscard, in 1903
  • Margaret Macniven, aged 34, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1920
  • Robert Macniven, aged 11, who immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1920
  • George Macniven, aged 7, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1920
  • Donald MacNiven, aged 32, who landed in America from Paisley, Scotland, in 1921
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia MacNiven migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

MacNiven Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Peter MacNiven, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for life, transported aboard the "Henry Tanner" on 27th June 1834, settling in New South Wales, Australia [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name MacNiven (post 1700) +

  • Tyler MacNiven, American filmmaker and reality television contestant
  • Nisbet MacNiven, Scottish founder of Macniven and Cameron Ltd, a printing and stationery company based in Edinburgh in 1770, best known for their pen nibs, the "Pickwick", the "Owl" and the "Waverley"


The MacNiven 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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/henry-tanner


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