Show ContentsMcKenzie History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the McKenzie family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. Their surname comes from the personal name Coinneach. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Coinnich or Mac Choinnich, both of which mean son of Coinneach. However, In Adamnan, the Gaelic form of the name is Cainnechus, which is derived from the word cann, meaning fair or bright; thus, the surname is of the 'nickname' variety in this case.

Early Origins of the McKenzie family

The surname McKenzie was first found in Ross-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rois) a former county, now part of the Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles in Northern Scotland, which emerged from the Gaelic lordship of the Earl of Ross, 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 McKenzie family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKenzie research. Another 192 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1278, 1561, 1568, 1569, 1594, 1611, 1630, 1635, 1636, 1651, 1662, 1677, 1678, 1688, 1691, 1714, 1715, 1771 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McKenzie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McKenzie Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McKenzie has been spelled MacKenzie, McKenzie, Kennethson, Kenneth, Kennieson, MacCoinnich (Gaelic), MacWhinnie, MacWhinny, MacWhinney and many more.

Early Notables of the McKenzie family

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was John Mackenzie (died c. 1561), or "John of Killin", traditionally reckoned 9th of Kintail, a Highland chief; Kenneth Mackenzie (died 1568), 10th of Kintail and nicknamed Coinneach na Cuirc (or "Kenneth of the Whittle"), a Highland chief; Colin Mackenzie of Kintail (died 1594), nicknamed "Cam" ("crooked", because one-eyed), a Highland chief; Kenneth Mackenzie, the first Lord Mackenzie of Kintail (c.1569-1611), a Highland Clan chief...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKenzie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McKenzie World Ranking

In the United States, the name McKenzie is the 490th most popular surname with an estimated 57,201 people with that name. 1 However, in Canada, the name McKenzie is ranked the 258th most popular surname with an estimated 15,930 people with that name. 2 And in Quebec, Canada, the name McKenzie is the 779th popular surname. 3 Australia ranks McKenzie as 89th with 27,305 people. 4 New Zealand ranks McKenzie as 47th with 5,357 people. 5 The United Kingdom ranks McKenzie as 388th with 16,578 people. 6

Ireland Migration of the McKenzie family to Ireland

Some of the McKenzie 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 McKenzie migration to the United States +

Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name McKenzie were among those contributors:

McKenzie Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander McKenzie, who landed in Virginia in 1716 7
  • George McKenzie, who arrived in New York in 1738 7
  • John and Mary McKenzie, who settled with two children in New York, NY in 1738
  • William McKenzie, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1773 7
  • Margaret McKenzie, aged 27, who arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774 7
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McKenzie Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James McKenzie, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 7
  • Henry H McKenzie, who landed in Mississippi in 1857 7

Canada McKenzie migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McKenzie Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Katherine McKenzie, who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Adam McKenzie, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Mr. Caleb McKenzie U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 8
  • Mr. Colin McKenzie Sr., U.E. who settled in Ernest Town [Ernestown], Lennox & Addington, Ontario c. 1784 8
  • Mr. Donald McKenzie U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 8
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McKenzie Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Farquhar McKenzie, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Andrew McKenzie, aged 35, Scottish labourer, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816 with his wife and 4 children
  • Robert McKenzie, aged 60, who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816 with his wife and 2 children
  • William McKenzie, aged 22, Scottish tailor who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816 with his wife 7
  • John McKenzie, aged 25, Scottish labourer who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816 with his wife 7
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McKenzie migration to Australia +

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

McKenzie Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Sarah Mckenzie, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Experiment" on 21st January 1809, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 9
  • Mr. Charles Mckenzie, (b. 1781), aged 35, English convict who was convicted in Nottingham, England for life for coining, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 16th January 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1822 10
  • Mr. Alexander McKenzie, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Champion" on 24th May 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 11
  • Mr. Michael Mckenzie, Scottish convict who was convicted in Perth, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Florentia" on 14th August 1827, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 12
  • Daniel McKenzie, English convict from Durham, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia 13
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McKenzie migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McKenzie Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James McKenzie, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Brazil Packet" arriving in New Zealand in 1833 14
  • Thomas McKenzie, aged 20, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • Mr. Thomas Urquhart McKenzie, (b. 1819), aged 20, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in Port Nicholson, Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1840 15
  • Duncan McKENZIE, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Hugh McKENZIE, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Blenheim
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McKenzie (post 1700) +

  • Judith Ann McKenzie (1942-2023), American biogeochemist known for her research on past climate change, chemical cycles in sediments, and geobiology, former Professor of Earth System Sciences at ETH Zurich
  • Benjamin McKenzie (b. 1978), born Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan, an American actor and director, best known for his role as Ryan Atwood in the television series The O.C
  • Brigadier-General Henry Ray McKenzie (1904-1992), American Quartermaster, US Army Forces Mid Pacific (1945-1947) 16
  • John Archibald McKenzie (1925-2017), Scottish footballer
  • Joseph McKenzie (1929-2015), Scottish photographer, known as the "father of modern Scottish photography" for his black and white images of post-war Scotland
  • Robert Trelford McKenzie (1917-1981), Canadian professor of politics and sociology, and a psephologist, best known in Britain as one of the main presenters of the BBC's General Election programs
  • William David "Bill" McKenzie (1946-2021), Baron McKenzie of Luton, a British Labour Party politician, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government (2009-2010), partner at accounting firm Price Waterhouse
  • John Albert "Pie, Bronco" McKenzie (1937-2018), Canadian NHL and WHA hockey player and coach
  • Keith Alexander McKenzie (1922-2018), Australian rules footballer who played for North Melbourne (1966-1970) and Carlton (1972 and 1975)
  • Brigadier Eric George Henderson McKenzie (b. 1896), Commanding Officer, 13th Australian Infantry Brigade, New Britain from 1940 to 1945 17
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Frank Rock Slide
  • Mr. Dan McKenzie, Canadian miner working in the town of Frank, Alberta who survived the Frank Rock Slide on 29th April 1903 18
Halifax Explosion
  • Master Daniel Everett  McKenzie (1908-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) 19
  • Master Reginald  McKenzie (1913-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) 19
  • Mr. Ronald  McKenzie (1879-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) 19
  • Mr. A  McKenzie, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) 19
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Donald James McKenzie (1921-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Pascoe Vale, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking 20
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. John Mckenzie, British Boy 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and died in the sinking 21
  • Mr. John Barrie Mckenzie, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and died in the sinking 21
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Henry Mckenzie, English Night Watchman from Walton, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and survived the sinking 22
USS Indianapolis
  • Ernest Eugene Mckenzie (1926-1976), American crew member on board the ship "USS Indianapolis" when she was on a top secret trip for the first nuclear weapon, she was sunk by Japanese Navy on 30th July 1945, he survived the sinking 23


The McKenzie 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: Luceo non uro
Motto Translation: I shine not burn.


  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
  2. "Surnames Meanings, Origins & Distribution Maps - Forebears." Forebears, https://forebears.io/surnames
  3. "The first 1,000 family names by rank, Quebec (in French only)" Institut de la statistique du Quebec, https://statistique.quebec.ca/en/document/family-names-in-quebec/tableau/the-first-1000-family-names-by-rank-quebec
  4. "Most Common Last Names in Australia." Forebears, https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. "Most Common Last Names in New Zealand." Forebears, https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. "UK surname ranking." UK Surname map, https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  7. 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)
  8. 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
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd June 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/experiment
  10. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  11. Convict Records of Australia. Retreived 18th January 2021 from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/champion
  12. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th October 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/florentia
  13. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  14. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  16. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2013, May 9) Henry McKenzie. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/McKenzie/Henry_Ray/USA.html
  17. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, August 30) Eric McKenzie. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/McKenzie/Eric_George_Henderson/Australia.html
  18. Calgary Herald news article retrieved 11th August 2021. Retrieved from https://smartcdn.prod.postmedia.digital/calgaryherald/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Calgary_Herald_Thu__Apr_30__1903_-copy-scaled.jpg
  19. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  20. HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  21. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  22. Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  23. Final Crew List, retrieved 2021, October 30th Retrieved from https://www.ussindianapolis.com/final-crew


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