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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Scottish McKinlay family come from? What is the Scottish McKinlay family crest and coat of arms? When did the McKinlay family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McKinlay family history?

The McKinlay family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name McKinlay is derived from the personal name Finlay. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac Fionnlaigh, which means son of Finlay. Thus, McKinlay is a cognate of the surname Finlayson.

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Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations. McKinlay has been written as MacKinley, MacKinlay, MacKindlay, MacKinly, MacKindley and many more.

First found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where the surname is still commonly found around Glenlyon and Balquhidder. The earliest known record of the name is from 1493, when Gillaspyk M'Kynlay witnessed legal proceedings involving Archibald, Earl of Argyll.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKinlay research. Another 211 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1511, 1675, and 1700 are included under the topic Early McKinlay History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 32 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McKinlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the McKinlay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 176 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name McKinlay or a variant listed above include:

McKinlay Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Neil McKinlay, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685

McKinlay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • John McKinlay, aged 55, landed in New York, NY in 1812-1813
  • Peter McKinlay, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1830
  • Janet McKinlay, who arrived in America in 1832
  • Alexander, John and Richard McKinlay, who settled in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

McKinlay Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Donald McKinlay, aged 36, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Margaret McKinlay, aged 32, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • John McKinlay, aged 2, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Donald McKinlay, aged 36, a labourer, arrived in Saint John NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Margaret McKinlay, aged 32, arrived in Saint John NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815


McKinlay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Robert McKinlay arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849
  • William McKinlay, aged 21, a labourer, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sultana" in 1850
  • William McKinlay, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Sultana"
  • James McKinlay, aged 25, a joiner, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo"
  • Andrew McKinlay, aged 22, a joiner, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"


McKinlay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • George McKinlay, aged 36, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Fanny McKinlay, aged 35, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Rosanna McKinlay, aged 17, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Mary McKinlay, aged 16, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Rodger McKinlay, aged 14, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842


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  • Arthur "Art" Frank McKinlay (1932-2009), American Olympic silver medalist rower in the 1956 Olympics, participant in the 1952 Olympics, twin brother to John Dickson McKinlay
  • Duncan E. McKinlay (1862-1914), U.S. Representative from California
  • Adeline McKinlay, American tennis player
  • John Dickinson McKinlay (1932-2013), American Olympic silver medalist rower in the 1956 Olympics, participant in the 1952 Olympics, twin brother to "Art" McKinlay
  • William Alexander McKinlay (b. 1969), Scottish former footballer
  • Kevin Donald McKinlay (b. 1986), Scottish professional footballer
  • Thomas Valley "Tosh" McKinlay (b. 1964), Scottish former international footballer
  • Robert McKinlay (1932-2002), Scottish professional footballer
  • John Robert Vickers McKinlay (1928-2003), Scottish international speedway rider
  • Adam Storey McKinlay (1887-1950), Scottish Labour Party politician

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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: Amo
Motto Translation: I love.

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  1. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  2. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  3. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  4. 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).
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The McKinlay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McKinlay Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 29 July 2015 at 08:21.

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