Show ContentsMcNairn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Pictish-Scottish name McNairn comes from the personal name John. The Gaelic form of their name was originally Mac-Iain-uidhir, which means son of dun John. However, the McNairn family of Perth traditionally derive their name from M'an-oighre, which means son of the heir. Experts have also theorized that the surname McNairn 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 McNairn family

The surname McNairn 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 McNairn family

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

McNairn Spelling Variations

Scribes in the Middle Ages did not have access to a set of spelling rules. They spelled according to sound, the result was a great number of spelling variations. In various documents, McNairn has been spelled MacNair, MacNaire, MacNayer, MacNeir, MacNuir, Menair and many more.

Early Notables of the McNairn family (pre 1700)

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McNairn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McNairn family to Ireland

Some of the McNairn 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.

Canada McNairn migration to Canada +

The cruelties suffered under the new government forced many to leave their ancient homeland for the freedom of the North American colonies. Those who arrived safely found land, freedom, and opportunity for the taking. These hardy settlers gave their strength and perseverance to the young nations that would become the United States and Canada. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name McNairn:

McNairn Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John McNairn U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name McNairn (post 1700) +

  • Caroline McNairn (1955-2010), Scottish figurative painter

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