McNeer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the McNeer family were part of an ancient Scottish tribe called the Picts. The name McNeer 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 McNeer family of Perth traditionally derive their name from M'an-oighre, which means son of the heir. Experts have also theorized that the surname McNeer 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 McNeer family

The surname McNeer 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 McNeer family

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

McNeer Spelling Variations

The appearance of the printing press and the first dictionaries in the last few hundred years did much to standardize spelling. Prior to that time scribes spelled according to sound, a practice that resulted in many spelling variations. McNeer has been spelled MacNair, MacNaire, MacNayer, MacNeir, MacNuir, Menair and many more.

Early Notables of the McNeer family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McNeer family to Ireland

Some of the McNeer 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.

Migration of the McNeer family

The expense of the crossing to the North American colonies seemed small beside the difficulties of remaining in Scotland. It was a long and hard trip, but at its end lay the reward of freedom. Some Scots remained faithful to England and called themselves United Empire Loyalists, while others fought in the American War of Independence. Much of this lost Scottish heritage has been recovered in the last century through Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of McNeer: John McNair, a Highland Scott, from Kilkenny, Argyll, came to America in 1770 with his 2 surviving children and settled in Robeson County, North Carolina.


Contemporary Notables of the name McNeer (post 1700) +

  • May Yonge McNeer Ward (1902-1994), American journalist and author from Cresskill, New Jersey who pens under the name May McNeer
  • Forest L. McNeer (b. 1912), American Democratic Party politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Summers County, 1937-38


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


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