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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish


Mewhinney is a very old Scottish name that may even date back to the Dalriadan tribe of Scotland's western coast and Hebrides islands. It 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.

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The surname Mewhinney 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.

Spelling variations are a very common occurrence in records of early Scottish names. They result from the repeated and inaccurate translations that many names went through in the course of various English occupations of Scotland. Mewhinney has been spelled MacKenzie, McKenzie, Kennethson, Kenneth, Kennieson, MacCoinnich (Gaelic), MacWhinnie, MacWhinny, MacWhinney and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mewhinney research. Another 383 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1278, 1715, 1771, 1561, 1568, 1594, 1569, 1611, 1651, 1635, 1678, 1636, 1691, 1688, 1662, 1677, 1677, 1688, 1630, 1714 and are included under the topic Early Mewhinney History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 269 words (19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mewhinney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Mewhinney family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Mewhinneys to arrive in North America: Alexander McKenzie, his wife Isobel and their four children, who settled in Philadelphia in 1775; John and Mary McKenzie, who settled with two children in New York in 1738.

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  • Sam Mewhinney, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1944


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

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  1. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  3. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  4. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Mewhinney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Mewhinney 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 25 September 2013 at 14:26.

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