Nairn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Scottish surname Nairn is of local origin, derived from the Burgh of Nairn in Northern Scotland. The original bearers of this name likely lived, held land, or came from Nairn.

Early Origins of the Nairn family

The surname Nairn was first found in Nairnshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Narann) in northern Scotland, today part of the Council Area of Highland, 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 Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Nairn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nairn research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1414, 1457 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Nairn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nairn Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Nairn, Nairne and others.

Early Notables of the Nairn family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Nairn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Nairn migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Nairn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Nairn, who landed in Bermuda in 1722 [1]
  • James Nairn, who settled in New York in 1774
  • James Nairn, aged 19, who arrived in New York in 1774 [1]
Nairn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Maxwell Nairn, who settled in Philadelphia in 1858
  • Hugh Nairn, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1861 [1]

Australia Nairn migration to Australia +

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

Nairn Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Nairn, Scottish convict who was convicted in Perth, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Blundell" on 13th March 1844, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [2]

New Zealand Nairn 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:

Nairn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Margret Nairn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th August 1856 [3]
  • Mr. William Nairn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th August 1856 [3]
  • Mr. John Nairn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th August 1856 [3]
  • Mr. Robert Nairn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th August 1856 [3]
  • Miss Margaret Nairn, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th August 1856 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Nairn migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [4]
Nairn Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Nairn, who arrived in Barbados in 1745

Contemporary Notables of the name Nairn (post 1700) +

  • Christine Marie Nairn (b. 1990), American soccer player from Annapolis, Maryland
  • Allan Nairn (b. 1956), American investigative journalist
  • Sir Robert Arnold Spencer- Nairn (b. 1933), 3rd Baronet of Monimail, Scottish peer
  • Sir Douglas Leslie Spencer- Nairn (1906-1970), 2nd Baronet of Monimail, Scottish peer
  • Sir Robert Spencer- Nairn (1880-1960), 1st Baronet of Monimail, Scottish peer
  • Sir Michael Nairn (d. 1930), Scottish early manufacturer of linoleum in Kirkaldy, Scotland
  • Tara Spencer- Nairn (b. 1978), Canadian actress, best known for her work on the television series Corner Gas
  • Norman Nairn (1894-1968), and his brother Gerald (1897-1980), New Zealand businessmen who co-founded the Nairn Transport Company, a motor transport company that operated return trips on a trans-desert route from Beirut, Haifa and Damascus to Baghdad in 1923, the route was known as "The Nairn Way"
  • James MacLauchlan Nairn (1859-1904), Scottish-born, New Zealand painter
  • Gary Roy Nairn AO (b. 1951), Australian former politician, Member of the Australian House of Representatives (1996-2007), Special Minister of State (2006-2007)
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Nairn 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: Sero sed serio
Motto Translation: Late but in earnest.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blundell
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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