Neish History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In the mountains of Scotland's west coast and on the Hebrides islands, the ancestors of the Neish family were born. Their name comes from the personal name Naos, which is a dialectal form of Aonghus or Angus. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Neis, which is derived from the earlier form Mac Naois; both of these mean son of Angus. Thus, the name Neish is a cognate of MacAngus and MacInnes.

Early Origins of the Neish family

The surname Neish was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, 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.

Early History of the Neish family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Neish research. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1522 is included under the topic Early Neish History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Neish Spelling Variations

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. Neish has been spelled MacNeish, MacNeice, MacNish, MacNess, MacKness, MacNeece and many more.

Early Notables of the Neish family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Neish family to Ireland

Some of the Neish family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Neish migration to the United States +

Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Neishs to arrive on North American shores:

Neish Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Neish, who arrived in New York in 1820 [1]
  • Janet Neish, who arrived in New York in 1835 [1]
  • Robert Neish, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1855 [1]
  • Agnes Neish, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1855 [1]
  • Isabelle Penman Neish, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1855 [1]

New Zealand Neish 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:

Neish Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Neish, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Earl Durham" arriving in Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand in 1841 [2]
  • Miss Esther Neish, (b. 1849), aged 25, Scottish domestic servant, from Forfar travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 31st December 1874 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Neish (post 1700) +

  • Dionne Neish, American actress and producer, known for her roles in General Hospital (1963), Martian Land (2015) and The Bill (1984)
  • Stephen Neish (b. 1968), Canadian actor from Kitchener, Ontario, known for Blueprint for Disaster (2005) and Life or Death (2007)
  • Bruce Neish (b. 1950), former Australian rules footballer who played for Essendon and Footscray (1970-1972)
  • Arthur Charles Neish, Canadian plant biologist, Fellow of the Royal Society of London


The Neish 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: Animo non astutia
Motto Translation: By courage, not by craft.


  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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