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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Dutch, English, German, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Ness family come from? What is the Scottish Ness family crest and coat of arms? When did the Ness family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Ness family history?

Ness was first used as a surname by descendants of the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The ancestors of the Ness family lived in any of a number of places called Ness, in Scotland and England. In this case, the surname Ness comes from the Old English word, ness, which means headland. Thus, the surname Ness means someone "from the headland." However, some references claim the name came from the Gaelic personal name Ness.

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Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. Ness has appeared Ness, Nesse, Nessan, Neeson and others.

First found in Fife, 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ness research. Another 170 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1093, 1153, 1160, 1180, and 1260 are included under the topic Early Ness History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Ness Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ness family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 123 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Ness:

Ness Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • An Cath. Ness, who settled in New York in 1710
  • Georg Wilhelm Ness, who came to New York, NY sometime between 1710 and 1714
  • Ann Cath. Ness went to New York, NY in the fall of 1710 and was given aid by the British Government to survive her first winter there, a debt which she, among hundreds of others, did not repay
  • An Cath Ness, who arrived in New York, NY in 1710
  • Mathias Ness and his wife Maria Barbara settled in Philadelphia with their six sons in 1731


Ness Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • James Ness, aged 16, a moulder, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "James Jardine"
  • Paul Ness, aged 15, a moulder, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "James Jardine"
  • Angus Ness, aged 4, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "James Jardine"
  • Hugh Ness, aged 9, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "James Jardine"
  • Mrs. Janet Ness, aged 39, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "James Jardine"


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  • Albert Ness, American Artist
  • Eliot Ness (1903-1957), American Prohibition agent, famous leader of a legendary team nicknamed "The Untouchables"
  • Cornelius P. Van Ness (1782-1852), American lawyer and politician from Vermont
  • Mike Ness (b. 1962), American guitarist and vocalist
  • Helge Ness (1861-1928), Norwegian botanist


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  1. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  9. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  10. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  11. ...

The Ness Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ness 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 15 June 2014 at 11:34.

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