Skeen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Skeen surname is thought to be derived from the Aberdeenshire parish of the same name. Legend has it that the first bearer of the name was second son of Struan Robertson, who saved king Malcolm II (circa 1014) by slaying a wolf with his "sgian," or "skene," (Scottish dagger) in Stocket Forest. which meant "a dagger." It is said that he was rewarded with the lands of Skene and henceforth used the name Skene. [1]

"The Skenes obtained this name for killing a very big and fierce wolf, at a hunting in company with the king, in Stocket forest in Athole; having killed the wolf with a dagger or skene." [2]

"Some derive their names as well as their arms from some considerable action, and thus a son of Struan Robertson, for killing a wolf in Stocket forest in Athole, in the king's presence, with a dirk, received the name of Skene, which signifies a dirk, and three dirks points in pale, for his arms." [3]

Early Origins of the Skeen family

The surname Skeen was first found in Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), a historic county, and present day Council Area of Aberdeen, located in the Grampian region of northeastern Scotland, where they held a family seat sometime before the year 1250. The family had always maintained the rank of free Barons and held the Castle Skene, and the Earldom of Mar in Aberdeen.

The family is "of territorial origin from the lands of Skene, Aberdeenshire, erected into a barony in 1317 in favor of Robert de Skene. The first record of the name is in 1296 when Johan de Skene of the county of Edneburk and Johan de Skene of the county of Aberdene rendered homage [to King Edward I of England]. Probably, like many other old families, the Skenes were hereditary possessors of the church of Skene, a vicarage dependent upon the church of Kinkell, and toox their name from it. This supposition is rendered probable by the designation of Patrick as a cleric, and by the fact that in 1358 a Giliane de Skene is mentioned who is probably a descendant of the John de Skene who bore the head of John the Baptist on his seal." [4]

Early History of the Skeen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Skeen research. Another 147 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1317, 1825, 1411, 1543, 1617 and 1597 are included under the topic Early Skeen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Skeen Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Skene, Skeyne, Skeen, Skeene, Skin and many more.

Early Notables of the Skeen family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Sir John Skene (1543-1617), who acquired Curriehill (taking the title Lord Curriehill); he was a much published lawyer in Scotland, who compiled...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Skeen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Skeen Ranking

In the United States, the name Skeen is the 4,841st most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5]


United States Skeen migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Skeen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Skeen, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1845 [6]
  • Thomas Skeen, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1858
  • Wm. Skeen, aged 29, who settled in America from Aremagh, in 1892
Skeen Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Oswald Skeen, aged 27, who landed in America from Newcastle, in 1905
  • Thomas Skeen, aged 14, who immigrated to the United States from Liverpool, Eng, in 1917
  • Helen Skeen, aged 45, who settled in America from Hamilton, Bermuda, in 1922

Australia Skeen migration to Australia +

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

Skeen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Skeen, aged 20, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"
  • Isabella Skeen, aged 31, a house maid, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"
  • Thomas Skeen, aged 25, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Stamboul"

New Zealand Skeen 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:

Skeen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Robert Skeen, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Robert Skeen, aged 19, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • Catherine Skeen, aged 21, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843

Contemporary Notables of the name Skeen (post 1700) +

  • Major General Henry G. "Hank" Skeen (1933-2006), American General of the United States Army
  • Buren Skeen (1938-1965), American NASCAR driver
  • Jamie Skeen (b. 1988), American professional basketball player
  • Joseph Richard "Joe" Skeen (1927-2003), American conservative Republican congressman
  • Major General Henry G. "Hank" Skeen (1933-2006), U.S. Army Logistic Evaluation Agency
  • Dick Skeen, former American tennis player
  • Orel J. Skeen, American Democratic Party politician, West Virginia State Treasurer; Elected 1956 [7]
  • Joseph Richard Skeen (1927-2003), American Republican politician, Member of New Mexico State Senate, 1960-70; New Mexico Republican State Chair, 1962-65; Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Mexico, 1964 [7]
  • Estel Skeen, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for West Virginia State House of Delegates from Jackson County, 1954 [7]
  • C. A. Skeen, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Indian Territory, 1904 [7]
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Harvey Leroy Skeen, American Seaman Second Class from Arizona, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [8]


The Skeen 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: Virtutis regia merces
Motto Translation: A palace the reward of bravery.


  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  4. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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