According to the Venerable Bede (circa 673 - 735)
(a monk and famous historian from the Northumbrian Monastery at Jarrow), the Pictish race,
one of the founding races of the British Isles, arrived in Scotland from Brittany about
the 15th century BC from France. The Picts had sailed northward to Ireland. The ancient
Monarchies of Ireland refused them permission to land, but they were allowed to settle in
the eastern part of Scotland, on condition that all their kings marry Irish princesses.
This established a matriarchal hierarchy, first in the annals of British history. Some
historians believe that the family name Kinnaird is descended from this source.
From some of the many early documents, researchers examined
such records as the Inquisition, 1120 AD, the Black Book of the Exchequer, the Exchequer
Rolls of Scotland, The Ragman Rolls, the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots and various
other cartularies of parishes in Scotland. From these archives they produced the early
records of the name in Perthshire, where they had been seated from very early times (in
the 1100's) in the barony named Kinnaird.
surname Kinnaird was found in many different forms and spellings. From time to time the
surname was spelt Kinnard, Kynnard, Kennard, Kynharde, Kinzerd, Kinnart, Kynnart, Kynarde,
some of these versions are still used today. These changes in spelling frequently
occurred, even between father and son. Scribes and church people frequently selected their
own version of what they thought the spelling should be.
The family name Kinnaird, emerged as a Scottish family in
their original territories of Perthshire. In 1180, Rudulphus Ruffus or Rufus (a
Norman nobleman) received
from his friend, King William the Lion (King of Scots), a Charter of land in the Carse of
Gowrie. (Scots Peerage Vol.5, Antiquarian Notes and MacFarlane's Genealogy Collection Vol
The area concerned is high and occupies a vantage point and
may have been named in Gaelic as " Ceann Ard ", literally meaning "high end
or head". Other historians believe that from that time on, Rudulphus and his
descendants took the name of Kynnard, Kinnard or Kinnaird as a surname.
Another source indicates that Rudulphus name was in fact de
Kinnaird. Perhaps he actually gave his name to the area, which in turn, from the vocal
sound, became "Ceann Ard" in Gaelic. "Ceann Ard" is the proper,
original Gaelic spelling and "Ceann Aird" was developed from it.
The true translation (not the literal meaning) of "Ceann
Ard" is "head land" ie. a high piece of land jutting into the sea. This may
be the reason for the naming of the Kinnaird Head Lighthouse in Faserburgh, Aberdeenshire.
Rauf de Kinnaird in Kincardine swore fealty to King Edward I
of England in 1296.
Sir Richard de Kinnaird (grandson of Rauf de Kinnaird) had a
charter of lands and barony of Kinnaird, lying in the sheriffdom of Perth. This was
witnessed by John, Earl of Carrick, the King's son and Sir Richard's son, Walter, Earl of
Fife. He also had a charter of confirmation of the lands of Chethynrawoch and Kinnynmond,
in the barony of Slains in Aberdeenshire.
When Alan de Kinnaird (elder son of Sir Richard) died, his
son Thomas succeeded him and with his wife, Egidia, (the heiress of Culbin, Forres and of
half the barony of Naughton, Fife) started the family of Kinnaird of Culbin, Moray.
Reginald Kinnaird (younger son of Sir Richard) and wife
Marjorie (daughter and heiress of John de Kircaldy of Inchture) received a Charter from
King Robert III of all the lands Marjorie held of the King in the barony of Inchture
(which she had previously resigned). He founded the family of Kinnaird of Inchture,
The family of Kinnaird managed to Flourish during the middle
ages, even though they made no alliances with the powerful clans.
Scotland during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, was
ravaged by religious conflict. The newly found passionate fervor of Presbyterianism and
the Church of Scotland rejected all who could not pass "The Test" of taking an
oath of belief in the Church. Those failing 'The Test' were sometimes burnt at the stake
or, more kindly, banished to Australia, the Carolinas or the West Indies.
Many were freely "encouraged" to migrate to
Ireland. Families migrated from Scotland to Ireland with promises of cheap Irish land.
They became known as the "Scotch/Irish". There is no record of distinguished
family migration to Ireland, but this does not preclude the possibility of individual
The migration or banishment to the New World also continued.
Some went voluntarily from Ireland, but most went directly from Scotland.
In North America, some of the first migrates which could be
considered kinsmen of the name Kinnaird, or having a variation of the family surname
spelling were: William Kinnaird who settled in Charles Town SC in 1767 and William Kinnard
who settled in Philadelphia P.A. in 1786.
From the original ports of entry the immigrants moved
westward, some to the middle west, some across the prairies to the west coast. During the
American War of Independence some remained loyal to the cause, whilst others became United
Empire loyalists and moved north to Canada.
Many prominent people were a part of the Kinnaird name,
notably Lord Kinnaird of Inchture, Baron Kinnaird of Rossie and the Laird of Culbin. The last
Lord Kinnaird (#13) died in 1997, there were no living male heirs.