The surname of McKENZIE is pronounced Mackaingye, from the Gaelic MacCoinnich or MacChoinnich 'son of Coinneach', meaning the son of the fair. They claim to be descended from Colin, progenitor of the earls of Ross. He died in 1278 and was succeeded by his son Kenneth. In 1362 Murdoch, son of Kenneth, 3rd Earl, received from David 1 the land of Kintail. In 1491 the MacKenzies defeated the MacDonalds in a fierce battle known as Blair-na-Park. The clan supported James 1V at Flodden, where their chief was captured by the English. Scottish surnames fall into two quite distinct groups; those of Gaelic origin and those of English origin. The Gaelic language was brought to Scotland from Ireland around the 5th century AD, displacing the British language (an early form of Welsh) previously spoken there as well as elsewhere. Gaelic was the main language of that part of Scotland not subject to English influence, a rather more extensive areas than the present day Highlands and Islands, where Gaelic is still spoken in places. It is from these northwestern and western area of Scotland that surnames of Gaelic origin, now almost universally Anglicized in form, have been disseminated around the world. Kenneth 12th chief in 1607 received a charter of the lands of Lochalsh and Lochcarron, and it is said that at this time all the lands from Ardnamurchan to Strathnaver were in possession of the MacKenzies or their vassals. Kenneth was created Lord MacKenzie of Kintail in 1609. Colin, 2nd Lord, was created Earl of Seaforth by James VI in 1623 and was Secretary of State in Scotland to Charles II. Kenneth, 4th Earl joined the Earl of Mar in 1715, was at Sheriffmuir and later escaped to France. He was attainted and his estates forfeited. In 1726 he was pardoned by George I and died in Lewis in 1740. Kenneth, his grandson, repurchased the forfeited estates and in 1771 was restored to the Earldom of Seaforth. Francis Humbertson MacKenzie who had succeeded to the estates of Seaforth and Humbertson was created a British Peer in 1797 by the title Lord Seaforth, Baron MacKenzie of Kintail. He died in 1815, his four sons having pre-deceased him, and his eldest daughter married J A Stewart of Glasserton who assumed the name Stewart MacKenzie of Seaforth.
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