This surname of PITKIN is of territorial origin, from the lands of PITCAIRN in Fife. The earliest of the name on record appears to be William de PETKARAN, who was recorded in Dunfermline, circa. 1249. John de PETCAIRN, obtained from his kinsman in 1250, a charter of the lands of Innernethie. David PETKARN was archdeacon of Brechin in the years 1512 and 1528. The name is also spelt PITCAIRN, PITCAIRNS, PETCAIRNE, PETCARNE, PETTCARNE, PETKARN, PYTCARNE and PETKARNE. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. A notable member of the name was Robert PITCAIRN (circa.1745-1770) who was the British sailor, midshipman on board the 'Swallow' in July 1767, when he was the first to sight the island now named after him. In 1789, it was to become the refuge of the 'Bounty' mutineers. It was Major John PITCAIRN of the Royal Marines, who fired the first shot in the American Revolutionary War. From 1759 to 1776 there was a constant flow of emigrants from the Highlands to North America. Between 1763 and 1775 alone, it is estimated that about 20,000 Highlanders left Scotland for the New World. Highland emigrants in their new American homes freely wore the highland dress, and were not forbidden the music of the 'piob-mhor' which was at that period prohibited in the Highlands by Government as a 'weapon of war'. On the outbreak of the American War in 1775, not only were the Highlanders in America loyal to their mother-country, but they raised a regiment in her support (the 84th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment). At the conclusion of the war, the Highlanders, resisting all offers made to them by the new nation, crossed the border and settled in Canada.
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