This Scottish surname of McCHESNEY is also recorded as CHESNE, CHESNEY, MacCHESHNEY and CHEYNE. The earliest of the name on record appears to be John MacCHESSNYES, who was recorded in Little Park in 1638, and William McCHESNEY appears in Creoch in 1679. Agnes McCHESNIE was charged with being a disorderly person in the parish of Kirkcudbright in 1684, and John MacCHESNEY was a resident in the parish of Borgue in the same year. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A notable member of the name was Charles Cornwallis CHESNEY (1826-76) the English soldier. He was professor of military history at Sandhurst from 1858 until 1864 and at the Imperial Staff College from 1864. He was the author of the 'Waterloo Lectures' (1861) delivered at Sandhurst, criticizing Wellington and giving credit to Blucher. 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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