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Nairn Coat of Arms / Nairn Family Crest

Nairn Coat of Arms / Nairn Family Crest

This surname of NAIRN is of local origin from the burgh of the same name. The name is also spelt NAIRNE, NARNE, NARRYN, NEARNE, NAERNE, NAERN, and NERN. The first of the name recorded appears to be Adam de NARRYN, who was the chaplain of the altar of the Blessed Virgin at Inverness in 1361, and Michael de NARME witnessed a Perth charter in 1406. John of NARN was the laird of Ardmuthach, and his son, Sir John of NARN, sheriff of Forres appears in an Atholl charter of 1414. 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. Robert NARNE was provost of Stirling in 1457 and Thomas NARNE was a witness in 1481. The family of NAIRN, linoleum manufacturers, have been great benefactors of the town of Kirkcaldy. Charles Murray NAIRNE (1808-1882), born in Perth, was professor of moral philosophy and literature in Columbia University, New York. 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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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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