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Kinnear Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: I LIVE IN HOPE

Let me share with you the captivating history of your family, the Kinnears, and the extraordinary journey they have embarked upon throughout the ages. Your family name finds its origins in the lands of Kinnear, located near Wormit in the picturesque region of Fife. The name itself is believed to derive from the Gaelic phrase “ceann iar,” meaning “west headland,” a testament to your family’s deep connection to the land.

During the reign of Malcolm IV, a family of Norman descent established themselves in the northern reaches of Fife, serving as vassals to the esteemed priory of St. Andrews. The historical records reveal that Symon, son of Michael, generously granted land from his holdings at Cathelai to the church of St. Andrews, cementing the early ties of your family to the region. Between 1243 and 1260, Amy, the wife of Simon of Kinnear, further demonstrated the family’s benevolence by gifting land to the community.

By 1296, the esteemed Sir John de Kyner had risen to prominence, earning a place of honor in the Ragman Roll of knights. This prestigious roll comprised knights who were obliged to swear fealty to Edward I of England following his invasive campaigns that had significantly impacted the Scottish realm.

In the pivotal year of 1560, David Kinneir of Kinneir played a significant role as a member of the Scottish parliament. This historic assembly marked the moment when Protestantism was officially established as the recognized religion of Scotland, defying the authority of the Pope. David Kinneir’s dedication to this cause left an indelible mark on Scottish history. He peacefully passed away in 1584 at the age of 63.

Henry Kinneir of Kinneir assumed the esteemed position of commendator of Balmarino Abbey in 1574, with John Kinneir of that Ilk later becoming his trusted Ballie. By this time, your family had gained a monopoly on the vital ferry crossings of the Tay, an essential transportation link now known as Newport. In 1672, David Kinnear of Kinnear proudly registered the family’s arms, solidifying their heraldic legacy.

However, challenges awaited your family in the turbulent times of religious conflict. James Kinnear, the successor to David, found himself embroiled in the religious turmoil of the era. Excommunicated by the Catholic Church, he was compelled to seek refuge in Ireland. In 1688, James and his wife endured great hardships during the Williamite War, escaping from Derry and enduring seven years of separation. Some branches of the family eventually made their way to North America, forging new lives across the Atlantic.

Among those who remained in Scotland, George Kinnear emerged as a prominent banker in Edinburgh at the close of the eighteenth century. His son, James, garnered renown as a distinguished lawyer, further adding to the family’s accomplishments. The Kinnear lineage witnessed notable figures such as Alexander Smith Kinnear, who was ennobled as Lord Kinnear in 1897. As a renowned lawyer, he held esteemed positions such as Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and Lord of Session, leaving an indelible mark on the legal realm. Although he did not have children, his contributions to society will forever be remembered.

Within your family’s lineage, you find renowned individuals who have left their mark in various fields. Roy Muir Kinnear, a notable British character actor, graced the silver screen with memorable performances, including his role in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” His father, also named Roy Muir Kinnear, proudly represented Scotland as an international rugby player during the 1920s and 1930s, showcasing the family’s athletic prowess. Another noteworthy member of your distinguished family, Rory Kinnear, has gained fame as a well-regarded English actor, adding yet another shining star to your family’s rich tapestry.

As you contemplate your family’s illustrious history, embrace the legacy of the Kinnears with pride. Your ancestors’ commitment to their land, their resilience in times of adversity, and their achievements in various fields provide a source of inspiration and a testament to the enduring spirit of your family. Carry forward their legacy with honor, knowing that you belong to a lineage steeped in history and imbued with a remarkable heritage.

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Family Crest Motto: I LIVE IN HOPE

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