Last name: Kearns

Recorded in the spellings of Kearn, Kern, Kerne,Kerner, Kernes, and Kearns, this is a surname of multiple national origins. Confusingly it can be German, or English-Cornish, and sometimes Irish. Equally it has multiple meanings and derivations. If German and hence Anglo-Saxon (English) it probably derives from the pre 7th century word "gern" meaning desire, and usually found in the early personal names "Gernwin and Kernwin". However the surname can also be locational from the town of Kern in Germany. If Irish and possibly Cornish, the derivation is from the pre 10th century Gaelic personal name "Ceirin" which translates as "The little black one". As such it was a name given to the first chief of the clan, who was presumably dark haired or of dark complexion. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic charters of the medieval period include: Hainrich Kerne of Runstall near Villingen, Germany, in 1255, and Johannes Kerner of Markdorf, in 1276. A family called Kerne have been recorded in Truro, Cornwall, since at least the 16th century, whilst in Ireland the clan were in about the year 1420, in possession of the greater part of the present barony of Costello in County Mayo. An inquisition of 1609 describes them as erenaghs or hereditary holders of church property, of Killaghtee in the diocese of Raphoe, and in the census of 1659 they are also located in County Sligo. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.

am researching my Kearns ancestors from Mayo,Ireland. could it be that when they gave their names to Census takers it was recorded as "Sarens"? just wondering. where do I find out more on my Mayo Kearns relatives? thanks!

alan kearns
well im alan kearns my family originally are from mayo and i dont think i have ever heard that abbreviation . I have done some research on my family and i can give you a number of variations which still exist today

alan kearns
from what i read up i think sarens sounds llike it from the middleast like saudi arabia or israel not sure though

My grandmother was born in 1901 and lived all her life in County Mayo close to Castlebar, her brothers and sisters nearly all emigrated either to the UK or USA, there were and are loads of Kearns (Kearnes, Kerins etc) around that part of Mayo

cody carnes
trying to find our castle can anyone help :(

Ian Kearns
My brother is Alan Kearns, however we hail from Melbourne Australia. I am searching for anything on Hugh and Ellen Kearns who arrived in Australia 1869 on board the Great Britain with three children Patrick, Henry and Ellen. We still have no idea where in Ireland they are originally from, if anyone can help it would be appreciated.

Terry Kearns
My dad William Kearns loved to debate and was very good at it from baseball game, politics, what state had the best pizzas or hotdogs just about anything. His six daughters definitely inherited this trait from him. I'm wondering now if it's a trait of all Kearns. Lol
I wish my dad was still alive, he would have loved to join in this debate.

Stephanie Kearns Dobbins
My father was Everett Kearns from Trinity, NC. He was fascinated with history and would have loved to go to college. He was valedictorian of his class and received a full scholarship to Elon, but was not able to go. His father and mother were poor farmers with six kids to feed and his dad just couldn't help him get there. I guess in the 1940's, a college education was not needed on the farm. My father joined the civil service and worked his way up and took courses offered whenever he could. He became an employee at the IRS and rose through the ranks to be a supervisor. He loved history and read encyclopedias for fun.

kearns heasty
looking for my great grand mother elizabeth jane kearns ancetry

Subscribe to our newsletter

View previous newsletters.

Powered by MailChimp