This famous Scottish name is of early medieval origin, and is a locational name from the place called "Kinneir" in Fife near Wormit, which is first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century as "Kyner", from the Gaelic word "ceann", head(land) and "iar", west. The original family who took the name of Kinnear in the 13th Century were vassals of the Priory of St. Andrews, and held their lands until the beginning of the 18th Century. One Petrus Kynior was elected common councillor of Aberdeen in 1477, and John de Kynor was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1439. Henry Kinneir of Kinneir was appointed "commendator" of Balmerino Abbey in 1574. Thomas Kinnear and Elisabeth Mason were married in St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, on September 28th 1780. One James Kinner, aged 38 yrs., together with his wife Margaret, aged 28 yrs., daughter Julia, aged 5 yrs., and son Edward, aged 2 yrs., were famine emigrants who sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Columbia" bound for New York on July 31st 1846. A Coat of Arms granted to a Kinnear family is black, on a gold bend, three canary birds proper. The Crest is two anchors saltireways proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Symon de Kyner, which was dated 1216, in the "Records of the Priory of St. Andrews", Fife, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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