Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Cairns Name
Origin of Cairns:
This is a fascinating surname of Scottish provincial origin from the estate of Cairns in the church of Mid-Calder, Midlothian. The name derives from the old Gaelic “Carn” which means cairn, for example, a chunk of crystal arose as a border marker or a monumental. The surname first comes on record in the mid 14th century. In 1363, William de Carnys and his son, Duncan de Carnys, had a Charter of the baronies of Esterquytburne and Westirquitburne, and in 1365, Duncan de Carnys, recorded in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, was bailie of Edinburgh. William de Carnys was a police officer of Linlithgow Palace, and eventually of the palace Edinburgh in 1372. A notable name holder was Hug MacCalmont Cairns, (1819 – 1885), Barrister of the Middle Temple, 1844; Q.C., 1856. A National Symbol granted to the Cairns family represent an anchor among three gold martlets on a red shield. A palm tree is on the Crest, and the adage “Virtus ad aethera tendit” which means “Virtue influences to paradise.”
Some common variations of Cairns are: Carines, Cairins, Cairens, Cairons, Cairnos, Cairnse, Carinas, Cairnis, Carns, Cairness.
The surname Cairns was found in Midlothian, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, few say well before the Norman invasion and the entrance of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of William de Carnys, dated 1349, a charter assistance, in the “Records of the Cairns Family”, Scotland. It was during the time of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329 – 1371. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.
People with the surname Cairns had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Cairns settled in the United States in two different centuries respectively in 18th and 19th. Some of the people with the name Cairns who settled in the United States in the 18th century included John Cains arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the year 1775.
Some of the people with the name Cairns who settled in the United States in the 19th century included William Cairnes who arrived in Allegany Division, Pennsylvania in the year 1803. Hugh Cairns at the age of 24 and John Cairns at the age of 36 arrived in New Jersey and New York in the same year 1812. Mary Cairns and Samuel Cairns arrived in New York, NY in the same year 1816.
Some of the people with the name Cairns who settled in Canada in the 19th century included Mr. Patrick Cairns at the age of 24 who emigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship “Broom” leaving from the harbor of Liverpool, England. But he passed away in on Grosse Isle in September 1847.
Some of the people with the name Cairns who settled in Australia in the 19th century included Hugh Cairns, Cause Cairns, Ann Cairns who all arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship “Recovery” in the same year in 1839. Ann Cairns at the age of 18, and Mary Cairns at the age of 21, a home servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 in aboard the ship “Bucephalus.”
Some of the people with the name Cairns who settled in New-Zealand in the 19th century included G S Cairns landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840 and Ann Cairns arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship “William Watson” in 1859. Adam Cairns arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship “Excelsior” in 1871. Patrick Cairns, aged 34, and Bridget Cairns, aged 33, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship “Strathnaver” in the same year in 1874.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Cairns: United States 6,903; England 9,577; Scotland 4,056; Australia 3,951; Canada 4,088; South Africa 3,415; Northern Ireland 1,741; New Zealand 1,359; Germany 504; Ireland 399.
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Cairns Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Cairns blazon are the martlet, anchor and acorn. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and gules.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” . Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron , perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. . Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” . Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.
A wide variety of inanimate objects appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the anchor is a typical case. For any meaning, we need look no further than a nautical or sea-faring heritage. Indeed, some arms go into great detail of the colours and arrangement of the stock, stem, cables and flutes of the anchor reflecting a detailed knowledge of the form and use of this device. .
Amongst the natural objects depicted on a coat of arms, trees feature frequently, either in whole or as individual branches and leaves or fruit. . The acorn, often represented in its early state as vert (green) can be associated of course with the mighty oak, signifying, according to Wade, “antiquity and strength”, for obvious reasons.