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McNew Family History





Some history I have found:

The English government sent soldiers, who drove the native Irish off their lands, and settled the lowland Scots there. Then was the struggle with the Catholic Irish (most of the Scots were protestant) and the oppression by their English landlords during the next 150 years or so, which made the Scots ready to move again, this time to America.

The McNews, Rheas, Baucums, Wheelers, and Johnstons seem to have been related before leaving Ireland. Also all of the Lowland families did not leave Scotland, so some of the McNews might have been left there, and come directly to America.

However, the fact that these families all settled in southwestern Virginia, makes it probable that they all came from the same location. Tradition within the family says that more than one McNew Family came to Virginia in 1789, along with other Scots from North Ireland.

Origin of the Family Name McNew

The Scottish surname McNew is patronymic in origin, being one of those names derived from the first name of the father. This name is a corruption of the surname MacNee, which also takes the forms of MacNay, MacNey, Macnea, and MacNia. It finds its source in the Irish mac Niadh, a variant of Mac Neidhe, which means "son of the champiion". One of the earliest instances of this surname is to Macnia, King of ard of the Vi Echadh, a District in the Baronies of Upper and Lower Iveagh, County Down, who died in 702.

The MacNee are a sept of the MacGregor Clan who kep to the old Celtic clan rule of defending possession by the sword, rather than by marriage or influence in government, unlike the Colquhouns. The latter were defeated by the MacGregors of Glen Fruin in 1603. As part of a long series of vindictive acts against them, the Macgregor Clan was then outlawed and were not allowed to use their surname again until 1784. This gave rise to the many septs' names adopted by them, such as MacNee.

Other early instances of this name include Donald and Gillemore MacNie, who were fined for trying to re=establish the MacGregor name in 1613 (Register of Privy Council). Finally, the legendary "Robin Hood" of Scotland, Rob Roy, a Highland Chief, and subject of Sir Walter Scott's novel "Rob Roy", belonged to this clan.


Coat of Arms

Argent, an oak tree eradicated in bend sinister proper, surmounted of a sword in bend, supporting on its point, in the dexter canton, an antique crown gules.



A lion's head erased, crowned with an antique crown proper. The oak tree is emblematic of Peace and Concord. Argent (white) denotes Peace and Sincerity. The sword is a true emblem of Military Honour, while the crown signifies victory.




Srioghal mo Dhream

My clan is loyal