Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this is an ancient Scottish surname. It is locational from the town of Nairn, east of Inverness, and named from the river at whose mouth it stands. However the meaning is lost. Locational surnames usually developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, but not so in the north of Scotland and in Cornwall, in the very south west of England. There people are named because they live at a particular place. This lead to the creation of nicknames on the basis of Jones, the butcher, and the like.The modern surname can be found recorded as Nairn, Nairns, Nairne, Nern and Nerne. Amongst the sample recordings in Scotland are the christenings of George Nairn on October 27th 1691 at Inverness, and the marriage of Donald Nairn and Isobell McEuan on January 18th 1714 at Cromdale and Inverallan, Inverness. A coat of arms granted to the Nairn family of St. Forth or Sandford, in Fife, depicts a shield divided per pale silver and black on a chaplet four mullets counterchanged. The crest is a celestial sphere in gold and blue standing on a red foot, and the motto "L'esperance me comfort", translates as "Hope comforts me". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Narryn. This was dated 1361, at Inverness, during the reign of King David 11nd of Scotland, 1329 -1371. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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