Carnegie Surname Meaning, History & Origin
Carmyllie in Angus. It probably came from the Gaelic cathair
an eige, meaning “fort at the gap.”
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Carnegie in Scotland has generally been a name localized in and around
Angus in the northeast of Scotland. The family who assumed this
name, however, was originally known under an earlier place name
of Balinhard, also in Angus. John of Balinhard was the
first to take the name of Carnegie in 1358. Early
first of this family and then of Kinnaird in
Brechin, adopted the title Carnegie of that Ilk.
Two brothers of that name, David and John, made reputations for
themselves by supporting the Royalist cause during the Civil War.
They were created the Earls of Southesk and Northesk respectively (the
names coming from the Esk river in Angus). Both earldoms have
continued to the present day. The 12th
through his mother the title of Duke of Fife and a connection with the
royal family. The Southesk home has been Kinnaird castle near
since the 15th century.
There were other Carnegies in Angus. George
Carnegie of Balnamoon (from the Northesk side of the family) had fought
Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden in 1746.
After the defeat he fled with his brother James to Sweden where
prospered as a merchant in Gothenburg. He
returned to Scotland as the Laird
of Pitarrow a wealthy man. Another Carnegie line
traced back to Colin Carnegie who married Isabel Grieg in Brechin in
Carnegie, the son of a handloom weaver in
Dunfermline, Fife, left with his parents for America in 1848.
This Andrew Carnegie was to be the most famous bearer of the Carnegie
America. Andrew Carnegie had arrived in Pittsburgh at the
age of thirteen and immediately started working as a bobbin boy in a
cotton mill. He was to earn most of his fortune in the steel
industry. In the 1870’s, he founded the Carnegie Steel Company, a
step which cemented his name as one of America’s “captains of
industry.” By the 1890’s the company had become the largest and
most profitable industrial enterprise in the world. He sold it in
1901 to J.P. Morgan. Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life
philanthropy. In his The
Work of 1898 he wrote: “The man who dies rich dies
David Carnegie, the youngest son of the 9th
Earl of Southesk, departed England for Australia in 1892.
At first he got caught up in the Western
Australian gold rush. Finding no gold,
he led an expedition from Coolgardie through the Gibson and Great Sandy
to Halls Creek and back again. Moving to Africa, he
in Nigeria at the early age of 29.
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Early Carnegies. The Carnegie name first appeared in records in Angus as early as 1230. John, the 1st of Carnegie, died in 1370 and he was succeeded by John Carnegie of that Ilk. The direct line of the family died out in the mid 16th century and the lands of Kinnaird were acquired by a cadet branch, the Carnegies of Kinnaird in
Brechin, who restored for themselves the title of Carnegie of that Ilk.
John Carnegie of Kinnaird was killed at Flodden in 1513 and his son Robert captured fighting against the English in 1547 at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. Robert was knighted on his release and he was made Ambassador to France in 1556. Two later brothers of this family, David and John Carnegie, supported the Royalist cause during the Civil War and were created the Earls of Southesk and Northesk respectively (the names coming from the Esk river in Angus).
Carnegie and The Piper o’ Dundee. The Piper o’ Dundee was one of those songs that commemorated those who fought in the Jacobite uprisings. The following verse contains the Carnegie reference.
“It’s somegat swords and some gat nane
And some were dancing mad their lane
And mony a vow o’ weir
Was ta’en that night at Amulrie
There was Tillibardine, and Burleigh
And Struan, Keith, and Olgivie
And brave Carnegie, wha’ but he,
The piper o’ Dundee.
And wasna he a rougey, a rougey, a rougey
And wasna he a rougey, the piper o’
Susan Scott Carnegie of Pitarrow. Susan Scott was born into a wealthy family with influential friends in many walks of life. Her father was the Treasurer of the Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh. In 1769 she married George Carnegie of Pittarrow, a man who had become wealthy in Sweden and bought an estate at Charleton. They started married life at Charleton House and had nine children.
Susan’s father made sure she had property settled on her and this gave her power to help others. Women were not expected to live a public life at that time but Susan was determined to put her money and influence to good use. Her strong practical mind saw that the organization of the Church relief to the poor could be better organized and managed. The Kirk Session had to give out badges to permit begging in times of famine and distress.
In those days, the mentally ill and insane were herded together in the Tolbooth at the back of the Town House, Montrose. They were kept behind bars, like animals in a cage. Some were chained, lying in straw. There was no lighting, heating or glazing. People fed them through the bars. Susan worked with Provost Alexander Christie to get subscriptions going for a proper asylum. Not everyone was keen on the idea but Susan’s printed pamphlets and constant letter writing brought money from as far away as India. By 1781 the first asylum in Scotland was built in the Links in Montrose.
In 1815, with the help of the Church, Susan Carnegie set up a Savings Bank as an idea for self-help and independence. Usually she got up about 5am to deal with all her correspondence and good schemes. At the same time she often undertook the fostering of orphans or friends. Her life was completely dedicated to the good of others less fortunate than herself.
David Carnegie and Carnegie Porter in Sweden. David Carnegie Jr. came to Gothenburg as a young man in 1830 to work at his uncle’s company, at that time one of the biggest export companies in the wood and iron industry. Soon after his arrival he acquired a porter brewery at Klippan and the Lorent sugar mill that in a short time was developed to be the most modern sugar refinery in Sweden. They were Gothenburg’s largest industries at the time.
David proved to be a benevolent employer. The workers had unusual benefits for the time, such as free medical treatment, a half day’s pay when ill and also three bottles of strengthening porter each day. Near the brewery were workmen’s dwellings,
baths, a school and a church.
Carnegie porter is the oldest registered trademark still in effect in Sweden, having been established as far back as 1836. The porter had its most popular days in 1916 when the Carnegie brewery produced 5.5 million liters of porter. Most of it was consumed in Sweden, but the porter also made its way across the Atlantic to New York and Brazil. Production of porter continued at the Carnegie mill until 1976.
Carnegie as a company in Sweden lived longer, although the company’s banking arm became insolvent in 2008.
Andrew Carnegie’s Antecedents. Andrew Carnegie, the famous steelman and philanthropist, was
born in Dunfermline, Fife in 1835. His family line goes back to
James and Charlotte Carnegie who were married there in 1759. They were Andrew’s great grandparents. Their son Andrew was born in 1769. He married Elizabeth Thoms in 1792 and they had two sons, William and Andrew.
William Carnegie was a handloom weaver. But times were hard and he decided to leave Scotland for a new life in America. He took his wife Margaret and their young son Andrew, aged 13, to Pennsylvania in 1848.
- Andrew Carnegie, born in Scotland, made his fortune as a steel-maker in America.
- Dale Carnegie was the American
author of How to Win Friends and
Influence People, a massive best-seller when it was published in 1936.
Select Carnegie Numbers Today
- 3,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 1,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
- 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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