Innes Surname Genealogy

The Innes surname is Gaelic in origin. One source is Scottish – from the Gaelic word inis, meaning “island” or “a piece of land between two river” – which gave rise to the barony of Innes in Moray in NE Scotland.Innes could also derive from the Gaelic personal name Aonghus, in modern form Angus.

Aonghus was an 8th century king of Scotland who gave his name to the county of Angus. This Aonghus gave rise to the Scottish surname MacInnes and to the Irish names Ennis and McGuinness.

Innes Resources on

Innes Ancestry

Scotland. Clan Innes
(pronounced “Innez”) claims descent from a Berowald, a Flemish knight
given the lands of Innes in Morayshire by the Scottish king in
1160. Berowald’s grandson, Sir Walter of Innes, was the first to
use the Innes name. Sir Robert Innes was an MP for Moray and made
baronet in 1625. He built Innes House in Morayshire, the
family home until 1767 when Sir James Innes went bankrupt and sold the
estate. A later Sir James was able to claim the vacant dukedom of
Roxburghe in 1812.

name crops up in the fishing village of Lossiemouth nearby. Apparently an Elizabeth Innes was tried for
witchcraft there in the 1600’s. Her
small cottage is now derelict. It was said that they used to take
witches to
Boar’s Head Point nearby and drown them there!

Another Innes family had acquired the lands of Balnacraig in
Aberdeenshire in
the 1600’s. However, loyalty to the Stuarts a century later
Father Lewis
being the Jacobite Secretary of State – resulted
the loss of their estates. Later on, an Innes family was among
founding families of Port Gordon on the
Moray Firth in Banffshire. Alexander Innes from Ruthven was
appointed its first Harbor master in 1797. These Innes were
shipowners, trawlermen and fishermen.

the Rev. Beroald Innes of Alves in Morayshire was the 17th century
forebear of emigrants – the Rev Robert Innes who embarked for Virginia
and Sir
Hugh Innes who later headed to the West Indies and made a fortune as a
. This Sir
Hugh Innes
became a wealthy MP and landowner who cleared out
his lands in
the NW Highlands for sheep in the early 19th century.

Gilbert Innes from Edinburgh became first cashier at the
Royal Bank of Scotland and established the family home at Stow in
Berwickshire in the 1750’s.
His son Gilbert

inherited the estate and went on to be director
of the bank for forty five years, from 1787 to 1832:

  • he became
    incredibly wealthy during that time, being described as “the richest
    commoner in Scotland.”
  • he had an amazing 67 illegitimate children
    from scores of different women.

He died unmarried in 1832 and his
large fortune was eventually claimed by his cousin William Mitchell, a
cashier at
the bank. Mitchell’s descendants, the Mitchell-Innes, acquired
their own estates and became well-known in the world of Scottish

Today the Innes family at Drumduan in Invernessshire are Scotland’s
biggest dairy farmers, with more
than 1,400 milking cows. The herd has been built up by Callum
Innes and his two sons over the past fifty years.

England. William Innes,
the son of an Edinburgh banker, was a wealthy 18th century West Indian
merchant who owned sugar plantations in Jamaica and lived in some
splendor at Grotes Place in Blackheath.

A later Innes of this
family, John Innes, was a London property developer often credited with
the development of Merton Park as an attractive suburb during Victorian
times. When he died in 1904 he bequeathed the John Innes Park to
the people of Merton and his will created the John Innes Horticultural

Caribbean. The Innes name is
associated with plantations
in Jamaica
in the late 18th century.
William Innes, a London slave trader, owned a number of Jamaican
plantations but probably never resided there. David
Innes owned the Mount Grace plantation. And
the family of Alexander Innes from
Aberdeen was also recorded in Jamaica at that time.

America. Two early
Inneses in America were:

  • Alexander Innes who had been brought over to America after the
    Scots’ defeat in 1650 at the Battle of Dunbar. He was released
    after a few years and moved to Block island on Rhode Island.
  • and the Rev. Robert Innes who came to Virginia with his brother
    in the 1750’s. Robert’s son Harry headed west and was the first
    federal judge of Kentucky in 1789. Their family history was
    narrated in Susan Innes Kitchen’s 1994 book Descendants of Rev. Beroald Innes.

Innes left the Highlands of Scotland for America in 1854 and came out
west, first stopping off in Chicago, then in Kansas, before moving to
Angeles where his shoe store prospered. The Daniel Innes House in
Heights, built in 1887, has been designated an LA landmark site.

Major Archibald
came to Sydney in 1822 as a soldier on a convict
ship. He invested in land and was one of Australia’s richest
colonists in the 1830’s. Glen Innes was named after him.
However, a credit squeeze bankrupted him in 1852. Frederick
Innes, the son of an army officer, came out to Tasmania from Edinburgh
in 1843. He rose to become Premier of Tasmania in 1872.

Innes Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Innes Names

John de Innes was an early 15th century Scottish churchman from
Moray credited with the rebuilding of Elgin Cathedral.
was a wealthy early 19th century Edinburgh banker who
fathered 67 illegitimate children.
John Innes was a 19th century
property developer and philanthropist who developed the London suburb
of Merton Park.
Hammond Innes was a popular
English thriller writer of the 1940’s and 50’s.

Select Inneses Today

  • 5,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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