"Son of Kenneth" in its Gaelic form of 'Coinneach' (meaning fair or comely). The Mackenzies are said to descend from Gillean of the Aird, the 12th century ancestors of the Earl of Ross and by the end of the 13th century they were settled at Eilean Donan>, now one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. King Alexander III> gave the castle to Colin Fitzgerald, son of an Irish Earl and the family changed their name to Mackenzie. In 1362, Murdoch Mackenzie was granted lands of Kintail by King David II>. Initially dependent on the Macdonalds, the clan lent their loyal support to the Stewart> dynasty and defeated the Macdonalds at the Battle of Blair-na-park. They were rewarded with extended lands in the north-west following the overthrow of the Lord of the Isles. By good marriages and further service to King James IV>, the clan extended further, including parts of the island of Lewis. Their chief was captured at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, supporting James IV. Colin, the 11th chief, fought in the army of Mary Queen of Scots when she was defeated at Battle of Langside in 1568. In 1607, Kenneth the 12th chief was given lands of Lochalsh and Lochcarron so that all the land from Ardnamurchan to Strathnaver were in possession of Mackenzies. Two earldoms were granted to the Mackenzies, Seaforth and Cromartie. As Royalists supporting the Jacobite Uprising, however, lands were forfeited, though later restored. In 1979 Roderick, 4th Earl of Seaforth was recognised as chief of Clan MacKenzie by the Lord Lyon.
The Brahan Seer who made a number of prophecies in the 17th century which are said to have come true (including oil being found in the North Sea) was a Mackenzie. Sir George Mackenzie, who also lived in the 17th century, founded the Advocates Library in Edinburgh. Sir Alexander MacKenzie who was born in Inverness and emigrated to Canada around 1772 became a fur trader and explorer and made epic journeys to the Arctic and Pacific coasts. His namesake, Alexander Mackenzie was born in Dunkeld and emigrated to Canada in 1842 and became the second premier of the Domionion of Canada. Mackenzies have also made a contribution to literature - Henry Mackenzie (1745-1831) and of course Sir Compton Mackenzie>.
The clan motto is "Luceo non uro" (I shine, not burn). Also used is the Gaelic motto "Cuidich 'n righ" (Help the king).
The Charles, Kenneth, Macconnach, Mackerlich, Macvanish, clans are regarded as septs (sub-branch) of the Mackenzie clan.
Mackenzie was the 41st most frequent surname at the General Register Office> in 1995.
There is a Mackenzie clan Web sites here>, here and Mackenzie France.
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