The Inness Family History

The Inness Family Crest

The Celtic name for the Innes (or Inness) family is Mac Aonghuis (son of Angus) and the Clan Motto is "Be Faithful." The ancestral home of the Innes(s) Clan is Moray, in the Highlands of Scotland, which covers the lands from Spey to Lossie along the North Sea coast. This is Malt Whiskey country, where the vast majority of Scotch distillaries are located. Innes means 'greens', and refers to the wide plain of grass that stretched between the tall white mansion of Innes (built by Sir Robert in 1646) and the River Lossie.

Moray, Scotland


(Includes both archival and anecdotal information)

In 1160, Berowald, a Flemish nobleman, was granted the Barony of Innes by Malcolm IV. Tradition has it that he consolidated his holdings by marrying the daughter of the region's former ruler, who had been vanquished in King David's rebellion-crushing invasion. As a result of this, the Innes Clan claims descent from the original Moravians.

Berowald's grandson, Sir Walter of Innes, was the first to use the name and received a charter of confirmation from Alexander II in 1226.

Alexander, 9th Innes Chief, married Janet, daughter of the last Thane of Aberchirder, and joined her lands with his own, extending the Innes estates significantly. Their son, Sir Walter, 10th Chief, built the great Tower of Kincairdy Castle.

The 11th lord, Sir Robert Innes, fought at the battle of Brechin in 1452. His eldest son, Sir James, was armor bearer and chief esquire to James III and entertained James IV at the Castle of Innes in 1490.

William, the 15th Chief, served on the Reformation Parliament of 1560. His eldest son Alexander, 16th Baron, was beheaded by the Regent Morton; his brother John, 17th of the Ilk, resigned to Alexander Innes of Crommey, grand-nephew of the 13th Chief.

The 19th Chief, Robert, founded Garmouth on the Spey River in 1587.

Sir Robert, 20th of the Line, was a Privy councillor and M.P. for Moray. In 1625, he was presented with a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I. Robert later welcomed Charles II at the port of Garmouth, which he founded in 1650. He raised a regiment to fight for the Royalists cause that same year.

The 3rd Baronet married Lady Margaret Kerr, through whom Sir James Innes, the 6th Baronet, succeeded to the Dukedom of Roxburgh.

Sir James had sold the lands of Innes to the Earl of Fife in 1767 and went to reside in England, only to return to Scotland when, in 1805, he succeeded as 5th Duke of Roxburgh.

James, 6th Duke, was named Earl Innes in 1836.

When the Scottish register of arms was instituted in 1672, the Lyon Deputy was Robert Innes of Blairton.

Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight, is the present Lord Lyon, King of Arms, and keeper of the Scottish Heraldry.


Dr. George Inness, of New York City, married Sarah W. Nason (1848-1934) in 1873 in Montclair, New Jersey. They had three children: Emilie Woodruff Inness (1874-1936), George Ernest Inness, and Annabel V. Inness.

George served in the 82nd New York Infantry Volunteers during the Civil War and was wounded by a bullet in his left arm during the Battle of Savage's Station, Virginia, on June 29, 1862. He was left permanently disabled by this injury, and discharged from service later that year. He died in Nason, Orange County, Virginia, in 1887 at 42 years of age.

The parents of Dr. George Inness were Eliza Millard Pride, born about 1817 in the West Indies and died on January 2, 1889, in Newark NJ; and George Inness, born about December 13, 1802, in New York. He died on June 9, 1855, in NYC.

George Inness, Sr., was the son of John Inness, (~1771-June, 21, 1837, NYC) and his wife Jane (?).

Dr. George Inness was a second cousin of his like-named contemporary, George Inness, the famous American landscape painter.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm still researching the Inness line in America.
More information to follow as it becomes available. Certainly, if you have information
connecting John Inness of New York City to your family, please let me know! Thanks. -- RSM

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