Clan Menzies and Septs
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Minnis News:

The MINNIS living in New Zealand with ancestry from Northern Ireland via Australia does now have a common ancestor with one of the others. One possibility is that not all of the name are descended from Mesnieres of France who came to England in 1066. Some say that some in Northern Ireland are of Irish descent who anglicized their name to Minnis. We have three members from England of the same family with a Northern Ireland ancestor of about 1840. Their results indicate a good probability of common ancestry. They also are a good possibility of matches with the administrator and his cousin. At 37 markers, one of these shows a reasonable fit with the administrator. The John Minnis of Ireland descendant has a 25/25 marker match with the latest applicant; paper trail shows them to be 4th cousins 1 time removed. Their MCRA is Thomas Minnis, 1791 TN-1863 MO, grandson of Samuel Minnis b. abt 1725 County Down, IRE. This compares with a 34/37 marker match with the Scottish descendant and the latest applicant 24/25. There is a great probability that the three have a common ancestor in the last 600 years. The question remains as to where in the United Kingdom this ancestor lived. It may be Ireland but more likely is England or the border counties. The Scottish ancestor was living in the Scot Highlands in the early 1800's. Every Minnis located there so far has come from Ireland seeking work. A male MINNIS currently living in Ulster and one in Scotland might prove helpful to many of us. The administrator has had no success in recruiting a Menzies who pronounce the names as Men-ies. Some may have acquired Minnis in this fashion as did the administrator whose ancestor came to Virginia in 1753 as James Menzies but was known as Minnis from 1763 on.

There are now five separate branches identified from the tests. Additional participants are required from these branches to match those individuals or counter the possibility that there may be interruptions in the line from adoption or illegitimate birth. The chance that a match does not exist due to infidelity or unreported adoptions occurs 2%-5% of the time per generation. It is prudent to test two different known male relatives from each branch.
A paper trail relative of our member from New Zealand has just ordered a kit; a match occurred here at 12 markers.


Most association with the surname Minnis come from County Down, Ireland. This can be verified by various census reports from the 19th century. We have solid evidence showing multiple Menzies lines landing in County Down, taking up the surname Minnis. Also, one line that began in Ulster, took the surname Minnis upon landing in Down County, and later a descending line went into Southern Scotland and becoming McMunnies and Menzies. We strongly believe these name changes were ushered in part by recorders taking down the closest fit of surnames in their counties - so the closest fit for Mingus in County Down is Minnis, so it was converted. And/or it was an attempt by families to either be more Irish when settling in Ireland or be more Scottish when changing from Minnis to another surname in Scotland. Also, if you add in a yogh, and people could have easily mistaken Minnis or Minnies for Mingus.

Noted that despite the Menzies/Minnis connection in a few instances, most lineages of Menzies and Minnis show no relation with each other.

Mennis surname reflects a few in County Cork and has no genetic link to Minnis, but is often packaged with them in various census.

Minnis is thought to have been a cognate of MacAongus from Ireland, which supposedly ties the surname to McInnes, Guinness, etc. While they do show relativity to County Down, none of our Minnis samples on file show matches to those surnames. Furthermore, the MacAongus association has ultimately connect the surname Minnis with MacNeish. This may have been used as the basis for arguing some historical relations between two distinct families, the MacNeishes (as the Minnises) and the Menzies. Both were located in Perthshire during clan times, with the Menzies near Loch Tay and the MacNeishes on Neish Island on Loch Earn south of Loch Tay. Clan Neish ultimately losing their hold on Perthshire during the Battle of Glenboultachan in 1522. As of now, there is absolutely no proof whatsoever of genetic relations between our Minnis samples from Down County and anyone with the surname Neish or MacNeish.

Means news:


The first recording of Means as a sept of Clan Menzies was in David Prentice Menzies "Menzies Clan Society" booklet from 1897. DP cites his source as Frank Adam's "What is my Tartan?" from 1896. Going back to the first edition, Adam did not list the surname Means as a sept. So it's not entirely clear if DP made an error or intentionally thought there was a connection. But Adam later included DP's additions into future lists for his "Highland Clans of Scotland" book. 

There is currently no evidence of a genetic connection between the Menzies surname and Means surname. The Means surname was not based out of Scotland except under exceptionally rare tie-in with surname McMeins in the lowlands. This is most likely from an Irish lineage seeking work in Scotland.

A 1901 censuses of Ireland and Britain has the Means surname listed out of three areas: primarily in Tyrone County, some less dense concentrations in Connacht around Roscommon and in Britain in Norfolk. 

The Means surname has a strong relevance to surnames: McMeans, Mains, McMeins, Mynes, Maynes, McManus.

McMonnies news:

McMonnies/McMunnies or any deviation primary, along with surname McMinn, holds its roots around CrossMichael in Kirkcudbrightshire. To date, we have found one tree of McMunnies linked to Minnis/Minnes and Menzies. This was due to a lineage from Ireland that crossed over into Scotland as Minnis, was recorded in the CrossMichael area as Minnies and subsequently McMunnies. Another brother from that line went westward to Langholm and became Menzies.