Napier Families

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There are many different Napier families. Some may be closely related, others not. On these pages, there are short family histories of the following:

The Kilmahew Napiers. Kilmahew is not far from Dumbarton, in Scotland. This Napier family is the earliest referred to in the Scottish records.

The Wrychtishousis family of Napiers. Wrychtishousis (or Wright's Houses) is in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Merchiston Napiers, whose family origins were also in Edinburgh.

The family of John Napier the Mathematician (who invented logarithms), one of the Merchiston Napiers.

In Scotland, the other main grouping of Napier families is in the north-east of the country, in the counties of Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire and Angus. As yet, no firm link has been established between this group of families and either of the main branches, Kilmahew or Merchiston. Research is still ongoing.

We cannot forget our English cousins. We know that two members of the Merchiston Napier family emigrated from Scotland to England around 1500 and settled in Swyre, in the county of Dorset, and Exeter, in the county of Devon. These were the ancestors of most of the English Napiers who thrived in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Nor can we forget our Irish cousins. There were undoubtedly Napiers in the Ulster Plantations of the 17th century. There is not much recorded about these families, so there is a field of research for somebody.

Over the centuries, members of the Napier family have wandered all over the world. They have taken up residence in all the principal areas of those countries that used to form the British Empire, and still flourish there. As well as the United States of America, many of the family went to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is hoped that some time in the future we will be able to put up some information about these families.

© Charlie Napier,
Morningside, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Last modified:
31 October 2015

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