Note: Important update. New guess on Bona Bornia location and Grant connections.
My name is Steve McKinnis and I am a 7th generation McKinnis from Charles through his son Robert. This site captures what little we know about Charles' origins. I have tried to add all information I can on Charles origins and history. I have new information on where the town of Bona Bornia may be located and our Grant DNA connections.
Many people have been looking for Charles history and origins but where we started in Scotland is still unknown. The town of Bona Bornia does not exist, but this may be the barony of Bona near Inverness. Most information is found in two documents, the "Lineage of Charles McKinnis and Rachel Carr" from a reunion in 1914 by Charles McKinniss of Otterbein, Indiana, and "The Old Grenadier" by Elizabeth McKinniss Appel
Charles was born in 1722 in a mystical town called Bona Bornia between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Another reference has this as BonaBonner. This town does not exist, and there are several guesses at to where this may be detailed later below. At this time I am thinking the name could be Bona barony (the barony of Bona), a region close to Bona below Inverness but not between Edinburgh and Glasgow. I think when he was impressed into the military that he ended up at a fort between Edinburgh and Glasgow, thus the connection. Cumerland had been recruiting men both before and after Culloden, and Bona is about 12 miles from the Culloden battlefield. At the age of 22, he was impressed into service, and fought with General Edward Braddock in a battle at Fort DuQuesne against the French and Indians in July of 1755, starting the 7 year French-Indian war. Braddock had two regiments, the 44th under Colonel Peter Halkett and the 48th under Colonel Thomas Dunbar. Both units had grenadiers that would flank the main troupes, but Halkett's battalion of grenadiers is mentioned more. A grenadier is a type of special services, those who went in first with grenades. Lt. Colonel Thomas Gage under Col. Halkett, was the first in with six Virginia light horsemen, 100 Grenadiers, a party of axemen, and two field cannon and ammunition wagons1. Of the 100 grenadiers that went in, only 11 survived according to The Essex Regiment (1st Battalion by J.W. Burrow. Because the grenadiers tended to be assigned as needed, tracing the manifest of the 44th is hard. It is interesting to note that Braddock, Halkett and Dunbar are all Scottish. Most of the British foot soldiers were Scottish. Charles would be about 33 in this battle, so probably a more experienced soldier and could have even had some rank, like a Sargent. If he was made Captain then it makes sense he would have started with some rank.
Another possibility has a different time line. In 1757, the 78th Regiment, (Highland) Regiment of Foot, also known as the 78th Fraser Highlanders, were getting recruits from around Inverness. This regiment fought in the 7 years French/Indian war, the war started after Braddock was defeated. So Charles would have been 35 when recruited, not 22. But the date for fighting is close and this is related to Braddock's defeat.
Charles was granted land in Nova Scotia, it was said, perhaps around Halifax, for his services after he was named Captain after this battle. He may have sold this land and purchased land in Pennsylvania where he settled. But there is no record of this Nova Scotia land and he paid cash for the land in Pennsylvania. It would also be very unlikely to be made a caption unless he was already a Sargent or of some rank before.
Christopher Purple also has proposed that the 77th Regiment of Foot (Montomerie's Highlanders) under Major James Grant may have had a Charles McGinnis. He has a a journal transcript of an itinerant minister traveling through western Pennsylvania in the late 1700s. He spent the night at a Charles McGinnis house who had been a member of a highland regiment. Charles was badly wounded in the side in the fighting around Fort DuQuesne (the reference said Fort Pitt but that was the renamed Fort Brusqueness). Major Grant lead a detachment in 1758 against Fort DuQuesne where 342 men where killed, wounded or captured.
He was married to a Martha Butler, Sept 27, 1764, but very little is known about her. She must of died before 1772 and had no children when at the age of 50 he married Rachel Carr who was 21 and had nine children.1The 44th Regiment from its Formation to the American War of Independence, Extracted from "The Essex Regiment (1st Battalion) by J. W. Burrows"
The first spelling was possibly MacInnes or MacInnis in Scotland, as the name in the lineage shows M'KINNISS. The ' means the ac (MacKinnis) was dropped. My Grandmother and Dad also used McKinnis where the c underlined meant the a was dropped. Charles could not read or write, so the listener would spell as they heard and what spelling they were familiar with. In America, the K is often added as the phonetic sound of MacInnes is Mack Kinnish. The double ss is also often seen as sh, and the ending had a long s sound. Most of Charles' children dropped the ss but there is still a strong line around Ohio with McKinniss.
Here is some information on the ss from Bill Smith.
The documentation also shows McGinnis, one time a Meginnes. In the East Coast the K is often pronounced as G. We have been there several times and were called McGinnis. I wonder if the MickMack native tribe had an influence, has they pronounce their K's as G's. There are McGinnis in the Lineage.
The following is directly copied from the 1914 Lineage genealogy document.
There is a good deal in a NAME . The Name we want to perpetuate was brought to us across the "Briny Deep" from Scotland, where many of the name still live, by a soldier in Braddock's army of 2,000 men. It was Braddock who reached the Monongahela river in Pennsylvania on July 8th, 1755. Disregarding the advice of Washington and other frontiersmen , he pushed on, next day, to invest Fort DuQuesne, at the junction of that river and the Allegheny . In a two-hour hard fought battle with 900 French and Indians Braddock was defeated and mortally wounded. He died at "Great Meadows" on July 13th. In that battle the valiant and brave soldier, Charles McKinnis, was shot through, wounded in the left side and thigh. This is the pivotal point on which hung the destiny of our name, the name that so many of us cherish. Thanks to that All-seeing Eye or our Heavenly Father , the soldier survived, Had the wounds proven fatal. I would not be penning these lines, upholding a name, a household word, in so many homes in nearly every state in the Union. This soldier, our great grandfather "was honorably discharged for bravery and wounds with rank of captain and given a charter for severa1 leagues of land in Nova Scotia.' He was born near Bona Bornia, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, in 1722; at the age of 22 he was impressed into the British army, his regiment was the Grenadiers. At the age of 50 he was married to Rachel Carr, in Pennsylvania.
Charles McKinnis born 1722, died 16 Jan 1806
Rachel Carr born c1751, died 29 June 1816 Married 1772
To them were born nine children:
William , born in 1773 died 1819 ancestry.com shows a possible wife and one child, little is known and nothing verified;
Robert, born 21 Mar 1777, died 22 Aug 1863;
Charles, born Oct 14 1780, died in 29 Mar 1837 ;
Joseph,; born c 1781/1782, died c 1857
George, born 1783, died 1857;
Margaret, born 1785, died about 1850 (married 1813 to John Dick 1770-1859);
John, born May 8 1788, died 1864;
Maugirter?, a daughter, born c1790, died c 1792 lived about 2 1/2 years ;
James, born 4 April 1794, died 1858.
When great grandfather, Charles McKinnis, died in 1806, his papers were placed in the hands of Squire Skull and kept in a two bushel pine box ; mice entered through a knot hole and destroyed the land charter and other papers". Charles and Rachel McKinniss were buried in Butler Cemetery, Butler, Butler County, Pa., and have gray tombstones. (Note: The bodies were all removed from this cemetery to the "North Cemetery" or Calvery Cemetery to make room for a public school building. Charles memorial id is 27086636 and Rachel;s id is 27086655 in Calvery Cemetery )
Information on Grave areas for the children TBD. Find a Grave website has many of these located.
Here is some good information on RootsWeb compiled by Craig Keifer. Unfortunately he has lost most of his documents. The first line is a hard copy as RootsWeb has been up and down, and these URL addresses tend to disappear over time.
In 2005 I joined the Clan MacInnes yDNA project on the FamilyTreeDNA and submitted a sample for test. The Y-DNA is directly passed from male to male, and after a number of generations a mutation occurs of one of the pairs. Statistically this is used to see how far back one goes with another until they had a common ancestor. I am a straight male line from Charles McKinnis' back seven generations so it should be a good test to match with others and see where their ancestors are from.. My line is Celtic, what they call the R1b line. R1a is Viking line and also is found in the MacInnes project. But I do not align with most MacInnes, I have very loose matches for most MacInnes people (11 of 12). But I am strongly aligned with the Grants. The DNA testing is done by a compilation of chromosome markers. The minimum is 12, does not tell you very much, then they have 25, 37, 67, 111 and now they have one they call the Big Y which is 700 markers. This test confirmed two things. One, we are closely tied to several Grants. Two, I am in the haploid group called R-Z17274. This is a much more refined haploid group, and is linked by the Grants to the chiefly lines. The DNA admins put me in the group they call the Grants from Tullochgorm from an area called parish of Inverallan which is about 30 miles from Bona. According to the statistics we have a common Grant ancestor around 1300-1500. And this ancestor is from the chiefly line of Grants (chiefly means common from one of the Chiefs). This Grant chiefly line is from the 10th Chief Patrick Grant, Lord of Stratherric, then John Grant, the 11th, to Duncan Grant, 1st Lord of Freuchie which we then branch to the Tullochgorm Grants. This line is the hardest to get definitive information, most of the documents vary here. More is detailed at https://charles.mckinnis.org/grant/AndrewGrant.html
Harold McKinniss did have a test to the 37 marker, and he and I have a perfect match. He was from the Joseph line and I from the Robert line. Probably does mean his branch and mine go back to Charles, seven generations is enough to get a mutation but this will not show at 37. But then a few years ago I had a match with a Douglas MacInnes, forefather a McInnes from Paisley outside of Glasgow, at the 111 marker level. It was a genetic distance of three off, meaning a very high probability of a common ancestor probably around 1500-1600. The last name in Scotland was actually McInnes.
I was reviewing some old email back in 2010 where I first was investigating the Grant connection. Having Grants as ancestors was a bit of a shock. I made some inquiries on FamilyTreeDNA between a Stuart and McLeod. A Kay Bachmann was researching several Stuart and Stewart connections, and provided this bit of information:
“Further, there is also a tradition within the Clan Grant, one confirmed in the rediscovered histories, that in the early 14th century the original Norse line of the Chiefs of Grant failed (though the lines of some of the younger sons of these early chiefs survived, some supposedly ending up in England, Ireland and France) resulting in the Grant heiress Maud (Marjory) being married to an Andrew Stewart. According to tradition, Andrew Stewart (who may have been illegitimate son of James Stewart) was allowed to marry the heiress under the conditions that he assume the surname of Grant and that he agree to maintain his residence in Strathspey. Early indications within our DNA testing point to the truth behind this, as well as the Norse origin legend.” [from the Clan Grant Histories and Origins Re-examined, available on-line at Clan Grant website in the Moneymusk text]
I should note there are several other documents that talk about this period of clan chiefs and Andrew Grant in this Clan Grant website . Andrew was born about 1295, died 1335. Andrew was from Ballachastle that cannot be located today, but it is in Stratherrick area which is about half way down from Inverness on Loch Ness on the east. To the west of Loch Ness is the castle of Uraquhart, which is a Grant castle. Uraquhart and the barony of Uraquhart is just under the area of Bona barony described below as a possible place for Charles. An Alexander Stewart was given the barony of Bona to rule, which may be related to Andrew. Andrew had one son Patrick Grant and a daughter Mary. There may be other Grants in the area besides Andrew, but Andrew is the break in the DNA line from Norse to Celtic. One of the families from this line or a brother, had several children. Something happened and these children were orphaned. Angus is prominent in the area, so a mihc Aonghais may have adopted one of the children and the name changed. This would be somewhere about 1500AD. So the other names that are Grant related, but not surnames of Grant, like Frasier, Ruddle, Keiller, Stuart, may be from this family.
According to the Big Y DNA matches run by the Grants, they categorize me with the Grants of Tullochgorm. The Grant site Branch Families lists this branch as Clann Phadruig, Grants of Tullochgorm in the parish of Inverallan. This region is just north of Ballachastle area, and to the east of Bona about 20-30 miles and is shown on the map in the Tullochgorm link. So this information is in line with the Bona barony theory. The link above names a Patrick in about 1530, not the same Patrick as the son of Andrew. But most of the names at that time were Patrick, John, Duncan and Malcolm.
So I come from the Grant Chieftains line per the Big Y DNA test, where supposedly a Stewart male had to become a Grant to marry a Grant heiress. There is a project on FamilyTreeDNA that shows people and locations of this group. Here you can see many Grants but also Stewarts and then "other" names I have listed above. I have a feeling that many of these people may be from Andrew, the 1295 time period is about right. We have genetic distances of 5-9. I originally was put in the haploid group R-DF19 where my closest match, Douglas Bowlby MacInnes (McInnes in Scotland), is also a R-DF19 match. Many of the DF19 people are from the Inverness area. Douglas is taking the Big Y 700 test and we will know more soon.
Here is more information on Andrew (Stewart) Grant with updates to the chiefly line, but I need to rewrite some of these sections. we did not probably descend from Andrew but another Grant from the region. The relations are not clear and are with very old documents. The birth dates of Andrew and Patrick his son are rather messed up. One Grant document says Andrew was born in 1210, another 1292. The list of Chiefs from Grant seem to confirm the death as 1335, age 40. Patrick's birth is listed as 1395 in one biography, so something is wrong. If we look at the list of Chiefs, we may be able to guess some lineage, although Andrew represents a break from Norse Chiefs, R1a to Celtic, so we cannot be sure that each is the son of the former. There are some brothers that are said to have stepped in. ElectricScotland says the Patrick after Andrew was not from Andrew, but from a Malcolm son of Sir Robert. But DNA does not support this claim.
Below is from the clangrant.org "complete list of Chiefs". More information on each line is in the Andrew (Stewart) Grant document.
No From Until Name
06 1320 1335 Andrew (Stewart) Grant 5th Lord of Stratherrick
07 1335 1362 Sir Patrick Grant 6th Lord of Stratherrick
08 1362 1370 Sir John Grant 7th Lord of Stratherrick
09 1370 1394 Robert Grant 8th Lord of Stratherrick
I have added some of my guesses to what the line may have been in the Andrew (Stewart) Grant document.
Also in the Genealogy Connections book, is a segment on the MacKintosh Chiefs line. We do not descend from this line, but in this text are comments about a Thomas mac Innish and Hugo mac Angus around Inverness . This could imply that MacAonghais', or MacInnes, were in the area near the barony of Bona detailed below. The Grant Names Associated with Grants also lists McInneses in this area. So my best guess as to why a MacInnes (McKinnis) is related to a Grant: one of the Grant families with several children had the parents killed, and the children were split into multiple families that had different last names: Fraser, Stewart, McNeill, McLead. It is well known there are many Angus in this area west of Inverness. Again nothing solid but many of these "coincidences" are starting to align.
Bona Bornia is not a real place in Scotland. First, Bornia is not really a Scottish name, Bona is, it is an ancient town close to Inverness on the northern end of Loch Ness. A ferry, lighthouse, cottage and lodge are there, and supposedly an old cemetery of the town. Another variation I have seen is Bona Bonner, still no help. There are several names that are close to Bona Bornia. Recently I saw some questions from George McKinniss that prompted me to look at another variation. A barony is a region of land, often given to Barons of the area. There is an area called barony of Bona, or Bona barony, that is the closest phonetic name to Bona bornia. There are also numerous Angus in the area around Inverness, so a son of Angus is quite possible.
Here are the current theories as to the name sake of Charles.
1) Bona barony, or barony of Bona
2) Barony near Glasgow
3) Bona banatia
4) Bonnybridge area - bonny bairnes
5) bonny burn
After Culloden, General Braddock had permission to recruit more people for his U.S. campaign. Braddock did not fight in Culloden but the 48th Regiment did fight at Culloden, and Culloden is not that far (about 12 miles) from the Inverness (Bona) area. The 48th Regiment was called Conway's Regiment at Culloden. I need to do more research, but I think there was a fort between Edinburgh and Glasgow that housed these troops before sending them overseas. Most troupes were sent out of Ireland in the town of Cork. In 1755 Bradock's ship with the crew, possible Charles, was sent out of Cork in Jan.
The 1914 Lineage book claims Charles was a Grenadier in the British ground troupes under General Edward Braddock, known as the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards, or First/Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards. Braddock was at Culloden, and had permission to recruit troupes (also know as "impressed" or forced into service). Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, had given Braddock the command of the America's troupes, the 48th and 44th regiments after Culloden, and was sent to put down the advancement of the French into the new settlement. France was working with the local native Indians, and the skirmish gained the name the French-India war, or seven years war. The French-Indian war actually started in 1756 after Braddock's defeat.
The definitive lineage by Charles McKinniss.
Some other general information from Sue and Bill Smith on a lesser known son Joseph. DNA results have proven this line is part of Charles.
George McKinniss has tried in vain to find this person, she was born in 1909 and this was written in the 1970s