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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, German

Where did the English Kemp family come from? What is the English Kemp family crest and coat of arms? When did the Kemp family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kemp family history?

When the ancestors of the Kemp family arrived in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066, they brought their name with them. It is a name for a champion at jousting or wrestling. In medieval England, the joust was used to train feudal knights for battle. Checking further we found the name was derived from the Middle English word kempe, which is a derivative of the Old English word cempa, which means warrior or champion.

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Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Kemp, Kempe and others.

First found in Kent where one of the first records of the name was Edmund Kempe c. 1100. Years later, Ralph le Kemp was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1296 in Sussex.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kemp research. Another 237 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1380, 1450, 1380, 1454, 1594, 1599, 1373, 1438 and are included under the topic Early Kemp History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 145 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kemp Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Kemp family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Kemp or a variant listed above:

Kemp Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • William Kemp settled in Virginia in 1624 with his wife Margaret and son Anthony
  • Humfrey Kemp settled in Bermuda in 1635
  • Edward Kemp, aged 29, landed in Barbados in 1635
  • Humfrey Kemp, aged 16, arrived in Bermuda in 1635
  • Isack Kemp, aged 23, landed in Virginia in 1635


Kemp Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Wilhelm Kemp, who arrived in New York in 1709-1710
  • Hugh Kemp, who landed in Jamaica in 1730
  • Casper Kemp, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1734
  • Dewald Kemp, who arrived in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1743
  • Christian Kemp, who landed in Maryland in 1746-1747


Kemp Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Ceaser Kemp, aged 24, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1837
  • Adam Kemp, aged 22, landed in Key West, Fla in 1837
  • Rebecca Kemp, aged 16, landed in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • Sarah Kemp, aged 38, landed in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • Asemit Kemp, aged 1, landed in Key West, Fla in 1839


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  • Jack French Kemp (1935-2009), American politician and government official, he was Bob Dole's running mate in 1996 presidential campaign
  • Daniel "Dan" Kemp (1927-2000), American actor, best known for his many roles in television westerns
  • Earl Kemp (b. 1929), American Hugo Award winning publisher, science fiction editor and critic
  • Gray kemp (b. 1960), English actor
  • David Michael Kemp (b. 1953), former English professional footballer and manager
  • Ross Kemp (b. 1964), BAFTA award-winning English actor
  • Martin John Kemp (b. 1961), English actor and former pop musician from Spandau Ballet, best known for his role as Steve Owen in the BBC soap opera EastEnders
  • Joseph William Kemp (1872-1933), English-born, Baptist minister and preacher, a revivalist, leader of the Christian fundamentalist movement in New Zealand
  • Anthony Fenn Kemp (1773-1868), English-born, Australian soldier, merchant and a deputy judge advocate of the colony of New South Wales, one of the key participants in the "Rum Rebellion"
  • Edward Kemp (1817-1891), English landscape architect and an author

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  • Heistand Family History by Barbara Hiestand Moore.
  • Kemp Family Records by Thomas J. Kemp.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Lucem spero
Motto Translation: I hope for light.

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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...

The Kemp Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kemp Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 1 October 2014 at 14:35.

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