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

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

The forbears of the name Keniston once lived in or near some now-lost place called Kynaston, which experts agree was probably in the English border county of Shropshire. The surname Keniston belongs to the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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Compared to other ancient cultures found in the British Isles, the number of Welsh surnames are relatively few, but there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations. These spelling variations began almost as soon as surname usage became common. As a result, people could not specify how to spell their own names leaving the specific recording up to the individual scribe or priest. Those recorders would then spell the names as they heard them, causing many different variations. Later, many Welsh names were recorded in English. This transliteration process was extremely imprecise since the Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh used many sounds the English language was not accustomed to. Finally, some variations occurred by the individual's design: a branch loyalty within a family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The Keniston name over the years has been spelled Kynaston, Kynerston, Kinnaston, Kinaston, Keniston, Kennison, Kenison and many more.

First found in Shropshire, where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Kinnerly, some say before the Norman Conquest of England by Duke William of Normandy in 1066. Conjecturally they are descended from the Princes of Powys in Wales, through Griffith, son of Joerweth Goch, Lord of Mochnan, younger son of Meredith, Prince of Powis who took refuge in Shropshire. King Henry III of England gave him lands in that county. He married Matilda, the heiress of Ralph le Strange by whom he acquired the Manor of Kinnerly. Griffith' son, Griffith Vychan settled at Tre-gynvarth, which, when anglicized, is Kynvarth's Town, which, when spoken, became slurred into Kynastown, or Kynaston.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keniston research. Another 403 words(29 lines of text) covering the years 1433, 1495, 1459, 1534, 1491, 1564, 1516, 1590, 1554, 1587, 1642, 1621, 1622, 1640 and 1712 are included under the topic Early Keniston History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 175 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keniston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Welsh joined the great migrations to North America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Like their Scottish and Irish neighbors, many Welsh families left their homeland hoping to find hope and prosperity in a land that the English did not exercise a tight rule over. Those Welsh immigrants that successfully traveled to North America went on to make significant contributions to the rapid development of both Canada and the United States in terms of the settling of land and the establishment of industry. They also added to the rich cultural heritage of both countries. An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Keniston:

Keniston Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Allen Keniston, who sailed to Virginia in 1624
  • Allen Keniston, who arrived in Virginia in 1624-1625
  • Richard Keniston to Virginia in 1655
  • Rich Keniston, who arrived in Virginia in 1655

Keniston Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • D D Keniston, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  4. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
  8. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Keniston Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Keniston 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 7 October 2013 at 09:33.

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