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

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

Knotts is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Knotts family once lived at the knot, the summit of a rocky hill, from the residence near that place.

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Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Knotts family name include Cnot, Cnotte, Canute, Cnut, Knot, Knout, Knotte, Knott and many more.

First found in Derbyshire where traditionally the name was descended from the Scandinavian King Canute, or Cnut. Drayton sings "The Knot that called was Canutus, bird of old, of that great King of Danes, his name that still doth hold, his appetite to please that far and near was sought, for his, as some have said, from Denmark hither brought."


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knotts research. Another 233 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1730, 1582, 1656, 1606 and 1681 are included under the topic Early Knotts History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 89 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knotts Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Knotts family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 33 words(2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Knotts surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Knotts Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • William Knotts, who arrived in Virginia in 1642

Knotts Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • R Knotts, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  • Benny Richard Knotts (1951-1980), American ASA and NASCAR Winston Cup driver
  • Armanis F. Knotts (1860-1937), American politician and lawyer, member of the Indiana House of Representatives
  • Thomas Elwood Knotts (1861-1921), the first mayor of the city of Gary, Indiana
  • Lieutenant Howard Clayton Knotts (1895-1942), American World War I flying ace credited with six aerial victories
  • Joseph Steven Knotts (1884-1950), American Major League Baseball catcher


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  • The Knotts Family of Randolph County, Arkansas by Gladys Knotts Reynolds.
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  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  3. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  5. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  6. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The Knotts Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Knotts 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 12 March 2014 at 13:18.

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