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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: German, Scottish


The surname Kirk is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. The name Kirk translates as church, and indicates that the original bearer of the name lived in a village with a prominent church.

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The surname Kirk was first found in Cumberland, where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Kirk, Kirkhoe, Kirkaugh, Kirko, Kirkoe and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kirk research. Another 263 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1258, 1600, 1590, 1597, 1644, 1692, 1646, 1691, 1681 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Kirk History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kirk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Kirk family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kirk Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Christopher and Judith Kirk settled in Virginia in 1635
  • John Kirk settled in New England in 1698

Kirk Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Grafton Kirk settled in Maryland in 1738
  • Agnes Kirk, who was recorded in Pennsylvania in 1773

Kirk Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Gottfried Kirk, whose Oath of Allegiance was recorded in Philadelphia in 1856

Kirk Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Mr. Kirk John U.E. who settled in Parr Town [Saint John], New Brunswick c. 1784 he was a member of the first grand jury in Saint John

Kirk Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Ellen Kirk, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Catherine Kirk, aged 24, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • Mary Kirk, aged 22, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Eleanor Gordon" in 1834
  • Eliza Kirk, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast

Kirk Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Michael Kirk, English convict from Norfolk, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • John Kirk, a mason, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Alexander Kirk arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1839
  • Sarah Kirk arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1839
  • Robert Kirk arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Helen Thompson" in 1840


Kirk Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • William Kirk arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1854
  • Stephen Kirk, aged 27, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Elizabeth Kirk, aged 27, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Robert Kirk, aged 27, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Seringapatam" in 1856
  • Matilda Kirk, aged 26, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Seringapatam" in 1856


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  • Richard R. Van Kirk, American Democrat politician, Mayor of Oil City, Pennsylvania, 1956; Candidate for Pennsylvania State Senate 48th District, 1958
  • Lauren Van Kirk, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 2004
  • Leroy H. Van Kirk, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Ithaca, New York, 1906-14
  • H. C. Van Kirk, American Democrat politician, Chair of Montour County Democratic Party, 1937
  • Gertrude Van Kirk, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1980
  • Eron C. Van Kirk, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Ithaca, New York, 1882-85
  • Charles C. Van Kirk, American politician, Justice of New York Supreme Court 4th District, 1910-26
  • Oliver Kirk (b. 1884), American two time Olympic gold medalist for boxing at the 1904 Summer Games
  • Major-General Norman Thomas Kirk (1888-1960), American Surgeon-General of the Army (1943-1947)
  • Major-General James Kirk (1890-1972), American Chief of Field Service Division, Office of the Chief of Ordnance (1946)

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  • Southern Kirk and Carrell Families by Maudie Marie Holt Marshall.
  • Farrington and Kirk Family by Herschel B. Rochelle.
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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: Optimum quod primum
Motto Translation: That is best that is first.

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  1. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  5. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  8. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  9. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  11. ...

The Kirk Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kirk 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 15 March 2016 at 09:37.

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