Belknap History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The present generation of the Belknap family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in Sussex, at "Knelle, in the parish of Beckley, and Sir Hamon is mentioned among the captains in the retinue of the Duke of Bedford at Agincourt. He was the son of Sir Robert Belknap, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in the time of Edward III., and one of the Judges called before the King at Nottingham." [1]

Early Origins of the Belknap family

The surname Belknap was first found in Warwickshire at Weston, where Edward Belknap held lands up to the 16th century. [1]

According to Duchesne, in his publication "List of Conquerors of England," Belknape was one of the companions to William the Conqueror and is listed on the Roll of Battle Abbey. [2]

However, little else is known of the family in earlier times. The next earliest record of the family was found in the hamlet of Griff in Warwickshire as a birth record of Sir John Belknap (1309-1367.) He was father of Sir Robert Belknap (1339-1399) who was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in England. [3] His son was Hamon Belknap (1394-1429), also known variously as Bealknap and Beltoft. One of his sons was Henry Belknap, Lord of Oston (1435-1488.)

"There had been a Kentish branch of the Belknaps, seated at the Moat, near Canterbury; of whom Philip was Sheriff of Kent in 1456, and Mayor of Canterbury in 1458. His only child, Alice, married Henry Finch of Netherfield; and the Moat afterwards became the residence of her descendant, John, Lord Finch of Fordwich, the Lord Keeper by whom (according to Clarendon) the 'errors and mischiefs of the Star Chamber were introduced in the time of Charles I.' "

"The manor of Belknap in Wiltshire must owe its name to this family, though I can find no record of its having been in their possession. That of Belknap in Essex was, according to Morant, 'probably acquired by marriage into the family of Somery.'" [1]

Early History of the Belknap family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Belknap research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1374, 1388, 1428, 1420, 1404, 1471 and 1521 are included under the topic Early Belknap History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Belknap Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Belknap include Belknap, Bellknap, Belknape, Belknappe, Bellknappe and many more.

Early Notables of the Belknap family (pre 1700)

Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Belknap Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Belknap Ranking

In the United States, the name Belknap is the 9,161st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]


United States Belknap migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Belknap were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Belknap Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Belknap who settled in Lynn Massachusetts in 1620
  • Abraham Belknap, the scion of the family from Warwickshire, also settled in Lynn in 1637
  • Abraham Belknap, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637 [5]
Belknap Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Belknap, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [5]
  • D P Belknap, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • D H Belknap, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Belknap (post 1700) +

  • Hugh Reid Belknap (1860-1901), U.S. Representative from Illinois
  • Daniel Belknap (1771-1815), American farmer, mechanic, militia captain, poet and one of the first American composers
  • Anna Belknap (b. 1972), American actress, best known for her role as Detective Lindsay Monroe on CSI: NY
  • William Worth Belknap (1829-1890), American Army general, and 30th U.S. Secretary of War (1869-1876)
  • Jeremy Belknap, American clergyman and historian
  • George Belknap (1832-1903), United States Navy Rear Admiral
  • Charles E. Belknap (1846-1929), United States Army Civil War officer and politician from Michigan
  • William G. Belknap (1794-1851), United States Brigadier General
  • Reginald R. Belknap (1871-1959), United States Navy rear admiral and son of George Belknap
  • Charles Belknap Henderson (1873-1954), American Democratic Party politician, Lawyer [6]


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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