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


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The surname Kemmis was first found in Gloucestershire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Pickwick or Wickwar, held by Humphrey the Chamberlain, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Kenys, Kemeys, Kemish, Kemis, Keymich and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kemmis research. Another 289 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1543, 1617, 1641, 1648, 1614, 1658, 1678, 1673, 1702, 1689, 1702, 1688, 1735, 1713, 1715, 1716 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Kemmis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Charles Kemeys (c.1614-1658), second child of the Kemeys Baronets, a Welsh family of landowners in the county of Monmouthshire, Wales; William Kemeys was High Sheriff of the County of Monmouth in 1678, and listed in Blome's List of Monmouthshire Gentry in...

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kemmis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Kemmis or a variant listed above were:

Kemmis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Elizabeth Kemmis, who landed in Maryland in 1659

Kemmis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Henry Kemmis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dumfries" in 1839
  • Mary Kemmis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dumfries" in 1839
  • Emily Kemmis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dumfries" in 1839
  • Louisa Kemmis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dumfries" in 1839
  • George Kemmis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dumfries" in 1839
  • ...
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  • Daniel Kemmis, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Montana, 2004
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Citations



  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  11. ...

The Kemmis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kemmis 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 11 December 2015 at 10:37.

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