Kelso History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

There is a town of Kelso in the Scottish Borders region, which followed from the creation of Kelso Abbey at that location in 1128. It is thought that in Scotland, Kelso was taken on as a surname from the place name.

Early Origins of the Kelso family

The surname Kelso was first found in Roxburghshire, where they were granted lands by King Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, consisting of the Abbey and estates of Kelso, originally the Abbey of Selkirk.

Early History of the Kelso family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kelso research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1076, 1180, 1214, 1296, and 1300 are included under the topic Early Kelso History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kelso Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Kelso and others.

Early Notables of the Kelso family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Kelso Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Kelso family to Ireland

Some of the Kelso family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kelso migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kelso Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Kelso, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1635 [1]
Kelso Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hugh Kelso, who landed in New England in 1718 [1]
  • Samuel Kelso, who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina with his wife and seven children in 1767
  • Elizabeth Kelso, who settled in Wilmington in 1774
  • Elizabeth Kelso, who landed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774 [1]
Kelso Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Kelso, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [1]
  • Joseph Kelso, aged 20, who landed in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Mathew Kelso, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1821 [1]
  • John Kelso, who arrived in Mississippi in 1848 [1]
  • James, Oliver, Paul, Robert and William Kelso all, who arrived in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Kelso migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kelso Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Kelso Alexander U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. Kelso Daniel U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Cape Ann Association [2]
  • Mr. Kelso William U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Cape Ann Association [2]

Australia Kelso migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Kelso Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Ann Kelso, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Buffalo" on 4th May 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]

New Zealand Kelso migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Kelso Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Archibald Kelso, aged 23, a blacksmith, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Resolute" in 1865
  • Miss Ann Kelso, (b. 1848), aged 19, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship " Lancashire Witch" sailing to Auckland and Lyttelton, New Zealand on 29th July 1867 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kelso (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Kelso (1784-1878), Irish-born, American philanthropist
  • Mark Kelso (b. 1963), former Buffalo Bills defensive back
  • Jack W. Kelso (1934-1952), Medal of Honor recipient
  • Bill Kelso (1940-2009), Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Frank Benton Kelso II (1933-2013), United States Navy admiral, who served as Chief of Naval Operations in the early 1990s
  • Ed Kelso (1910-1969), American writer and screenwriter
  • Louis O Kelso (1913-1991), American lawyer and economic thinker
  • Ed Kelso, American Republican politician, Chair of Switzerland County Republican Party, 1905 [5]
  • Daniel Kelso (1803-1857), American politician, Member of Indiana State House of Representatives, 1833-35, 1848-49; Member of Indiana State Senate, 1842-43; Delegate to Indiana State Constitutional Convention, 1850-51 [5]
  • Charles W. Kelso, American politician, Burgess of Erie, Pennsylvania, 1845, 1848 [5]
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Kelso Motto +

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: Otium cum dignitate
Motto Translation: Repose with dignity.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/buffalo
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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