Kemp History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the ancestors of the Kemp family arrived in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066, they brought their name with them. It is a name for a champion at jousting or wrestling. In medieval England, the joust was used to train feudal knights for battle. Checking further we found the name was derived from the Middle English word kempe, which is a derivative of the Old English word cempa, which means warrior or champion. [1]

Early Origins of the Kemp family

The surname Kemp was first found in Wiltshire, where one of the first records of the name was Eadulf Cempa in 902. Years later, Edmund Kempe was listed in Norfolk c. 1100 and Ralph le Kemp was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1296 in Sussex. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Alan Kempe in Suffolk and William Kempe in Oxfordshire. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list Ricardus Kempe and Johannes Kempe. [2]

The parish of Slindon in Sussex was of great significance to the family. "Slindon House, the seat of the Countess Dowager of Newburgh, was originally built by one of the archbishops of Canterbury, and was for some time the residence of the celebrated Archbishop Langton, who died here in the reign of Henry III.; the present mansion, erected by Sir George Kemp in the reign of Elizabeth, is a handsome structure, on a bold eminence." [3]

The parish of Wye in Kent was another ancient family seat. "The church was rebuilt by John Kemp, a native of the parish, who was first preferred to the bishopric of Rochester, and, having successively presided over several other sees, was lastly translated to the archbishopric of Canterbury and made cardinal. In 1447, he founded a college here for a master, or provost, and Secular canons, dedicated to St. Gregory and St. Martin. Olantigh, in the parish, was formerly the seat of the family of Kemp, and is supposed to have been the birthplace of Archbishop Kemp, and also of his nephew, Thomas Kemp, Bishop of London." [3]

In the far south in the parish of St. Ewe in Cornwall, another branch of the family was found. "What now remains of Trevithick is turned into a farm house, and is the property of Arthur Kempe, Esq. admiral of the blue." [4]

Early History of the Kemp family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kemp research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1380, 1450, 1780, 1380, 1454, 1594, 1599, 1373, 1438 and are included under the topic Early Kemp History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kemp Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Kemp, Kempe and others.

Early Notables of the Kemp family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Cardinal John Kemp (c.1380-1454), Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor of England; Will Kemp who was an actor with the Lord Chamberlain's Men from 1594 to 1599, and was listed as one of...
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kemp Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kemp World Ranking

In the United States, the name Kemp is the 588th most popular surname with an estimated 49,740 people with that name. [5] However, in Canada, the name Kemp is ranked the 985th most popular surname with an estimated 5,490 people with that name. [6] And in Australia, the name Kemp is the 270th popular surname with an estimated 12,694 people with that name. [7] New Zealand ranks Kemp as 264th with 2,299 people. [8] The United Kingdom ranks Kemp as 261st with 22,950 people. [9] South Africa ranks Kemp as 639th with 10,818 people. [10]

Ireland Migration of the Kemp family to Ireland

Some of the Kemp family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 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 Kemp migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Kemp or a variant listed above:

Kemp Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Kemp, who settled in Virginia in 1624 with his wife Margaret and son Anthony
  • Humfrey Kemp, who settled in Bermuda in 1635
  • Humfrey Kemp, aged 16, who arrived in Bermuda in 1635 [11]
  • Isack Kemp, aged 23, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [11]
  • Thomas Kemp, who settled in Virginia in 1636 along with William
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kemp Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Wilhelm Kemp, who arrived in New York in 1709-1710 [11]
  • Casper Kemp, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1734
  • Dewald Kemp, who arrived in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1743 [11]
  • Christian Kemp, who landed in Maryland in 1746-1747 [11]
  • Gilbert Kemp, who landed in Maryland in 1746-1747 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kemp Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ceaser Kemp, aged 24, who arrived in Key West, Fla in 1837 [11]
  • Adam Kemp, aged 22, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1837 [11]
  • Sarah Kemp, aged 38, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1838 [11]
  • Rebecca Kemp, aged 16, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1838 [11]
  • Asemit Kemp, aged 1, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1839 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kemp Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. James Kemp, (b. 1873), aged 31, Cornish miner, from Camborne, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Louis" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 19th June 1904 en route to Calumet, Michigan, USA [12]
  • Mr. Josiah Kemp, (b. 1885), aged 19, Cornish settler, from Hayle, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Etruria" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 8th October 1904 en route to Utah, USA [12]
  • Mr. Richard E. Kemp, (b. 1883), aged 22, Cornish engineer, from Hayle, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Caronia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 7th June 1905 en route to New York City, New York, USA [12]
  • Mr. Alfred J. Kemp, (b. 1883), aged 22, English blacksmith travelling aboard the ship "Campania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 1st April 1905 en route to West Cornwall, Connecticut, USA [12]
  • Miss Beatrice Kemp, (b. 1881), aged 24, English settler travelling aboard the ship "Campania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 1st April 1905 en route to West Cornwall, Connecticut, USA [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Kemp migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kemp Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Kemp, who landed in Quebec in 1784
  • Mr. Kemp James U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1784 [13]
  • Mr. Kemp John U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John West], New Brunswick, Canada c. 1784 [13]
  • Mr. Kemp John Sr., U.E., "Kempt" (b. 1723) born in Maryland, USA from Albany, New York, USA who settled in Fredericksburgh [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1784 he enlisted in 1780 serving in the Kings Rangers, married to Anne Van Vorst they had 5 children, he died in 1795 [13]
  • Mr. Kemp Joseph U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1784 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kemp Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Aaron Kemp, who arrived in Canada in 1830

Australia Kemp migration to Australia +

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

Kemp Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Kemp, (b. 1769), aged 34, British farmer who was convicted in Kent, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1847 [14]
  • Henry Kemp, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [15]
  • Mr. James Kemp, (b. 1784), aged 32, English carpenter who was convicted in Sussex, England for 14 years for possession of forged bank notes, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 16th January 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [16]
  • Mr. James Kemp, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Canada" on 23rd April 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [17]
  • Joseph Kemp, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [18]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Kemp 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:

Kemp Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J Kemp, who landed in Keri Keri, New Zealand in 1836
  • James Kemp, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • Hy Tracy Kemp, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Kemp, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas Kemp, who landed in Tamaki, Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Kemp migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [19]
Kemp Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Edward Kemp, aged 29, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [11]
  • Mr. Edward Kemp, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Alexander" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [20]
  • Mr. Humphrey Kemp, (b. 1619), aged 16, British settler travelling aboard the ship "The Dorset" arriving in Barbados in September 1635 [21]
Kemp Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Hugh Kemp, who landed in Jamaica in 1730 [11]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kemp (post 1700) +

  • Elizabeth Kemp (1951-2017), American actress and acting coach
  • Helen Hubbert Kemp (1918-2015), American voice teacher, church music pedagogue, composer, and children's choir clinician
  • Wayne Kemp (1941-2015), American country music singer
  • Earl Kemp (b. 1929), American Hugo Award winning publisher, science fiction editor and critic
  • Daniel "Dan" Kemp (1927-2000), American actor, best known for his many roles in television westerns
  • Jack French Kemp (1935-2009), American politician and government official, he was Bob Dole's running mate in 1996 presidential campaign
  • C. E. Kemp, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Arkansas, 1960 [22]
  • Bolivar Edwards Kemp (1871-1933), American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Louisiana, 1920; U.S. Representative from Louisiana 6th District, 1925-33 [22]
  • Benjamin R. Kemp (1830-1864), American politician, Member of Indiana State House of Representatives, 1863 [22]
  • Andrew Kemp, American Democratic Party politician, Supervisor of Monguagon Township, Michigan; Elected 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901 [22]
  • ... (Another 54 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Francis T Kemp, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [23]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Douglas Kemp, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [24]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Lewis Holdsworth Kemp (d. 1939), British Ordnance Artificer 4th Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [25]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas Hulman Kemp (d. 1912), aged 43, English Assistant Fourth Engineer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [26]


The Kemp 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: Lucem spero
Motto Translation: I hope for light.


Suggested Readings for the name Kemp +

  • Heistand Family History by Barbara Hiestand Moore.
  • Kemp Family Records by Thomas J. Kemp.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  8. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  9. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  10. ^ https://forebears.io/south-africa/surnames
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  15. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  18. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  19. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  20. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 28th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  21. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  22. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  23. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  24. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  25. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  26. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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