Kemsly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Kemsly is Anglo-Saxon in origin. It was a name given to a person whose father was a knight or soldier. The surname Kemsly was originally derived from the Old English word kemp, which came from the Old English word cempa, which means warrior and occasionally means athlete or wrestler. [1] The name also features the popular patronymic suffix -son, which was most common in the north of England and superseded other patronymic suffixes in prominence during the 14th century.

Early Origins of the Kemsly family

The surname Kemsly was first found in Kempston, parishes in Bedfordshire and Norfolk. "This parish [in Bedfordshire], in the Domesday Survey Camestone, comprises about 5000 acres; the soil in the valley of the Ouse is gravelly, and in other parts clay." [2]

The first record of the family was Peter de Kemeston who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1190. Years later the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 in Berkshire listed Simon de Kempston and later again, Symond Kempston was listed in 1426 in the Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century. [3] Richard Kemson was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [1]

Early History of the Kemsly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kemsly research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1728, 1661, 1662, 1683, 1684, 1726 and are included under the topic Early Kemsly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kemsly 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 Kemsly include Kempson, Kempston, Kimpson, Kempton, Kempstone and many more.

Early Notables of the Kemsly family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Kemsly family to Ireland

Some of the Kemsly family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Kemsly family

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 Kemsly were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: John Kempson who settled in Virginia in 1734; John Kempson settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856; A. Kempton settled in Savannah, Georgia in 1821.



  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)


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