Kerk History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Kerk is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. The name Kerk translates as church, and indicates that the original bearer of the name lived in a village with a prominent church.

Early Origins of the Kerk family

The surname Kerk was first found in Cumberland, where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Kerk family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kerk research. Another 132 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1258, 1600, 1590, 1597, 1553, 1613, 1644, 1692, 1638, 1638, 1646, 1691, 1681, 1683, 1641, 1692, 1646, 1691, 1650, 1706 and are included under the topic Early Kerk History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kerk Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Kirk, Kirkhoe, Kirkaugh, Kirko, Kirkoe and others.

Early Notables of the Kerk family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Edward Kirke (1553-1613), English poet ans scholar, a close friend of the poet Spenser; Robert Kirk (1644-1692), a Scottish minister, Gaelic scholar and folklorist from Aberfoyle, Stirling, best known for his "The Secret Commonwealth," a treatise on fairy folklore, witchcraft and ghosts; John Kirke ( fl. 1638), English dramatist, author of a popular tragic comedy "The...
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kerk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Kerk family to Ireland

Some of the Kerk family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kerk migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kerk Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Kerk, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]
  • Johann Kerk, who landed in Texas in 1854 [1]


The Kerk 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: Optimum quod primum
Motto Translation: That is best that is first.


  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)


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