Kerr History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The earliest forms of hereditary surnames in Scotland were the patronymic surnames, which are derived from the father's given name, and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the mother's given name. Scottish patronymic names emerged as early as the mid-9th century. The patronyms were derived from a variety of given names that were of many different origins. The surname Kerr is derived from the Gaelic name O'Ciarain or O'Ceirin, which itself comes from the Gaelic word ciar, which means black or dark brown.

Early Origins of the Kerr family

The surname Kerr was first found in Lancashire (located in northwest England and dates back to 1180), where one of the earliest records of a progenitor of the Clan was a John Ker, hunter, resident of Soonhope in 1190 AD. He is believed to have received a grant of land from the Crown and settled in the Border country of Scotland soon after the Norman invasion moved northwards.

Within a century, two main branches evolved from two brothers, Ralph and John who lived near Jedburgh in c. 1330. They were both listed in the Roll of Battle Abbey as having descended from the Norman Karre. [1] The Kerrs of Cessford were descended from Ralph, and the Kerrs of Ferniehurst were descended from John.

Important Dates for the Kerr family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kerr research. Another 172 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1130, 1205, 1264, 1296, 1350, 1553, 1609, 1606, 1570, 1650, 1616, 1578, 1654, 1570, 1650, 1675, 1605, 1675, 1615, 1684, 1624, 1690, 1680, 1741, 1600, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Kerr History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kerr Spelling Variations

The frequent translations of surnames from and into Gaelic, accounts for the multitude of spelling variations found in Scottish surnames. Furthermore, the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent because medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. The different versions of a surname, such as the inclusion of the patronymic prefix "Mac", frequently indicated a religious or Clan affiliation, or even a division of the family. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into Scotland, accelerating accentuating the alterations to various surnames. The name Kerr has also been spelled Kerr, Car, Carr, Ker, Cearr (Gaelic) and many more.

Early Notables of the Kerr family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Mark Kerr (1553-1609), of Ferniehurst, who was made 1st Earl of Lothian in 1606; Robert Ker (1570-1650) of Cessford, who was created the 1st Earl of Roxburghe in 1616; Robert Kerr (or Carr), 1st Earl of Ancram (c. 1578-1654), a Scottish nobleman and writer; Robert Ker, 1st Earl of...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kerr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Kerr family to Ireland

Some of the Kerr family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 155 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kerr migration to the United States

Some of the first North American settlers with Kerr name or one of its variants:

Kerr Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johan Kerr, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1728 [2]
  • Christian Kerr, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [2]
  • Friederich Kerr, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1742 [2]
  • Barnard Kerr, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [2]
  • Samuel Kerr, who landed in South Carolina in 1772 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kerr Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Kerr, who landed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1802 [2]
  • Hannah Kerr, aged 25, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [2]
  • Josiah Kerr, aged 28, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804 [2]
  • Alex Kerr, who arrived in America in 1805 [2]
  • Anne Kerr, who arrived in America in 1805 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Kerr Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Allan Napier Kerr, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1908 [2]

Kerr migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kerr Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Kerr of St. John's, Newfoundland in the late 1700's [3]
  • Dr. Kerr Robert U.E. (b. 1755) born in Scotland, United Kingdom from New York, USA who arrived in Quebec c. 1779, moving are required before settling in Fredericksburgh, Cataraqui township by 1789 he served in the 2nd Battalion of the Kings Royal Rangers of New York before being captured in 1777, escaping in 1779 he was a Assistant Surgeon, he married Elizabeth Brant Johnson in 1783 having 5 children, he died in 1824 [4]
  • Capt. Kerr James U.E. (b. 1754) who settled in Parr Town [Saint John], New Brunswick c. 1784 he served in the Queens Rangers, died in 1830 in Amherst, Nova Scotia [4]
  • Mr. Kerr James U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [4]
Kerr Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Campbell Kerr, aged 22, a saddler, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • John Kerr, who arrived in Canada in 1815
  • John Kerr, aged 27, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "William" from Cork, Ireland
  • Bess Kerr, aged 13, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Peggy Kerr, aged 19, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Kerr migration to Australia

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

Kerr Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Kerr, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Thomas Kerr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenswilly" in 1839 [6]
  • James Kerr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John" in 1840 [7]
  • Mr. James Kerr, (b. 1812), aged 28, English gardener fromLondon, England, UK travelling aboard the ship "Orient" arriving in Port Phillip, New South Wales, Australia on 13th December 1840 [8]
  • Mrs. Sarah Kerr, (b. 1819), aged 21, Cornish milliner travelling aboard the ship "Orient" arriving in Port Phillip, New South Wales, Australia on 13th December 1840 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Kerr 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:

Kerr Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Kerr, aged 14, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • John Kerr, aged 41, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • Janet Kerr, aged 42, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • James Kerr, aged 20, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • David Kerr, aged 18, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Kerr (post 1700)

  • John Michael Kerr (1950-2016), American author, best known for his non fiction book A Most Dangerous Method
  • Brigadier-General Francis Rusher Kerr (1890-1975), American Assistant Administrator of Veteran Affairs (1946) [9]
  • Malcolm Kerr (1931-1984), American academic
  • Cristie Kerr (b. 1977), American LPGA professional golfer
  • Walter Francis Kerr (1913-1996), American writer and Broadway theater critic awarded the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
  • Deborah Kerr CBE (1921-2007), Scottish-born, American movie actress perhaps best known for her role opposite Yul Brynner in "The King and I" for which she received a Golden Globe Award
  • Donald Maclean Kerr Jr. (b. 1939), American physicist, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1979-1985, and director of FBI Laboratory from 1997
  • James "Jim" Kerr (b. 1959), Scottish musician and singer-songwriter, member of the Scottish rock band Simple Minds, perhaps best known for their 1985 hit "Don't You (Forget About Me)"
  • William Alexander Kerr VC (1831-1919), Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • John Graham Kerr (1869-1957), Scottish embryologist and Member of Parliament
  • ... (Another 14 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Kerr family

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. Geoffrey Ian Hamilton Kerr (1958-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Wanganui, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [10]
  • Mr. Francis Ronald Kerr (1930-1979), New Zealander passenger, from New Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [10]
  • Mrs. Betty Kerr (d. 1979), New Zealander passenger, from New Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [10]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Peter Kerr (1875-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • Miss Sarah Kerr (1901-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • Mrs. Mary Currie Kerr (1875-1914), née Russell Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • Master George Kerr (1906-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • Miss Maggie Kerr (1902-1914), Scottish Third Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • ... (Another 2 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
HMS Dorsetshire
  • George Kerr (d. 1945), British Ordinary Seaman aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [12]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Raymond W Kerr (b. 1923), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Wallsend, Northumberland, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Alexander Kerr (b. 1919), English Engine Room Artificer 5th Class serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [13]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. David Kerr, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Hugh Kerr, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Robert G Kerr, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [14]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Richard J. Kerr, British Petty Officer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [15]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas Russell Kerr (d. 1912), aged 26, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [16]

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Citations

  1. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agamemnon/1820
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) GLENSWILLY 1839 (also called DAWSONS). Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Glenswilly.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOHN from London 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840John.htm
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1838_on.pdf
  9. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 30) Francis Kerr. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Kerr/Francis_Rusher/USA.html
  10. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  11. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  12. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  13. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  14. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
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