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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Kidder family come from? What is the English Kidder family crest and coat of arms? When did the Kidder family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kidder family history?

The name Kidder is tied to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of England. It comes from the Dutch personal name Kygeir which meant people's spear. The surname Kidder was adopted in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. In Old English, patronyms were formed by adding a variety of suffixes to personal names, which changed over time and from place to place. For example, after the Norman Conquest, sunu and sune, which meant son, were the most common patronymic suffixes. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the most common patronymic names included the word filius, which meant son. By the 14th century, the suffix son had replaced these earlier versions. Surnames that were formed with filius or son were more common in the north of England and it was here that the number of individuals without surnames was greatest at this time.


Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Kidder has undergone many spelling variations, including Kidder and others.

First found in Sussex where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kidder research. Another 145 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1691, 1633, 1703, 1703 and 1691 are included under the topic Early Kidder History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kidder Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Kidder family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Kidder were among those contributors:

Kidder Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Kidder, who settled in Boston in 1633
  • James Kidder settled in Cambridge in 1633
  • James Kidder, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1649
  • Thaddeus Kidder, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1672

Kidder Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Benjamin Kidder settled in Baltimore in 1775

Kidder Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • John Kidder, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750


  • Margaret Ruth "Margot" Kidder (b. 1948), Canadian actress best known for her role as Lois Lane in the 1978 film Superman: The Movie and its sequels
  • John Tracy Kidder (b. 1945), American author and Vietnam veteran awarded the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
  • Jefferson Parish Kidder (1815-1883), American lawyer and jurist
  • Alfred Vincent Kidder (1885-1963), American archaeologist, received Ph.D from Harvard University


  • The Shepard Genealogy by Lowell Shepard Blaisdell.

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  1. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  2. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  8. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  11. ...

The Kidder Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kidder Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 6 April 2014 at 16:47.

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