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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The origins of the Welsh name Kidwell go back to the ancient Celtic culture that existed in the hills and Moors of Wales. The forbears that initially held the name Kidwell once lived in the town of Kidwelly, which is situated in the Welsh region of Dyfed. The Normans noted the strategic importance of this town, which is bordered by the coastline and two minor valleys. The town features a magnificent castle which dates from the 13th century; however, this stands on the site of a previous castle built in 1094, by William de Londres. The surname Kidwell belongs to the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


The surname Kidwell was first found in Dyfed a former county, and the ancient Welsh Kingdom of Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed in South-west Wales, comprised of the present day counties of Pembroke, Carmarthen, and Cardigan, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Although there are not an extremely large number Welsh surnames, there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations of those surnames. This variety of spellings began almost immediately after the acceptance of surnames within Welsh society. As time progressed, these old Brythonic names were eventually were recorded in English. This process was problematic in that many of the highly inflected sounds of the native language of Wales could not be properly captured in English. Some families, however, did decide to modify their own names to indicate a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even a patriotic affiliation. The name Kidwell has seen various spelling variations: Kidwelly, Kidwelley, Kidwell, Kidwall, Kedwell and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kidwell research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1094, 1589 and 1747 are included under the topic Early Kidwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in search of land, work, and freedom. These immigrants greatly contributed to the rapid development of the new nations of Canada and the United States. They also added a rich and lasting cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Kidwell:

Kidwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • J. H. Kidwell, who sailed to San Francisco in 1851
  • J H Kidwell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

Kidwell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • John E. Kidwell, who emigrated to America, in 1906
  • Mabel Kidwell, aged 36, who emigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • Edioh Kidwell, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States from Gloucester, England, in 1909
  • Herbert Kidwell, aged 17, who landed in America, in 1917
  • F.R. Kidwell, aged 46, who landed in America, in 1918
  • ...

  • Zedekiah Kidwell (1814-1872), American Democrat politician, Member of Virginia State House of Delegates, 1842-45, 1849-52; Delegate to Virginia State Constitutional Convention, 1849
  • Wayne Kidwell, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Idaho, 1972; Idaho State Attorney General, 1975-79; justice of Idaho State Supreme Court, 1999-2004
  • Lauren Kidwell, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 2004
  • Jim Kidwell (b. 1950), American Republican politician, Police officer; supervisor of Niles Township, Michigan, 2009-12
  • Homer Baird Kidwell (1911-2000), American lawyer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawaii (1975-1979)
  • Wayne L. Kidwell (b. 1938), retired Idaho Supreme Court justice and a former Idaho state attorney general
  • Zedekiah Kidwell (1814-1872), nineteenth century American politician, physician, lawyer, teacher and clerk
  • Catharine Kidwell (1921-2002), American novelist
  • David Kidwell (b. 1977), New Zealand rugby league player in the National Rugby League Competition

  • The Kidwell Ancestry in America by Will M. Kidwell.
  • Kidwell Families of Kentucky by Harold Kidwell.

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    Other References

    1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    2. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
    5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    7. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
    10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    11. ...

    The Kidwell Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Kidwell 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 18 January 2016 at 14:51.

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