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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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

Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Killebrew. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Killebrew family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Killebrew is a local type of surname and the Killebrew family lived in Cornwall, at the manor of Cheligrevus, from which they took their name. [1]

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Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Killigrew, Kiligrew, Killigroue, Killegrew and many more.

First found in Cornwall where "a manor in the parish of St. Erme, where this celebrated family resided from an early date down to the reign of Richard II." [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Killebrew research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1580, 1633, 1603, 1622, 1680, 1608, 1672, 1612, 1683, 1606, 1695, 1660, 1685, 1686, 1652, 1712, 1702 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Killebrew History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 243 words (17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Killebrew Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Killebrew family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Killebrew were Anne Killigroue settled in Boston in 1679; with her sister Elizabeth who spelled her name Killigrew; Hannah Killegrew settled in Virginia with her husband in 1748..

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  • O. D. Killebrew, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Gold Democrat National Convention from Alabama, 1896
  • JoAnn E. Killebrew, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1972
  • Harmon Clayton Killebrew (1936-2011), American Major League Baseball player, Hall of Fame member


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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  7. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The Killebrew Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Killebrew 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 12 October 2015 at 12:05.

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