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

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

Kinsley is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Kinsley family lived in one of the places called Kingsley in Cheshire or Staffordshire having derived from the Old English word cyningesleah, which means wood or clearing of the king. Thus, Kinsley is a classic example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.


Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Kingsley, Kingsleigh, Kingslee, Kinsey and others.

First found in Cheshire 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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kinsley research. Another 202 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kinsley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Kinsley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, travelling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Kinsley or a variant listed above:

Kinsley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Kinsley, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1636
  • Stephen Kinsley, who arrived in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Samuel Kinsley, who landed in New England in 1651
  • William Kinsley, who arrived in Maryland in 1679
  • Thomas Kinsley, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682

Kinsley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Jas Kinsley, who landed in America in 1805
  • Benjamin Kinsley, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1817

Kinsley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Henry Kinsley, aged 28, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864


  • Michael Kinsley (b. 1951), American political journalist, commentator and television host
  • Martin Kinsley (1754-1835), American politician, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts
  • William "Billy" Ellis Kinsley (b. 1946), English musician with The Merseybeats
  • Colin Kinsley, Canadian politician, mayor of Prince George, British Columbia 1996 through 2008
  • Kelsa Kinsley, Canadian actress and broadcaster


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  1. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. 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).
  8. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Kinsley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kinsley 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 30 July 2014 at 17:30.

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