Kirk History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Kirk is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. The name Kirk translates as church, and indicates that the original bearer of the name lived in a village with a prominent church.

Early Origins of the Kirk family

The surname Kirk was first found in Cumberland, 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.

Early History of the Kirk family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kirk research. Another 132 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1258, 1600, 1590, 1597, 1553, 1613, 1644, 1692, 1638, 1638, 1646, 1691, 1681, 1683, 1641, 1692, 1646, 1691, 1650, 1706 and are included under the topic Early Kirk History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kirk Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Kirk, Kirkhoe, Kirkaugh, Kirko, Kirkoe and others.

Early Notables of the Kirk family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Edward Kirke (1553-1613), English poet ans scholar, a close friend of the poet Spenser; Robert Kirk (1644-1692), a Scottish minister, Gaelic scholar and folklorist from Aberfoyle, Stirling, best known for his "The Secret Commonwealth," a treatise on fairy folklore, witchcraft and ghosts; John Kirke ( fl. 1638), English dramatist, author of a popular tragic comedy "The...
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kirk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kirk World Ranking

In the United States, the name Kirk is the 526th most popular surname with an estimated 54,714 people with that name. [1] However, in Australia, the name Kirk is ranked the 431st most popular surname with an estimated 8,709 people with that name. [2] And in New Zealand, the name Kirk is the 306th popular surname with an estimated 1,993 people with that name. [3] The United Kingdom ranks Kirk as 301st with 20,116 people. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Kirk family to Ireland

Some of the Kirk family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kirk migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kirk Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Christopher and Judith Kirk, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • John Kirk, who settled in New England in 1698
Kirk Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Grafton Kirk, who settled in Maryland in 1738
  • Agnes Kirk, who was recorded in Pennsylvania in 1773
Kirk Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Gottfried Kirk, whose Oath of Allegiance was recorded in Philadelphia in 1856

Canada Kirk migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kirk Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Kirk John U.E. who settled in Parr Town [Saint John], New Brunswick c. 1784 he was a member of the first grand jury in Saint John [5]
Kirk Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Ellen Kirk, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Catherine Kirk, aged 24, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • Mary Kirk, aged 22, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor Gordon" in 1834
  • Eliza Kirk, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland

Australia Kirk migration to Australia +

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

Kirk Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Patrick Kirk, (b. 1778), aged 23, Irish publican who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1837 [6]
  • Miss Catherine Kirk, (b. 1762), aged 51, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. John Cooper Kirk, (b. 1778), aged 41, English convict who was convicted in Derby, Derbyshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 5th June 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Charles Kirk, English convict who was convicted in Derby, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Michael Kirk, English convict from Norfolk, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Kirk 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:

Kirk Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Kirk, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1854
  • Rev. Kirk, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Despatch" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 21st January 1854 [10]
  • Mrs. Kirk, Australian settler travelling from Sydney with 2 children aboard the ship "Despatch" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 21st January 1854 [10]
  • Stephen Kirk, aged 27, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Elizabeth Kirk, aged 27, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Kirk (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Lee "Tommy" Kirk (1941-2021), American actor, best known for his performances in films made by Walt Disney Studios such as Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent-Minded Professor, and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones
  • Greg M. Kirk (1963-2019), American politician, Member of the Georgia Senate (2014-2019)
  • Oliver Kirk (b. 1884), American two time Olympic gold medalist for boxing at the 1904 Summer Games
  • Major-General Norman Thomas Kirk (1888-1960), American Surgeon-General of the Army (1943-1947) [11]
  • Major-General James Kirk (1890-1972), American Chief of Field Service Division, Office of the Chief of Ordnance (1946) [12]
  • David Kirk (b. 1955), American children's author, known for his books featuring "Miss Spider"
  • Tommy Kirk (b. 1941), American actor, played the lead juvenile role in Disney's "Old Yeller"
  • Admiral Alan Goodrich Kirk (1888-1963), American Naval officer, recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Merit
  • Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1936-1977), American jazz musician
  • H. C. Van Kirk, American Democratic Party politician, Chair of Montour County Democratic Party, 1937 [13]
  • ... (Another 94 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. Donald Clive Kirk (d. 1979), New Zealander passenger, from Te Kuiti, 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 [14]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Russell G Kirk (b. 1920), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Wantage, Berkshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [15]
  • Mr. Alfred Kirk (b. 1911), English Ordinary Telegraphist serving for the Royal Navy from Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Harry Kirk, British Boy 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was listed as missing and presumed killed during the evacuation of Singapore 1942 [16]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Guy D. Kirk, American Seaman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [17]


The Kirk Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Optimum quod primum
Motto Translation: That is best that is first.


Suggested Readings for the name Kirk +

  • Southern Kirk and Carrell Families by Maudie Marie Holt Marshall.
  • Farrington and Kirk Family by Herschel B. Rochelle.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  4. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  7. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 2nd January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/catherine
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1822
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, April 2) Norman Kirk. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Kirk/Norman_Thomas/USA.html
  12. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, April 2) James Kirk. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Kirk/James/USA.html
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  17. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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