Kirkam History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Kirkam is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Kirkam family once lived in the region of Kirham. Kirkam 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.
Early Origins of the Kirkam family
The surname Kirkam was first found in Lancashire at Kirkham, a market-town and parish, in the union of the Fylde, hundred of Amounderness. Dating back to Saxon times, the parish took its name from its church.  There is another Kirkham in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The first record of the family was Simon de Kirkeham who was listed in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219.  Later, Walter de Kirkham (died 1260) was an English divine, Bishop of Durham. He was of humble parentage, but became one of the royal clerks. He is first listed in records from 1225 when he was chaplain of Eastrington, Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Adam de Kirkham; Agnes de Kyrkham; and Johannes Kvrkam.  Despite the name having the Scottish word "kirk" meaning "church" as its root, it was "probably a recent incomer from England to Scotland."  Alexander Kircum was listed in parish of Birsay, Scotland in 1640.
Early History of the Kirkam family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kirkam research. Another 146 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1575, 1507, 1582, 1523, 1525 and 1582 are included under the topic Early Kirkam History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kirkam Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Kirkam family name include Kirkham, Kirkam and others.
Early Notables of the Kirkam family (pre 1700)
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kirkam Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Kirkam family
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Kirkam surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Edward Kirkham who settled in Maryland in 1774; John Kirkham arrived in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1858; Watson Kirkham arrived in Philadelphia in 1833.
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- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)