Show ContentsKirkconnell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Kirkconnell family

The surname Kirkconnell was first found in Kirkcudbrightshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Chille Chuithbheirt), part of the present day Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, former county in Southwestern Scotland.

The family were first found in "the lands of Kirkconnel in the parish of Troqueer, Kirkcudbrightshire." 1

As one would expect, the place name literally means "church of Connell," as "kirk" is Scottish Gaelic for "church."

"St. Connel, to whom the church was dedicated, appears to have given the name to the parish. The church at one time belonged to the monks of Holywood, who received the tithes, establishing a vicarage for the due performance of divine service." 2

Saint Connell or Cennell was an Irish saint and missionary from what is now known as County Galway. He was a contemporary of Saint Patrick as was in fact, appointed Bishop of Aughrim by him. (c. 500.)

And the first on record was "William, son of Michael de Kirkeconeual granted to Holmcultran for the souls of himself and his wife half of all the land between Polleychos and Grenesiche from Polleroth to the Water of Nid, c. 1235-1253." 1

Later, Thomas, son of Andrew de Kyrconeuel, was granted to the same abbey half of the land with the moss lying between Polchos and Grenescych in Kyrconeuel within certain bounds described, c. 1280-1290. One of the witnesses is Andrew de Kirkoneuill.

A few years later, Thomas de Kirconnel of the county of Dumfries rendered homage in 1296 to King Edward I of England and accordingly had his lands restored to him. 1

"Fair Helen of Kirconnell" or "Helen of Kirkconnel" is a famous Scottish ballad by Sir Walter Scott. It tells the story of Fair Helen of Kirconnell (Kirconnel) who is claimed to have lived in the 16th century. She was apparently loved by two gentlemen at the same time. While with one of her gentlemen, she sacrificed herself to protect him from her other gentleman's attack from the other side of river. She died in his arms.

Kirkconnel Tower was a 16th-century tower house in what is now known as Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. This is thought to have been the home of Helen of Kirconnel. While there is record of the tower, there is no evidence found today.

Kirkconnel (1892-1916) was a British Thoroughbred bred racehorse and sire owned by Lady Stamford, wife of William Grey, 9th Earl of Stamford (1850-1910), the English peer born in Newfoundland. There is no record of why the horse was so named, but we do know that he had previously been known as Kirkconell, but after his acquisition by John Blundell Maple in 1894, he was officially renamed Kirkconnel prompting a comment that he was now owned by "a man who knows how to spell."

Early History of the Kirkconnell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kirkconnell research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1235, 1280, 1304 and 1920 are included under the topic Early Kirkconnell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kirkconnell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Kirkconnel, Kirkconnell, Kirkeconnel, Kirkeconnell, Kirconnel, Kirconnell, Kirkonnel and many more.

Early Notables of the Kirkconnell family

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

Migration of the Kirkconnell family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: William Kirkconnel arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1757.

Contemporary Notables of the name Kirkconnell (post 1700) +

  • Captain William Nathaniel "Willie K" Kirkconnell (1915-2008), American born at Cayman Brac, Merchant Marine in WWII
  • Sandy Kirkconnell (b. 1870), American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Bonacca, 1906-29 3
  • James Kirkconnell (1777-1851), Scottish born in Airdwall father to William Maitland Kirkconnell who's family founded R.B. Kirkconnell and Bros ship builders in Cayman Islands
  • William Maitland Kirkconnell (1821-1890), Scottish Ensign born in Kirkcudbright, Scotland who was ship wrecked on the Cayman Island; he later died at sea on route to an exhibition
  • Charles Gerald Kirkconnell (1891-1961), born in the Cayman Islands, boat builder, merchant and took over R.B Kirkconnell and Bros which was founded in 1896 with family
  • Reginald Bloomfield Kirkconnell (1875-1961), born in the Cayman Islands, master boat builder, merchant and took over R.B Kirkconnell and Bros which was founded in 1896 with family
  • Walter Aaron Kirkconnell (1854-1904), born in Cayman Islands, master boat builder and merchant
  • Nathaniel Glover Kirkconnell (1888-1966), born in Cayman Islands, Master Mariner, boat builder and took over R.B Kirkconnell and Bros which was founded in 1896 by the family
  • Captain Charles Kirkconnell OBE (1922-2010), Grand Cayman Naval officer who after World War II rose to become Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Sister Islands Moses, eponym of Sir Captain Charles Kirkconnell International Airport
  • Watson Kirkconnell OC FRSC (1895-1977), Canadian President of Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia (1948-1964), born Port Hope, Ontario, granted Coat of Arms by Scottish Lord Lyon, and he or his successor may now be considered Chief of the Clan, President of Acadia University (1948-1964)
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. 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)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from on Facebook