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

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

The ancestors of the name Kirkham date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Kirkham family lived in the region of Kirham. Kirkham 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.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Kirkham are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Kirkham include: Kirkham, Kirkam and others.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kirkham research. Another 338 words(24 lines of text) covering the year 1300 is included under the topic Early Kirkham History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Kirkham or a variant listed above:

Kirkham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Edward Kirkham who settled in Maryland in 1774

Kirkham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Watson Kirkham arrived in Philadelphia in 1833
  • John Kirkham arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1858

Kirkham Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Kirkham, English convict from Lincoln, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Richard Kirkham, aged 24, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry"
  • Thomas Kirkham, aged 28, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry"

Kirkham Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Mary Kirkham arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Walter Kirkham, aged 33, a brickmaker, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Ellen Kirkham, aged 33, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Walter Kirkham, aged 11, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Ellen Kirkham, aged 9, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874


  • Kathleen Kirkham (1895-1961), American silent screen leading lady
  • Richard Kirkham (b. 1955), American philosopher
  • Rick Kirkham, American journalist
  • Stanton Davis Kirkham (1868-1944), American naturalist, philosopher, ornithologist and author
  • Fred Kirkham (d. 1949), English football referee and manager of Tottenham Hotspur
  • Glenn Kirkham (b. 1982), English field hockey player
  • Ian Kirkham (b. 1963), English saxophonist
  • Reg Kirkham (1919-1999), English footballer
  • Tom Kirkham, English football referee
  • Tony Kirkham (b. 1957), English botanist



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  1. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  2. 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.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  11. ...

The Kirkham Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kirkham 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 8 January 2015 at 12:49.

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