Kirkhan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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The present generation of the Kirkhan family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in the region of Kirham. Kirkhan 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 Kirkhan family
The surname Kirkhan 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 Kirkhan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kirkhan 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 Kirkhan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kirkhan Spelling Variations
Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Kirkhan include Kirkham, Kirkam and others.
Early Notables of the Kirkhan family (pre 1700)
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kirkhan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Kirkhan family
Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Kirkhan were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: 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)