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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


Knotts is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Knotts family once lived at the knot, the summit of a rocky hill, from the residence near that place.

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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 Knotts family name include Cnot, Cnotte, Canute, Cnut, Knot, Knout, Knotte, Knott and many more.

First found in Derbyshire where traditionally the name was descended from the Scandinavian King Canute, or Cnut. Drayton sings "The Knot that called was Canutus, bird of old, of that great King of Danes, his name that still doth hold, his appetite to please that far and near was sought, for his, as some have said, from Denmark hither brought."


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knotts research. Another 233 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1730, 1582, 1656, 1606 and 1681 are included under the topic Early Knotts History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knotts Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Knotts family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 33 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Knotts surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Knotts Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Knotts, who arrived in Virginia in 1642

Knotts Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • R Knotts, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  • Thomas E. Knotts, American politician, Mayor of Gary, Indiana, 1909-13
  • Rufus Knotts, American politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Calhoun County, 1877
  • Ronald Knotts, American politician, Mayor of Grafton, West Virginia, 1964
  • R. J. Knotts, American Democrat politician, Chair of Calhoun County Democratic Party, 1917
  • Levantia Knotts, American Democrat politician, Member of West Virginia Democratic State Executive Committee, 1945
  • Eugene A. Knotts, American politician, Mayor of Parkersburg, West Virginia, 1996-97
  • Eugene A. Knotts (b. 1929), American Democrat politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Wood County, 1965-66; defeated, 1966
  • Edward C. Knotts (b. 1863), American Democrat politician, Macoupin County State's Attorney, 1892-96; Mayor of Girard, Illinois, 1893-95; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1912
  • Armanis F. Knotts (1856-1937), American Republican politician, Porter County Surveyor, 1887-88; Member of Indiana State House of Representatives, 1901; Mayor of Hammond, Indiana, 1902-04;
  • Absalon Knotts, American politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Calhoun County, 1872

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  • The Knotts Family of Randolph County, Arkansas by Gladys Knotts Reynolds.
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  1. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  4. 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.
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  8. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Knotts Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Knotts 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 6 October 2015 at 13:52.

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