Kelso Coat of Arms
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Which coat of arms or "family crest" is mine?
Choose the design you like best, just your ancestors did when they painted these symbols on the shields they carried into battle and displayed in their homes. These coats of arms are real, historical works of art/culture dating back as far as 1100AD. Most of these designs were compiled and documented by genealogists and heraldists in large books published in the nineteenth century. These arms were owned by individuals who bore your surname, and were passed down through the generations from father to son, earning the monicker "family crest".
Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Kelso Name
Origins of Kelso:
It is an old Scottish locational surname. It is either from the town of Kelso in Roxburghshire, or an estate known as Kelsoland. It is also one of the earliest noted surnames not just of Scotland but the whole British Islands, the name holders holding different positions of prominence in old times. There were many branches, but the main one was known as the Kelso’s of Kelsoland in Largs, although this special family later became obsolete in the 17th century. The first known record of the surname considered to be that of Arnold de Kelso. He, in the year 1200, entered into an agreement with the priests of the abbey of Kelso to allow them the use of some of his lands, while at much the same time Richard of Kelso, the relationship is not known, was the clerk to the Chancellor of Scotland. Although the Richard held arguably one of the most important positions in the country and was responsible for the correctness of the records, he seems to have some doubt about the spelling of his name, which also noted as Kelchow. An old name holder with an alternative spelling was Hugh de Kelshowe of Ayrshire, a knight, and possibly a member of Parliament, who rendered tribute to the government of John Baliol, in 1296.
More common variations are: Kelsoe, Kelsoy, Kellso, Kelaso, Keleso, Kelsoa, Koelso, Keliso, Keelso, Kelsoh.
The surname Kelso was first discovered in Roxburghshire, where they were given lands by King Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, consisting of the Abbey and estates of Kelso, originally the Abbey of Selkirk.
Many of the people with surname Kelso had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Kelso landed in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Kelso who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included William Kelso, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1635.
People with the surname Kelso who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Hugh Kelso, who landed in New England in 1718. Samuel Kelso settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina with his wife and seven children in 17675. Elizabeth Kelso, who settled in Wilmington in 1774. Elizabeth Kelso, who landed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774.
The following century saw more Kelso surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Kelso who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Charles Kelso, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808. Joseph Kelso, aged 20, landed in New York in 1812. Mathew Kelso, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1821. John Kelso, who arrived in Mississippi in 1848. James, Oliver, Paul, Robert and William Kelso all came to Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860.
Some of the people with the surname Kelso who came in the Canada in the 18th century included Mr. Kelso Alexander U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784. Mr. Kelso Daniel U.E. who settled in Charlotte Division, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Cape Ann Association. Mr. Kelso William U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Cape Ann Association.
Some of the population with the surname Kelso who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included Archibald Kelso arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship “Resolute” in 1865.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Kelso:
United States 10,408; Australia 1,105; England 941; Canada 716; Scotland 427; Northern Ireland 393; South Africa 310; Germany 235; Panama 163; New Zealand 140.
Ben Kelso (born 1949), is an American basketball player and coach.
Beverley Kelso was a Jamaican singer.
Bill Kelso (1940-2009), was a Major-League Baseball pitcher.
Bob Kelso (footballer) (1865-1942), was a Scottish soccer player.
Frank B. Kelso II (born 1933), is a United States Navy admiral.
Iris Kelso (1926-2003), was an American writer and television commentator.
J. A. Scott Kelso (born 1947), is a neuroscientist.
J. J. Kelso (1864-1935), was a creator of the Children’s Aid Society in Canada.
Jack W. Kelso (1934-1952), was a Medal of Honor winner.
Jackie Kelso (1922-2012), was an American jazz saxophonist, flutist, and clarinetist.
Jamie Kelso (born 1948), was a political activist.
Jim Kelso (1910-1987), was a Scottish soccer player.
Kelso Coat of Arms Meaning
The two main devices (symbols) in the Kelso blazon are the garb and fesse engrailed. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, sable and or .
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century 1A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P69 It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 2The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.3Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 4A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 5Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 6The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 8A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.9Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.
Europe in the middle ages was still a largely agrarian society, and the wealth of the nobility resided in their estates and land. Since most people still lived and worked on the land they would find farm implements instantly recognisable, (an important feature for a coat of arms), even if they seem obscure to us today. 10Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 86 The garb for example is an ancient word for wheatsheaf, something now more frequently seen in Inn signs than in the field! 11A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Garbe
The fesse is a broad horizontal band across the centre of the shield, in very ancient times it was said to occupy one third of the area height of the shield 12A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P117, however it soon became somewhat narrower. This created an opportunity to add decorative edging to the band, of many forms, and to very pleasing artisitic effect, at least close up – it must be admitted that at distance some of the forms are hard to distinguish! The pattern engrailed is a series of scalloped indentations with the points facing outwards – and should not be confused with invected, which has the points facing inwards! Wade believes that both of these indented forms represent “earth or land”, and one perhaps can indeed see the furrowed earth embodied in them.