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.