Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Kirk Name
Origins of Name:
The surname of Kirk of of an Anglo-Saxon origin, but ultimately comes from Norwegian Pre 7th Century origins. This surname of Kirk was originally found in the north part of the countries of both England and Scotland, can be one of two origins. The first is that the surname of Kirk is a topographical surname, which denotes residence on or near a man-made or a natural element that was visible across the lands. The other possibility for the surname of Kirk is that it was occupational. This means that the original bearer of the surname of Kirk had the surname because it described his actual occupation at the time. This type of surname most often became hereditary because the son of the original bearer followed his father into the family business, or the same occupation. Both of these possible origins come from the Northern Middle English word of “kirk” which can be translated to mean “church” and comes from the Old Norse word “kirkja.”
More common variations are: Kirke, Kirck, Kirky, Kirik, Kirka, Kirko, Kirak, Kirku, Kiryk, Kirkh
Mentions of the surname of Kirk in Scotland include on Sir Patrick Kyrk who is recorded in the year of 1465, as the first mention of this surname in Scotland. Sir Patrick Kyrk is mentioned in the Register of the Abbey of Aberbrothoc, and he is mentioned as being the chaplain of the altar of St. Mary in Peth. Alexander Kirk was mentioned as being the bailie of St. Andrews in the year 1520. Those who have the surname of Kirk in Scotland can be found in the southern region, in high concentrations in Lanarkshire, Fife, Renfrewshire and Ayrshire counties.
The first recorded spelling of the surname of Kirk is shown to be in the country of England, in the year of 1209. One person who was recorded to go by the name of Reginald Attekireke, who was mentioned and recorded in the document referred to as the Fines Court Records of Lincolnshire. This document was ordered and decreed and written under the reign of King John, who was known as and commonly referred to as the “Lackland.” King John ruled from the year 1199 to the year 1216. Other mentions of the surname of Kirk in England include Richard Attekirck who was recorded in Yorkshire in 1301, one Adam Ofthenkirke, who was mentioned in Suffolk in the year 1308, and one Robert de Kirke who was also mentioned in Yorkshire in the year 1379. Those who bear the surname of Kirk in the country of England can be found throughout the northern counties. The counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire have the highest concentration of people who carry this surname of Kirk.
United States of America:
The European Migration was a movement of people from the European countries who left their homeland in search of a better life. Many of these people went to the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as The New World or The Colonies. The first people to bear the surname of Kirk in the U.S. were Judith and Christopher Kirk, who settled in Virginia in 1635. Those who carried this name to the United States live in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky and California.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Kirk:
United States 60, 426, England 17,074, Australia 5,880, Canada 5,054, South Africa 2,721, Denmark 2,670, New Zealand 1,903, Germany 1,748, Northern Ireland 1,192
Richard R. Van Kirk, who was the Mayor of Oil City, Pennsylvania in the year 1956, and was the Candidate for the Pennsylvania State Senate in the 48th District, from in the year 1958, and who was a Democratic politician from America
Lauren Van Kirk, who was the Delegate to the National Convention from New York in the year 2004, and who was a Democratic politician from America
Leroy H. Van Kirk, who was the Postmaster at Ithaca New York from 1906 to 1914, and who was a Republican politician from America
H. C. Van Kirk who was the Chair of the Montour County Democratic Party in the year 1937, and who was a Democratic politician from America
Gertrude Van Kirk, who was an Alternate Delegate to the Democratic National Convention from New York in the year 1980, and who was a Democratic politician from America
Eron C. Van Kirk, who was the Postmaster of Ithaca New York from the year 1882 to the year 1885, and who was a Republican politician from America
Kirk Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Kirk blazon are the thistle, crosier and sword. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” . Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron , perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. 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 . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
The thistle as a symbol is inevitably associated with Scotland, although more often as a badge rather than appearing as an item upon a shield. Despite its prickly reputation the images of this flowering plant are very striking and they are usually shown with leaves to either side in quite an accurate representation.
The middle ages was a deeply religious time, and since the bulk of heraldry was developed in countries that were almost entirely Christian it is no surprise that religious and church symbology was widely adopted for use in coats of arms. The crosier Is a typical such usage, being a staff carried by a Bishop in ceremony. As well the adoption of religious imagery for the nobility, the Church itself has made extensive use of arms, such Ecclesiastical Heraldry is a major subject in its own right, somewhat less “martial” than that of the nobility and with its own terms and special meanings.
Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms . Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.