Origins of Kirkwood:
It is an Olde Scottish locational surname. It starts from one of the places called "Kirkwood" in the earlier counties of Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire, and Lanarkshire. All of them share the similar meaning and derivation which is from the Gaelic-Old English word "Kirk," meaning "Church," itself acquired from the Olde Norse "Kirkja," and the Middle English suffix "wode," and the Olde English pre 7th "wudu." The place name thus converts as "the church in the wood" or possibly the wood owned by the parish. The area which now forms much of the new division of Strathclyde was the first part of Scotland to be under English influence, and seemingly English-sounding place names, and hence surnames, have a degree of popularity. Early examples of the Kirkwood surname records include Alexander Kirkwod, according to the old rolls 'a follower of the Earl of Cassilis', who cleared of a murder charge in 1526. Quite what he had been upto is not clear, but it seems that his master's power helped his cause.
More common variations are: Kirkewood, Kirykwood, Kierkwood, Kirrkwood, Kirkwoood, Kirkwoodw, Kirkwod, Kirkwod, Kirkood, Krkwood.
The surname Kirkwood first appeared in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Air), previously a division in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from very old times, some say well before the Norman Invasion and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 AD.
The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of John Kirkwood, dated about 1476, in the "registers of the Royal Burgh of Stirling." It was during the time of King James III, dated 1460 - 1488. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.
Many of the people with surname Kirkwood had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Kirkwood landed in the United States in four different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th. Some of the people with the name Kirkwood who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included James Kirkwood who settled in New Jersey in 1685 with Elizabeth.
People with the surname Kirkwood who landed in the United States in the 18th century included William Kirkwood settled in Boston in 1716. Captain James Kirkwood settled in Boston in 1758.
People with the surname Kirkwood who landed in the United States in the 19th century included Robert and Thomas Kirkwood arrived in Philadelphia in 1846.
The following century saw more Kirkwood surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Kirkwood who arrived in the United States in the 20th century included Benj Kirkwood, aged 21, who settled in America from Glasgow, in 1900. Abraham Kirkwood, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States from Glasgow. Scotland, in 1907. Christina Kirkwood, aged 31, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907. Christine Kirkwood, aged 26, who emigrated to America from Greenock, Scotland, in 1907. Archibald Kirkwood, aged 31, who settled in America from Banknoch, Scotland, in 1908.
Some of the individuals with the surname Kirkwood who landed in Australia in the 19th century included William Kirkwood, aged 23, a laborer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Anglia." David Kirkwood, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo."
Some of the population with the surname Kirkwood who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included George Kirkwood arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855. Kirkwood arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1861. Marion Kirkwood arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Annie Wilson" in 1863. Hugh R. Kirkwood arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Armstrong" in 1865. Robert Kirkwood arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Armstrong" in 1865.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Kirkwood:
United States 9,575; England 3,436; Australia 2,418; Canada 1,633; Scotland 1,569; South Africa 1,370; New Zealand 540; Northern Ireland 334; Germany 235; Wales 226
Antoinette Kirkwood (born 1930), is an English musician and composer.
Archy Kirkwood, Baron Kirkwood of Kirkhope (born 1946), is a British political leader.