Select Kendall Surname Genealogy

The Kendall surname from the Lake District comes from the Kendal place-name in Westmoreland.  Kendal was called Kircabikendala or Kirkby Kendal at the time of the Domesday Book and meant "village with a church in the valley of the river Ken."  The surname Kendall would denote someone who came from Kendal.

An alternative derivation, possibly for Kendalls in Cornwall, is an anglicized form of the Welsh name Cynddelw (meaning "exalted effigy"), born by a famous 12th century Welsh poet. 

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EnglandThe place-name Kendal in Westmorland gave rise to Hugh de Kendall, a judge recorded there in 1265.  Richard de Kendal, a local schoolmaster and well-known grammarian, lived in the 15th century. Probably related to him was John Kendal, a supporter of Richard III and, like him, killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

The Kendal or Kendall surname is still found in the area, mainly in the Appleby vicinity.  There are more Kendalls further south in Barrow-in-Furness and around Lancaster.  William Kendall, a Victorian civil engineer and local nature enthusiast, came from Barrow.  Kendalls in Yorkshire may have originated from the Kendale place-name near Driffield.  There were Kendalls in Ripon in the 1500’s and later in Durham.

Cornwall.  Kendalls here date from the mid-14th century.  John Kendall was mayor of Lostwithiel in 1377.  There was a long-standing Kendall estate at Pelyn near Lostwithiel which lasted for over 400 years. 
Edward Kendall was a naval officer who worked with John Franklin in Canadian Arctic exploration during the 1820’s. 

Elsewhere.  There were the Kendalls at Smithsby in Derbyshire, starting with Bartholomew Kendall in the early 15th century, who later took possession of the Austrey manor in Warwickshire.  Their family history was covered in H.J.B. Kendall’s 1909 book The Kendalls of Austrey, Twycross and Smithsby.

“The Kendall manor house at Smithsby still remains, although now a hotel.  The adjacent church contains a memorial to Henry Kendall, his wife and 16 children, dated 1627.”

By the 19th century the largest numbers of Kendalls were in Lancashire and

America.  Francis and Thomas Kendall came to Woburn and Reading, Massachusetts around the year 1640.  The male descent is all from Francis as Thomas Kendall and his wife Rebecca had ten daughters and no sons.  Later Kendalls moved to Dunstable in the 1720's and became prominent landowners there.  They also owned the tavern where elections and town meetings were held and were very active in mobilizing anti-British sentiment prior to the Revolutionary War. 

From Francis’s line came Deacon Jacob Kendall, a soldier during the Revolutionary War, who later settled in Mount Vernon, New Hampshire.  His son George Kendall made his name in Louisiana and
Texas.  Amos Kendall migrated west to Kentucky and rose to prominence as a journalist there with the Argus of Western America.  Others moved north to Vermont and Canada.

CanadaIsaac Kendall migrated north from Vermont to Buckingham, Quebec in the early 1800's.  Oren Kendall was born in Beebe Plain in 1817.

"Oren was reported to have been a wonderfully active man.  He held the pole-vaulting championship of his country when he was 60 years of age.  He had married his second wife at the age of 54."

A later Isaac Kendall, born a generation later, was considered to be one of the greatest sawmill designers and builders in America.

Australia and New Zealand.  Thomas Kendall, a Lincolnshire schoolmaster, volunteered for missionary work and went out to Sydney in 1809.  He departed for New Zealand five years later, making friends with the Maoris and learning their language well enough to compile a primer in pidgin Maori.  Later he owned a small vessel in the timber trade but perished when the vessel was wrecked off Sydney in 1832.  His son Basil and grandson Henry grew up in Australia.  Henry Kendall has been called Australia’s first poet.

Select Kendall Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Kendall Names

Richard de Kendal
were a Westmorland schoolmaster and renowned grammarian of the 15th century.
Thomas Kendall was an early English missionary to New Zealand.   His grandson Henry Kendall was an Australian bush poet.
George Kendall covered the 1836 war between the US and Mexico and is believed to be the first newspaper war correspondent.
Kay Kendall was an English film actress, married to the actor Rex Harrison, who died in 1959 of leukaemia at the young age of 32.
Felicity Kendal is an English theater and TV actress.  Her father adopted the Kendal surname from the town of his birth.

Select Kendalls Today
  • 13,000 in the UK (most numerous in Yorkshire)
  • 10,000 in America (most numerous in California) 
  • 12,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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