Select Kidd Surname Genealogy

Kidd is both an English and Scottish surname.  Kidd in England derived from the Old English kid, a young goat, and was probably a nickname for a lively, frisky person.  In Scotland, the name was regional to Angus on the east coast and was a pet form of Christopher.  Kyd was an early spelling in both England and Scotland.

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Select Kidd Ancestry

Scotland.  Kidd is an old Angus surname found in both Dundee and Arbroath in Forfarshire.  The first recorded was Robert Kidd of Dundee in 1357.  Sande Kid and Thoma Kyd appeared at an inquest at Forfar in 1450.  The Burgess Roll of Dundee noted twenty Kyds and Kidds in Dundee during the 1500's.  One rumor is that these Kidds had originated from Flemish immigrants who had settled in the Dundee area. 

John Kyd or Kidd was born in the small village of Kettins in Angus sometime in the 1620’s.  A seaman, he married Bessie Butchard in 1646, but was lost at sea in 1659.   Their young son William was thirteen years old at the time. He grew up to be the famous pirate Captain Kidd.  

“Some historians have deemed his piratical reputation unjust, as there was evidence that Kidd acted only as a privateer.  Kidd's fame sprang largely from the sensational circumstances of his questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial in 1700.”  

At this trial, Captain Kidd was found guilty on charges of murder and five counts of piracy and was hanged in London.  Kidd's male line died out when his only son John was killed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

A Kyd family held the barony of Craigie near Dundee during the 17th and 18th centuries.  Captain James Kyd of the Royal Navy sold the family estate in the late 1700's.  One Kidd family line goes back to David Kidd who married Lilias Fleming in Dundee in 1753; another to John Kyd who married Joan Reid in Arbroath in 1768.   The Kidd name had also extended to Fife by this time.  One line at Kilconquhar in Fife has been traced back to David Kid, born around the year 1640.

William Kydd, a shoemaker, married Mary Shand in Arbroath in 1864 and their son William Shand Kydd was born in the same year. 
In 1891 he founded the Shand Kydd wallpaper company in London which was to make the family fortune.  When he died in 1936, he left over £200,000, worth about £11 million at today's prices.  His wallpaper business was taken up by his son Norman, said to have been the originator of flock wallpaper, and then by his grandson Peter.

England.  Kidds in England seem to have their origins in the Craven district of NW Yorkshire.  The Craven 1377 tax inspectors found five Kyd families there - in Clapham, Giggleswick, Gisburn, Ingleton and Settle.   The main numbers in the following centuries were in Giggleswick and Settle, including:
  • Richard Kidd, born in Giggleswick in 1530, who came from a large family of sheep farmers, weavers, and wool traders.
  • John Kidd who was one of the first Quakers in Settle in 1652.  His grandson Benjamin was a well-known Quaker minister in the next century.
  • and Thomas Kidd, born in 1770 and educated at Giggleswick School, who became a distinguished classical scholar.
Over time the Kidd name spread north into Durham and west into Lancashire.

Sometime in the 1630’s Walter Kid, a linen merchant from Scotland, came to Dunluce in county Antrim.  His descendants moved to Millmount Keady in Armagh in the 1740’s. 

Meanwhile Richard Kidd from Settle in Yorkshire was first recorded in Dublin in 1637.  These Kidds later spread southward to the Wicklow/Wexford border.  The principal concentration was at Askamore in county Wexford where they were substantial landowners.

“Thomas Kidd, born in 1750 and a fifth generation Kidd there, lived to be a hundred.  He was, according to family lore, married three times – fathering eight children by his second wife and three by his third wife, the last being born when Thomas was eighty one.” 

Another line via Peter Kidd, a clothier in Dublin, led to a Quaker family in Limerick and to Dr. Joseph Kidd, born there in 1824.  He moved to London in the 1850’s where he established a homeopathic practice.  He was physician to both W.E. Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli

America.  The first Kidd in America was probably Roger Kidd, a servant to Robert Scotchmore, who came to Virginia on the George in 1623.   But Roger died in 1632, leaving no descendants. 

Thomas Kidd, also an indentured servant, came to Virginia from Cambridgeshire in 1648.  He settled in Middlesex county and did leave descendants.  The main line of descent was via his younger son William and his six sons.  These sons later spread across Virginia and their descendants to North Carolina, Georgia and Missouri
Irish.  John Kidd appears to have come to America from Ireland in the 1740’s, eventually settling at South Fishing Creek in York county, South Carolina.  He fought during the Revolutionary War at the Battle of King's Mountain and, according to his grandson, was crippled for life.  His son John and wife Sarah migrated first to Kentucky, returned to South Carolina, and then in 1831 departed for new lands in Antioch, Georgia where they built a church and school in the community. 

Other Irish arrivals were:
  • Andrew Kidd who came with his wife Martha from county Tyrone, eventually settling in Cecil county, Maryland in 1754.  His descendants moved first to Virginia and then to Illinois and Indiana.  
  • and Samuel Kidd who came to America from county Armagh in 1808, first stopping in Virginia and then moving with his wife Pamela to Ohio in 1813.  Their son George fought with the US army in Texas, but died there of yellow fever in 1844.
Canada.  Alexander Kidd and his wife Christiana came to Ontario from Scotland in 1815, first staying in Perth county and then moving to Dummer township, Peterborough county in 1831.  Their descendants have  held regular reunions. 

Also arriving in Canada around this time was Andrew Kidd from Kilkenny in Ireland
(his father Robert having been killed during the 1798 Irish uprising) .  He settled with his family an an area known as the Derry in the Ottawa valley.  Andrew’s descendants are still farming there today.  Dr. George Kidd covered these Kidds in his 1943 book The Story of the Derry.

William Kidd from Ireland was a pioneer settler at Burritt’s Rapids in Oxford county, Ontario.  His son Edward and grandson Thomas were active in local politics there. 

This William was also the forebear of a Kidd family that would later become famous in England.  The line here extended to William Ennis Kidd, a padre in World War One who was awarded the Military Cross in 1916, and to Major Thomas Kidd who married Janet Aitken, Lord Beaverbook’s daughter, in 1942.  Their son Johnny was an English show-jumping champion and international jetsetter who made his home in Barbados.  Johnny’s daughters were the models Jemma and Jodie Kidd

AustraliaAlexander Kidd from Dundee came on the Denmark Hill to Sydney in 1828.  He was a shipwright by trade working along the Manning river. 

“The Mary Ann, built by Alexander in 1842, was a two masted 38 ton schooner.  The vessel traded between the Manning and Sydney until 1849 when she was wrecked off Harrington.“ 

James Kidd, a gardener from Fife, was convicted of forging a one pound note and transported to Australia.  He arrived in Sydney on the Burrell in 1830.  His family followed.  He ended up as the Superintendent of the Sydney Botanic Gardens

New Zealand.  Two Thomas Kidds from Ulster migrrated to New Zealand.  The first from Keady in county Armagh came to Auckland with his family in 1859 on the Shalimar.  Their story was recounted in G.E. Kidd's 2009 book The Kidd Family in New Zealand.  The second Thomas Kidd, from county Down, arrived in 1863.  He fought in the Maori wars but did not stay.  He settled instead ten years later in British Columbia in Canada.

Select Kidd Miscellany

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

Select Kidd Names

Captain William Kidd was a famous and notorious Scottish pirate who was hanged in 1701.  
William Shand Kydd
 from Arbroath started the Shand Kydd brand of wallpaper in London in 1891.  
Michael Kidd
, born Milton Greenwald, was an American film and stage choreographer who staged some of the leading Broadway and film musicals of the 1940’s and 1950’s

Select Kidds Today
  • 12,000 in the UK (most numerous in Yorkshire)
  • 12,000 in America (most numerous in Ohio) 
  • 8,000 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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