What is the origin of the last name Kemp?

The last name Kemp originates from the Old English word "cempa," meaning a warrior or champion. This surname likely derived from an occupational name for someone involved in military service or a fighter. Over time, it is believed that the name Kemp became a hereditary surname passed down through generations, serving as a distinctive identifier for families with warrior or soldier ancestry.

Countries of origin for the last name Kemp

Last names provide a unique insight into the history and cultural heritage of individuals and communities. The surname Kemp, originating from both English and Scottish roots, serves as an interesting subject for exploration. Known for its connection to occupations and physical traits, the name Kemp has an intriguing etymology that unfolds a fascinating narrative.

The surname Kemp is of Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse origin, with variations including Kempe, Camp, and Champion. In Old English, the term “kempa” referred to a champion or a warrior, highlighting the name’s association with martial attributes. The Norse word “kempa” also carries a similar meaning of fighting or striving. Such linguistic roots suggest that the Kemp family name likely emerged as a description or identifier for individuals with exceptional strength, skill, or bravery.

Historically, the occupation associated with the Kemp surname was that of a champion or fighter. In medieval times, these individuals often served as knights or bodyguards for nobles and were known for their fierce protection. The surname Kemp, therefore, denoted a profession and likely indicated a person of notable valor and loyalty.

Geographically, the Kemp surname finds its origin in England and Scotland. In England, the name is primarily associated with the southeastern counties, including Kent and Suffolk, indicating a concentration of individuals with this surname in these regions. In Scotland, Kemp is more prevalent in the Lowlands, particularly in the area surrounding Edinburgh. These regional distributions suggest that the name may have developed independently in different areas, or that individuals with the surname Kemp migrated and settled in distinct regions.

Another notable aspect of the Kemp surname is its use as a patronymic or matronymic name. This indicates that the surname could be passed down through generations as a family name, further emphasizing its significance in ancestral lineage. As generations evolved, variations of the name emerged, leading to the different forms we see today.

The Kemp surname also holds historical significance through notable individuals who bear the name. In English history, there were notable figures named William Kemp, who was a famous Elizabethan actor and dancer, and Jack Kemp, an American football quarterback and politician. These individuals add depth to the narrative of the Kemp surname and exemplify the diverse achievements associated with the name throughout history.

While the facts surrounding the Kemp surname provide valuable insights, they also leave room for questions and further exploration. The intricate web of historical events, migrations, and cultural influences that contributed to the formation and evolution of the Kemp name invites deeper inquiry. By delving into specific family histories and conducting extensive genealogical research, a more comprehensive understanding of the Kemp surname can be attained, connecting individuals to their rich ancestral roots.

Interesting facts about the last name Kemp

  • The surname Kemp is of English origin.
  • It derives from the Middle English word “kempe,” which means a champion or warrior.
  • Historically, the name Kemp was often associated with individuals who had a strong and robust physique, as it was a common nickname for a man of great strength or an adept fighter.
  • The surname has variations in spelling, including Kempe and Kamp.
  • Kemp is a relatively common surname in England, particularly in the southern counties.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Kemp include British actor Martin Kemp, known for his roles in the band Spandau Ballet and the TV series “EastEnders,” and American football player Shawn Kemp, who played in the National Football League as a defensive tackle.
  • The Kemp family name is also associated with various coat of arms designs, which often feature symbols of strength and valor.
  • In addition to England, the surname can be found in other English-speaking countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, due to immigration and globalization.
  • Genealogy research shows that the Kemp surname has ancient roots, with recorded instances dating back to the 12th century.
  • There are several places around the world named after people with the surname Kemp, such as Kemp Town in Brighton, England, named after Thomas Read Kemp, a prominent local developer.

Name Rank


There are around 46146 people with the last name Kemp in the US

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