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Home: Surnames: Kellow Family Genealogy Forum

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Recent Thoughts and Finds Concerning the Origins of the US Kellows
Posted by: terry davis (ID *****0928) Date: July 16, 2003 at 08:02:36
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Hi All,

I haven't added much here in a while, but recently I been hunting around in the UK files and websites for more information concerning the origins of the American Kellow family. I've found a few new items and wanted to share them. Maybe someone here can add some input or take these clues further. Also, maybe the UK Kellows can shed some light on these names and places and correct me if I say anything silly.

Just to review a things...

Initially my search for my Kellow roots led me to the stories written by the Killough family researchers, who claimed most of the American Kellows as their own and attributed the different spelling mainly to a lack of education. The main Killough resource actually mentions the Williamson County, Tennessee Kellows by name. The Killough research also traces back the "Killough" family to it's earliest immigrants to America in the early 1700's in Massachusetts, then Pennsylvania. The Killoughs also believe their origins to be from Ireland (maybe Scot-Irish) and even mention a John Killough and Mary Hyde as ancestors. Well, I had accepted that as my history for a long time until I found a continuous, documentable line from me back to Maryland in the late 1600's. Other messages here on the Forum detail my line (any other folks who can link up with me? Please write! I'm happy to share documents!) from Gibson, Crockett, and Dyer County in West Tennessee (1850's to present) back to Williamson County in Middle TN (1810's to 1850's), back to Guilford and Orange County, North Carolina (1790's to 1810's), then back to Charles County, Maryland (1690's to 1790's). The 1690's documents were especially important and actually mention a "John Kellow and Mary Hide." They proved that our "Kellow" family was here and settled in MD and was using the "Kellow" spelling prior to the "Killoughs" first arrival in America!

I have found only one earlier "vague" reference to Kellows in America, that being a record in a book called "Scots Banished to America." That record mentions a John and Margaret Kello being sent to America in the 1600's as part of a religious "cleansing" in Scotland. Could this be our origin?

This reference led me to start searching Scottish and English records more thoroughly. As mentioned in some other postings on this Forum, there are numerous Kello, Kellow, and Kellowe references all the way back to the 1400's in the northern part of England just south of the Scottish border, near Newcastle and Durham (in County Northumberland and County Durham). I have also recently found an existing town called "Kelloe" just south of Newcastle in County Durham. Most of these references are English, and not Scottish.

While researching the Scottish records, I found quite a few "Kello" references especially in (County) Midlothian records, which deal mainly with the City of Edinburgh. For example a search of Wills at yielded about 50 hits on pre-1700 wills for the "Kello" name, while only one or two for "Kelloe" and none for "Kellow".

Searches in the northern parts of Scotland yielded virtually nothing. Narrowing the searches down to the 1400-1600's just before our Kello/Kellow family appears in America, it appeared that the Scottish Kello's (concentrated in southern Scotland near Edinburgh) and the English Kellow's (concentrated in northern England near Newcastle) actually weren't far apart at all.

Taking that information, I did extensive searches in areas between Edinburgh and Newcastle known as the "Scottish Borders" and as County Dumfries. To my surprise, there is quite a bit of old history in the area and the Scots here are often referred to as "Border Scots." Since they lived between the often feuding Scotland and England, they were known to be a transitional group...sometimes being paid off by the English (and hated by the Scots) and later leading attacks against the English (and also suffering from the brunt of the English attacks). Many battles were fought in this border area. The border clans and families actually acted as a "filter" or speed bump/roadblock that likely often saved Edinburgh from the English attacks. The families often married into English families too and many of the clans settled in northern England and southern Scotland as there was no defined border to them, other than the ancient Hadrian's Wall, which is a bit further south than the current Scot-English border and actually runs to Newcastle. One of the Scot clans who resided in this area was the Clan Hume (spelled "Home" often but always pronounced "Hume"). Here's a website of theirs:

To my surprise, right there as part of the Clan Hume, are listed the "septs" (or smaller sub-clans or family surnames) associated with the Hume name....including Kello, Kelloe, Kellow, and Killo...all of which are used as spellings in the research I have found in America!

I still cannot say that we are definitely from this clan, but the chances are very good that our history is Home (Hume) history. I have also found that the Kello's "official tartan" is that of the Clan Home. I plan to file my research records with the Clan Home in hope that someone will be able to determine through their records if our John and Mary Kello of 1690's Maryland are found in Scottish records of the Clan.

Other smaller possibilities still exist that we are related to the Scot-Irish Killoughs as many Scots were banished to Ireland (to sites called the "Plantations") in the 1600's as part of the religious cleansing that brought others to America (see stories about a Scottish group called the "Covenanters" - a Margaret Kello is mentioned in an account of one of their captures and banishment). These Scots in Ireland may be related to the Killoughs who came to America after 1710. The possiblity also exists that we are of the northern English Kellows of the 1500-1600's, but since they were far less persecuted for religious issues, they had far less reason to pull up stakes and come to America during the time period of our arrival. Even if we are of either of these two origins, going back further to the 1300-1400's probably brings us all back together on the Scottish border in Clan Home/Hume.

I'll post more as I stumble across things and after I can speak with the Hume Clan Society. Thanks for the opportunity to let me post!


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