The Kitchenman Family Tree

The Kitchenman name has a long history, with earliest references (Kychynman) going back to 1379 in Yorkshire. There have been a number of variations to the name (Kitchingman, Kitchingham) as well as equivalents (Kitchen, Kitchin, Kitching, Kitchener, Kitchiner). They are all references to their role in the kitchens of nobles and religious orders.

As I was growing up I found my surname was usually misspelt – often either Kitchingman or Kitchingham. When I started researching my family history the reason soon became clear. Many times I have found it is difficult to be certain what the correct spelling of a person’s name is. When the early records were collected illiteracy was very common so the record collector would have to guess the spelling of a person’s name for them, perhaps from a strong and unfamiliar local accent. As a result there is a lot of variation to 1900 or later (when literacy improved) and so it was almost a matter of chance how the surname became spelt. On the 1911 UK census for instance when the forms were signed by the head of the household this can be ‘X’ (his mark). While Kitchingman and Kitchingham are now not unheard of, Kitchenman has proved to be a rare variation. In the past there were likely to be no more than 50 - 100 Kitchenmans recorded at any one time.

The only Kitchenmans I know of today appear to be descended from two lines. So far I have traced my own line back to a John Kitchenman in Halifax (around 1750) which is where my grandfather Harry Kitchenman was born. By a happy coincidence my father Graham (Oswald Raymond Graham) Kitchenman has his name reflected in the address of this domain. All but one of Harry's children emigrated to either Australia or New Zealand (I am in Auckland, New Zealand).

The other surviving Kitchenman line I have been able to find now is in the USA. This line appears to have been established in Philadelphia around 1840 when Richard Kitchenman emigrated there from Barnsley, Yorkshire but there may be at least one other family involved as there are records for a James and Elizabeth Kitchenman also at the same time. James Kitchenman was about the same age as Richard and may have been his brother.

They seem to have prospered in the New World and there are now more Kitchenmans there than elsewhere. However, the name is still rare there too, with fewer than 200 entries in the census.

There is also a branch of this line still in England today. When Richard went to Philadelphia at least nine of his children followed him. One of these was John Kitchenman who was already married to Susannah Shaw but he went without her. They had a daughter, Phoebe Ann, and Susannah gave birth to a son, George, seemingly after he left. George then went on to marry and raise a family of his own but now using the name 'Kitchen' instead.

There are a lot of other Kitchenmans, Kitchemans and Kitchingmans listed in the index who I have researched and might be related to one of these lines.

I have also shown as much as I have been able to find from the my mother's side (Green) of our family. Not many records remain in Ireland and there is little before 1900 so there is less information available.

My thanks to all those who have contributed so freely and generously to make this site possible.

Please feel free to send me an email to correct any errors or omissions (or just say hi!).

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Created 9 April 2014 with RootsMagic Genealogy Software