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Our 2,765 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

To answer the often asked question of why I got into the One Name Study.
My mother was a KITTO from South Australia. Her family origins were in Breage, in the South of Cornwall. They migrated around 1850 to Adelaide. I went seeking my KITTO family roots in South Australia.
Firstly, I sorted out South Australia to determine that there were three main KITTO families with several hundred in each branch. From this I went to Cornwall records to find the origins of these three families, two of them being in Breage, and one from Redruth. In trying to sort out the numerous KITTOs in this Cornish Town of Breage, I spent several hundred hours putting the massive family tree together, helped by the input from many others. It did not help when of the 200+ early males there were only five Christian names -  James, John, Thomas, Richard and William -€“ and they married only Elizabeth, Jane, Mary or Margaret. Other names were rare, but these often helped to pinpoint family groups. By the time I had €solved the Breage tree problem€ I had collected bits and pieces from many other parishes in Cornwall.
Having collected all KITTO registrations from the Government Record Office Indexes for 1837 to 1851, and since Breage had over 31% of all KITTOs in Cornwall, I figured I had sorted out the main line, so went looking for the sidelines. Little did I realise then that the Breage inhabitants were just a migratory branch from elsewhere. I still have yet to find the '€œseed'€, but it seems to be from somewhere in the Central North of Cornwall, perhaps around Bodmin or perhaps around Launceston. I expanded my research from here.

Variant names

From around Bodmin the KITTOs have apparently radiated out from there, and spelling variations include KYTTO, KITTOW and KITTOE with several other minor variants. Because it was the parish priest who recorded the names in early times, it was his choice of spelling that was used in the registers. Only with growing education and more formalised spelling after the 1850's did the spelling of surnames become more fixed. The 'Y' variations are more of the Olde English spelling and has been totally replaced by the 'I' in more recent times. The KITTOW variant held the 'W' in the parishes around Launceston and even today there are descendent families using this spelling. The KITTOE variation began in early Cornwall but was phased out. It then seems to have become mainly a London variation used solely by one well-to-do family descended from Captain Robinson KITTOE, R.N. of Leafland, Middlesex. He and his descendants have kept that spelling into modern times. The use of the simple KITTO is now the main form commonly used everywhere else.

Name origin

The most common held belief is that it is a patronymic name based on a son of a father called Christopher - son of Christopher - son of KITT - became KITTO.

Historical occurrences of the name

Several individuals have reached some high offices, though there are very few 'famous KITTOs'
John Fenwick KITTO (1837) was the Chaplain to the Queen & King Edward, and the Rector of St Martin in the Fields. His father Dr John KITTO (1804) Doctor of Divinty was a renown Biblical author and missionary.