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Knight Family History

Knight Name Meaning

English: status name from Middle English knyghte ‘knight’, Old English cniht ‘boy’, ‘youth’, ‘serving lad’. This word was used as a personal name before the Norman Conquest, and the surname may in part reflect a survival of this. It is also possible that in a few cases it represents a survival of the Old English sense into Middle English, as an occupational name for a domestic servant. In most cases, however, it clearly comes from the more exalted sense that the word achieved in the Middle Ages. In the feudal system introduced by the Normans the word was applied at first to a tenant bound to serve his lord as a mounted soldier. Hence it came to denote a man of some substance, since maintaining horses and armor was an expensive business. As feudal obligations became increasingly converted to monetary payments, the term lost its precise significance and came to denote an honorable estate conferred by the king on men of noble birth who had served him well. Knights in this last sense normally belonged to ancient noble families with distinguished family names of their own, so that the surname is more likely to have been applied to a servant in a knightly house or to someone who had played the part of a knight in a pageant or won the title in some contest of skill. Irish: part translation of Gaelic Mac an Ridire ‘son of the rider or knight’. See also McKnight.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Knights, Bright, Light, Wright, Knecht, Mcknight, Knighton, Slight

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Where is the Knight family from?

You can see how Knight families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Knight family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Knight families were found in the UK in 1891. In 1840 there were 240 Knight families living in Maine. This was about 13% of all the recorded Knight's in the USA. Maine had the highest population of Knight families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Knight surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Knight ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Maid were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Knight. Some less common occupations for Americans named Knight were Truck Driver and Teacher. .

View Census Data for Knight | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1940

  • Laborer
    17%
  • Farmer
    16%
  • Salesman
    5%
  • Truck Driver
    3%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Maid
    6%
  • Housewife
    6%
  • Housekeeper
    6%
  • Teacher
    6%
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What Knight family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1 million census records available for the last name Knight. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Knight census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 124,000 immigration records available for the last name Knight. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 163,000 military records available for the last name Knight. For the veterans among your Knight ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Knight lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Knight life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Knight in 1940 was 45, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Knight

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