KNIGHT - Name Meaning and Origin

The surname Knight was one often taken by servants in a knight's household.
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The common surname Knight is a status name from the Middle English knyghte, meaning "knight." While it may refer to someone who was actually a knight, it was a name often taken by servants in a royal or knightly household, or even to one who won a title in a contest of skill.

The Knight surname may have originally derived from the Old English criht, meaning "boy" or "serving lad," as an occupational name for a domestic servant.

Surname Origin: English


Where in the World Do People with the KNIGHT Surname Live?

According to surname distribution data from Forebears, the Knight surname is most commonly found in the United States where it ranks 204th, and is most prevalent in the Falkland Islands, where it ranks 20th. Fontaine is also a common last name in England, Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand and the Isle of Man. WorldNames PublicProfiler puts the Knight surname as most popular in southern England.

Famous People with the KNIGHT Last Name

  • Newton Knight - American farmer, soldier and southern Unionist
  • Bobby Knight - retired American basketball coach
  • Daniel Ridgway Knight - American artist

Genealogy Resources for the Surname KNIGHT

The Knight DNA Project
This DNA project welcomes all men with the Knight surname or a variant who are interested in combining Y-DNA testing with genealogy research in an effort to identify common Knight ancestors.

Knight Family History
Genealogy of Joseph Knight Sr. and his wife, Polly Peck, of New Hampshire and New York, including both ancestors and descendants.

The History of the Knight Family
Research on the family of Charles Knight of Virginia, Georgia and Louisiana.

Knight Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Knight family crest or coat of arms for the Knight surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. 

KNIGHT Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Knight surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Knight genealogy query.

FamilySearch - KNIGHT Genealogy
Explore over 3.9 million historical records which mention individuals with the Knight surname and variants, as well as online Knight family trees.

GeneaNet - Knight Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Knight surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries. - KNIGHT Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Knight and its variations.

The Knight Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Knight from the website of Genealogy Today.


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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