The Kirkpatrick/Kilpatrick Clan

As a result of my interest in Italian citizenship I made contact with a high school classmate with expertise in the scientific aspects of genealogy in 2008. She arranged for me to have a Y-DNA test to the 37th allele. The Y test traces your paternal heritage. This is more appropriate for heritage tracing where the mother drops her family name for that of the father. The results of my test are in The test showed the presence of relatives from the general area of Central Europe west to Ireland. This was to be expected given my father’s Scottish Celtic heritage.

While in Ireland in the mid 1990’s I went to a shop and bought a print out dealing with the Kirkpatrick clan, my first notification that the family originated in Scotland, not Ireland as we had been told. By 1998 I’d learned of a town called Kirkpatrick-Fleming in Scotland near the border with England. We drove past it on the way to Glasgow. While in Glasgow for a two month period I noticed the many instances of the Kirkpatrick-Kilpatrick name such as Kilpatrick Hills (Kilpatrick is a variation). When we were in Flackwell Heath, England in 2014, one of the volunteers helped me research the Kirkpatricks using their account, at which point I learned about Roger de Kirkpatrick and the Closeburn Castle, owned by the Kirkpatricks from around 1200 to circa 1750.

Several years later I decided to see if I could trace the lineage back to Sir Roger de Kirkpatrick, our most famous ancestor. I used an paid account. I started with the people whose names I knew, the oldest being my great grandfather, whose name and other details I’d learned thanks to the family tree made by my cousin Lois. I then found his father and then the next and so forth, back to around 1200 and Sir Roger. I added this information to my account Kirkpatrick-Palermo-Peloso.

Among my findings was a James Kirkpatrick who was born in 1719 in Dumfries, Dumfries-shire (same area as Kirkpatrick-Fleming), Scotland and who died in South Carolina. The record I found shows that James moved to Ireland, had at least one child there, then moved to America. He had at least one child born in America, in Pennsylvania. James’ father, Alexander Kirkpatrick, left Scotland and settled in Belfast, Ireland in 1725, presumably bringing James with him. He also immigrated to America but I do not think any of his children were born there.  This is the link between our Scottish and Irish heritage. You can say we came from Ireland and to be correct but at the same time it is clear the family originated in Scotland circa 1200. This modifies the family story that we are Irish in origin. We are, in a sense, but much more Scottish, by a long shot.

Recently I discovered a Facebook group called Kirkpatrick DNA Member Roger Caulley looked at my Y DNA results and determined the following: “This indicates you are related to the Closeburn group but not very recently. Your common ancestor with the 2 known descendants of Sir Roger (de Kirkpatrick) lived about 800 years ago — ca 1200 AD. That would have been closer to Sir Ivone de Kyrkpatrick, founder of the clan. ” Ivone was born in 1196 per

No photo description available.
I do not understand this chart very well so can not explain it but perhaps a reader can
Above: Migration of Haplo Group R to which we likely belong

For additional background he referred me to This is a rambling and sometimes confusing account of the history of the family.

There you find a reference to Closeburn: “In 1232, Ivone de Kirkpatrick was granted a charter of ‘Kelosburn’ by Alexander II, and here they remained until 1783, when an imprudent heir was obliged to dispose of his inheritance. ” Kelosburn is now spelled Closeburn and is near Kirkpatrick-Fleming.

In Closeburn the Kirkpatricks built a castle called, appropriately enough, Closeburn Castle. It is still in existence and is now a B and B. It is a Category B listed tower house that was until 1783 the family seat. It was sold apparently to settle debts.

closeburn castle keep

Per Wikipedia, the family was granted the lands called Closeburn in 1232 by Alexander II, consistent with the aforementioned rambling account. The tower house dates from circa 1200.

In 1306 Sir  Roger de Kirkpatrick  (circa 1280-1357) reportedly finished off John “the Red” Comyn, a rival to the throne, whom Robert the Bruce  (Brus) had seriously injured. Bruce fled from the scene of the crime saying he was not sure his rival was dead. Sir Roger reportedly said, “I mak sikker” (I’ll make sure). The drawing below memorialized the scene. Less than seven weeks after the killing in Dumfries, Bruce was crowned King of Scotland. He granted de Kirkpatrick an armorial, which you see below. “I mak sikker” became the family motto.

The killing of John Comyn in the Greyfriars church in Dumfries, as seen by Felix Philippoteaux, a 19th-century illustrator.

Sir Roger was a 3rd cousin of Robert the Bruce. He was a 1st cousin of Sir William Wallace, a well known historical figure. Sir Roger recaptured Caerlaverock and Dalswinton castles from the English in 1355. He was murdered by Sir James Lindsay at Caerlaverock in 1357.

In 1685 the Kirkpatricks’ were awarded a baronercy Here is the list:

  • Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, 1st Baronet (died c. 1695)
  • Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, 2nd Baronet (died c. 1730)
  • Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, 3rd Baronet (1704–1771)
  • Sir James Kirkpatrick, 4th Baronet (died 1804)
  • Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, 5th Baronet (1777–1844)
  • Sir Charles Sharpe Kirkpatrick, 6th Baronet (1811–1867)
  • Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, 7th Baronet (1839–1880)
  • Sir James Kirkpatrick, 8th Baronet (1841–1899)
  • Sir Charles Sharpe Kirkpatrick, 9th Baronet (1874–1937)
  • Sir James Alexander Kirkpatrick, 10th Baronet (1918–1954)
  • Sir Ivone Elliott Kirkpatrick, 11th Baronet (born 1942)

In the 17th century the family moved from Closeburn Castle to a newly built manor house next door. The manor house burned down in 1748. They repaired the castle and moved back in. The castle was sold in 1783 to a local minister, James Stewart-Menteith. Since then it has since changed hands.

Coat of Arms of the Kirkpatrick Baronets, of Closeburn

2 thoughts on “The Kirkpatrick/Kilpatrick Clan”

  1. Whew! Exhausting work. Hurray to you for persisting through to get this data! — Just goes to show – WE are all cousins, if you go back far enough. Thanks, cuz. [I am two Davis (plural), a Phillips and an Eitel, as far back as I have been able to go.]

    • If you can get a paid or other such service you can probably go quite far back. Davis is pretty common but following from grandfather to grandfather you can sort it out. following the mother’s side might be harder because of the name changes. In my case it is actually easier on the maternal size because the Italians keep good records generally and go way back. I stopped at 1840 or so. Actually they just sent me great grandfather’s birth cert unasked. Figured I might want it. And when I requested Matteo’s, stating I was trying to find the name of his parents, they emailed me saying there were no parents listed, also sending me the document which gave us his birth date for the first time.


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