Nicole Kidman Family History


Nicole Mary Kidman was born on June 20th, 1967 to Tony and Janelle Kidman in Honolulu.  At that time her father was a graduate student at the University of Hawaii and her Australian parents were temporarily there on student visas.  They returned to their hometown of Sydney when Nicole was three.

During her teenage years in Sydney she attended the Phillip Street Theatre and the Australian Theatre for Young People where she took up drama and mime.  She was encouraged to pursue acting full-time, which she did by dropping out of high school.

She made her acting debut in a film in 1983 aged sixteen.  Her breakthrough role came six years later when she starred alongside Sam Neill in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm.

It was during the decade 1993 to 2003 that she received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim as an actress.  It was at this time that she was married to the actor Tom Cruise and they appeared in starring roles in three films together.  Her role portraying Virginia Woolf in The Hours won her an Oscar as Best Actress in 2002.

Nicole Kidman is often regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation.  In 2020 The New York Times ranked her fifth on its list of the greatest actors (men and women) of the 21st century.

The Kidman Name

The Kidman name is English and is occupational, describing someone who looked after young goats.  The surname has not been that common in England – there being only around 600 in the 1881 census – and within England it has been localized to parts of East Anglia.

Cambridgeshire accounted for almost 30% of the total (of which the village of Linton southeast of Cambridge was about a third of that number) and the small county of Huntingdonshire another 10%.

Nicole’s own line has been traced back to a Kenneth Kidman who was born in Cambridgeshire around the year 1600.  These Kidmans were to be found in the next two hundred years or so in villages near Linton like Bourn and Orwell. William Kidman, who moved away to Nottingham after he married, was the father of the Charles Kidman who emigrated to Australia.

Charles Kidman Does Well in Australia

Kidmans today in Australia are almost as numerous as those in England.  Much of that is due to two Kidmans:

  • George Kidman from Suffolk who was an early settler in South Australia in the 1840’s.  His son Sidney, later knighted, acquired land for cattle and became known as “the Cattle King.”
  • and Charles Kidman from Nottingham who arrived in Sydney in 1845 as a sergeant in the 11th Regiment.

In time Charles left the army and set himself up in business.  Among his many business ventures, he owned a shop on Sydney’s Oxford Street and a grocery store on the corner of George and Market Street.

He had a way with marketing.  Every Christmas he would have an enormous block of cheese specially made. This mammoth block would weigh up to five tons and contained sovereigns and half-sovereign gold coins inside. The giant cheese would be paraded around the streets of Sydney drawn by a team of bullocks. When the cheese returned to the shop, there would be a rush of housewives buying small and large quantities in the hope of getting a coin or two in the slice.

Charles was an alderman at the Sydney suburb of Randwick from 1859 to 1863 and the father of a large family.  When his first wife Phoebe died young at the age of thirty-seven in 1860, he had found and married a second wife within one month.  This wife Sarah gave birth to Nicole’s great grandfather Arthur in 1865.

Charles died in 1885 and was buried in the family vault at St. Jude’s church in Randwick.

And Later

Charles’s son Arthur was one of the pioneers in exporting lamb and mutton from Sydney to Europe and America.  In 1921, three years after World War One ended, he had undertaken a world tour to assess the postwar export prospects.  He died two years later.  Later the family went through some hard times.

As a boy, Arthur had attended St. Aloysius’ College, a Catholic fee-paying boy’s school in Sydney, and his sons and grandsons all followed him there.

Grandson Tony, Nicole’s father, had an academic career, having studied biochemistry with a base in molecular biology.  He lived abroad in the late 1960’s in Washington DC and Hawaii, becoming active in the anti-war movement.

In 1972 Tony moved to the University of Technology in Sydney where he stayed for the next forty-three years.  There he conducted research into the biological and psychological aspects of cancer. He wrote over 150 journal articles and nine books on the subject.

Ethnic Origins?

What are Nicole’s ethnic origins?

Nicole has reportedly English, Scottish and Irish origins.  The English origins are clear from her father’s side.  It was said that her grandfather Arthur was of approximately three quarters English and one quarter Scottish ancestry.  However, this Scottish quarter is hard to find.

Arthur had married Margaret Callachor in Sydney in 1936 and she brought some Irish blood into the family.  Margaret was descended from Callachors who had arrived in Sydney from county Cavan in Ireland in 1842 as bounty immigrants.

Nicole Kidman’s Family Tree

  • Walter Kidman from Cambridgeshire (1780-1855) m. Charlotte Jordon (1792-1859) in Nottingham
  • – Charles Kidman (1822-1885), arrived in Australia in 1845
  • Charles Kidman from Nottinghamshire m. Phoebe Goode (1822-1860) in Sydney in 1849: rem. Sarah Matthews (1831-1886) in Surry Hills, NSW in 1860
  • – William Kidman (1850-1895) with Phoebe
  • – James Kidman (1851-1897) with Phoebe
  • – Phoebe Kidman (1858-1936) with Phoebe
  • – Charles Kidman (1863-1898) with Sarah
  • – Arthur Kidman (1865-1923) with Sarah
  • – Florence Kidman (1876-1929) with Sarah
  • Arthur Kidman from Sydney m. Victoria See (1870-1955) in Maclean, NSW in 1892
  • – Eric Kidman (1898-1953)
  • – Arthur D. Kidman (1906-1981)
  • Arthur D. Kidman m. Margaret Callachor (1902-1983) in Sydney in 1936
  • – Antony (Tony) Kidman (1938-2014)
  • – Julian Kidman (1944-1995)
  • Antony (Tony) Kidman m. Janelle Glenny (b. 1940) in Sydney in 1963
  • – Nicole Kidman (b. 1967)
  • – Antonia Kidman (b. 1970) m. Angus Hawley, divorced; rem. Craig Marran
  • Nicole Kidman m. actor Tom Cruise (b. 1962) in Colorado in 1990, divorced in 2002; rem. country singer Keith Urban (b. 1967) in Manly, NSW in 2006
  • – Isabella (Bella) Cruise (b. 1992), adopted, m. Max Parker
  • – Connor Cruise (b. 1995), adopted
  • – Sunday Urban (b. 2008)
  • – Faith Urban (b. 2010)


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Written by Colin Shelley

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