An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014
Origins Available: English-Alt, English
Where did the English Key family come from? What is the English Key family crest and coat of arms? When did the Key family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Key family history?The name Key is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived near a dock, and may have been employed there having derived from the Old French word kay, which became kaye, keye, and keay in Old English. These were all words for docks, or quays. The original bearers of the name undoubtedly lived near some docks, and could easily have been workers there. There is also the possibility that the name is derived from the Latin personal name Caius, a name that dates from the Roman occupation of Britain. There is a record of a Britius filius Kay in 1199, in Northants; filius means "son of." There is a third possibility; in the north of England ka was a word for jackdaw (derived from the Old Scandinavian), and was often applied as a nickname; some nicknames became surnames and this could be one of them. However, the majority of examples of this name found in England are of the local type. This makes this name a polygenetic name, which means that it arose spontaneously at different times and places and meant different things.
The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Key has been spelled many different ways, including Keyes, Key, Keys, Keye, Keyse and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Key research. Another 117 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Key History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Key Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Key family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 121 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Keys to arrive in North America:
Key Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century
Key Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century
Key Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: In Domino confido
Motto Translation: I trust in the Lord.
The Key Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Key Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 3 October 2013 at 14:29.
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