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The ancient roots of the Keesee family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Keesee comes from when the family lived in the settlement of Kearsley in Lancashire. The surname Keesee belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
The surname Keesee was first found in Lancashire at Kearsley, now part of Greater Manchester. The first records of the place were found in 1187 when it was spelt Cherselawe and a few years later as Kereleie (c. 1220. ) The name literally means "clearing where cress grows" having derived from the Old English words caerse + leah.  There is another Kearsley, a township in the parish of Stamfordham, in Northumberland, but this township has remained rather small in comparison as a census in the late 1800s listed only 11 inhabitants, while the former township in Lancashire had 3,436 inhabitants in the same census.
One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Keesee has appeared include Kearsley, Kearsey, Keasley, Kersley and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keesee research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 121 and 1210 are included under the topic Early Keesee History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Keesee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Keesee arrived in North America very early: James Kearsley settled in Philadelphia in 1859.
This page was last modified on 7 October 2015 at 09:47.