Show ContentsKeays History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Keays comes from the family having resided 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.

Early Origins of the Keays family

The surname Keays was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Keays family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keays research. Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keays History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keays Spelling Variations

Keays has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Keyes, Key, Keys, Keye, Keyse and others.

Early Notables of the Keays family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Keays Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Keays family to Ireland

Some of the Keays family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Keays migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Keayss to arrive on North American shores:

Keays Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Chas. H. Keays, aged 35, who immigrated to the United States, in 1893
  • H. Keays, aged 36, who settled in America, in 1893
Keays Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Joshua Keays, aged 70, who settled in America from Limerick, in 1900
  • Herbert H. Keays, who landed in America, in 1908
  • John Keays, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • Elizabeth Keays, aged 9, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Sussan Keays, aged 3, who immigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Keays (post 1700) +

  • Sara Keays (b. 1947), English former mistress and personal secretary of British Conservative politician Cecil Parkinson
  • Terence John Keays "Terry" Keays (b. 1970), Australian rules footballer who played from 1987 to 1992, awarded the Joseph Wren Memorial Trophy in 1990
  • James Russell Keays (1913-1995), Canadian Progressive Conservative politician, Member of Parliament for Îles-de-la-Madeleine (1958-1962)
  • James "Jim" Keays (1946-2014), Scottish-born, Australian musician, leader of the rock band The Masters Apprentices, inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1998

The Keays Motto +

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. on Facebook