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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The ancestors of the name Keel date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Keel family lived in Keele, a village and civil parish in northern Staffordshire, or in East Keal or West Keal in Lincolnshire. The surname Keel 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 Keel was first found in Lincolnshire where early records reveal that Robert de Kele was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [1] The same rolls list William de Kele in the same shire. [1] As far as the origin of the place name Keele is concerned, we must look to the village and parish in Staffordshire where the name was derived from the Old English words "cy" + "hyll," and literally meant "hill where cows graze." The first listing of the place name was found in 1169 when is was listed as Kiel. [2] Keele Hall is a 19th-century mansion house at Keele, Staffordshire and the eponym of Keele University, officially known as the University of Keele, a public research university near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Keel are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Keel include: Keele, Keel, Keal, Keale and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keel research. Another 93 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1562, 1671, 1721, 1673 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Keel History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Keel or a variant listed above:

Keel Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Isabell Keel, who landed in Maryland in 1675
  • George Keel settled in Barbados in 1685

Keel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • David and Peter Keel settled in Philadelphia in 1724
  • Daved Keel, aged 26, landed in Pennsylvania in 1742

Keel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Joel Keel, who arrived in New York in 1834
  • George Keel, who arrived in New York in 1844
  • Barbara Keel, aged 42, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Annie Keel, aged 3, who emigrated to America, in 1894
  • Emily Keel, aged 30, who settled in America, in 1894

Keel Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Frank Keel, aged 38, who emigrated to the United States from London, in 1901
  • George W. Keel, aged 67, who emigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • G. W. Keel, aged 47, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Charles H. Keel, aged 36, who emigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Doris R. Keel, aged 8, who landed in America from Cobham, England, in 1922


  • Leslie Grace Keel (b. 1974), American production designer
  • Terrence McCauley "Terry" Keel (b. 1958), American founding partner of the Keel & Nassour law firm in Austin, Texas State Representative (1997-2007)
  • Stephen Keel (b. 1983), American soccer player
  • Larry Keel (b. 1968), American bluegrass-singer and songwriter
  • Harry Clifford "Howard" Keel (1919-2004), American actor and singer who starred in many film musicals of the 1950s, known for his starring roles in Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Show Boat (1951), Kiss Me Kate (1953), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), and Kismet (1955)
  • John Alva Keel (1930-2009), American journalist and author
  • James Frederick Keel (1871-1954), English composer of art songs, baritone singer and academic
  • Carl Eugen Keel (1885-1961), Swiss visual artist Expressionism
  • Othmar Keel, Swiss scientist
  • Daniel Keel (b. 1930), Swiss publisher



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  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  5. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  11. ...

The Keel Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Keel 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 9 December 2015 at 10:30.

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