Show ContentsKeeling History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Keeling was formed many centuries ago by the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It was a name typically given to a person who fished codfish and was accordingly named after the fish. The surname Keeling is derived from the Old English word keling, which means young codfish. [1] [2]

Occasionally, the name is derived from residence in the settlement of Keeling in the county of Norfolk. [1] [3]

Early Origins of the Keeling family

The surname Keeling was first found in the Domesday Book of 1086 where Chellinge was listed in Yorkshire. Over the years, this place name evolved to be known as Killing or Keeling. [4]

In Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, Ælfuine Celing was registered there c. 1095. Later in Suffolk, Robert Kelyng was listed in 1277. [1]

The noted historian Bardsley, notes the name is "local, 'of Keelin.' I suspect the Staffordshire, Cheshire, and Lancashire Keelings are of local origin. But I cannot find the spot. The final 'g' is in this case an excrescence, as in Jennings, Hewlings." [2]

We did find this interesting passage in the source Baines' Lancashire: "In 56 Henry III (1272), Henry de Lasey granted for his service all that land which William of Keelin and William his son formerly held, and which reverted to the grantor by the felony of William de Keelin." [5] Unfortunately, no other details were provided.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Walter de Kelin and Osbert Kelyng, in Huntingdonshire. [2]

Early History of the Keeling family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keeling research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1240, 1372, 1463, 1482, 1586, 1649, 1625, 1626, 1577, 1619, 1604, 1618, 1620, 1607, 1671, 1661, 1663, 1691 and 1683 are included under the topic Early Keeling History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keeling Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Keeling include Keeling, Keiling, Kealing and others.

Early Notables of the Keeling family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Keeling (1586-1649), an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1625 and 1626. He was Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme. Captain William Keeling (1577-1619), of the East India Company, was a British sea captain. He commanded the Susanna on the second East India Company voyage in 1604. During this voyage his crew was reduced to fourteen men and one of the ships vanished. On his return, King James I appointed Keeling a Groom of the Chamber, and in c. 1618 he was named Captain of Cowes Castle on...
Another 132 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keeling Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keeling Ranking

In the United States, the name Keeling is the 3,310th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Keeling family to Ireland

Some of the Keeling family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Keeling migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Keeling Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Keeling, who landed in Virginia in 1628 [7]
  • Thomas Keeling, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Nicholas Keeling, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [7]
  • Henry Keeling, who arrived in Maryland in 1674 [7]
Keeling Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ralph Keeling, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [7]
  • Andrew and Mathew Keeling, who settled in Maryland in 1775
  • Adam Keeling, who arrived in New York in 1784 [7]
Keeling Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Isaac Keeling, who landed in New York in 1822 [7]
  • John Keeling, who arrived in New York in 1839 [7]
  • Daniel Keeling, aged 24, who landed in New York, NY in 1855 [7]

Australia Keeling migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Keeling Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Keeling, (Waine), English convict who was convicted in Derby, Derbyshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Caledonia" in 19th June 1822, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Mr. John Keeling, English convict who was convicted in Shropshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 14th October 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Sarah Keeling, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1839 [10]
  • Catherine Keeling, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1839 [10]
  • Isabella Keeling, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1839 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Keeling migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Keeling Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • K. Keeling, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888

West Indies Keeling migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Keeling Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Catherine Keeling, who settled in Barbados in 1674

Contemporary Notables of the name Keeling (post 1700) +

  • Ida Olivia Keeling (1915-2021), American centenarian track and field athlete, she held the Masters records in 60 meter and 100 meter distances for women in the 95-99 and 100-plus age groups
  • Jerry Keeling (1939-2018), American quarterback and defensive back in the Canadian Football League from Paris, Texas, inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, 1989
  • Harold A. Keeling (b. 1963), American-Venezuelan professional basketball player
  • Jimmie Keeling (b. 1935), American football coach
  • Kelly Keeling (b. 1966), American musician and songwriter
  • Charles David Keeling (1928-2005), American scientist whose recording of carbon dioxide first alerted the world to the "greenhouse effect", eponym of the Keeling Curve
  • Harry Keeling (1873-1898), English cricketer
  • William Knight Keeling (1807-1886), British (Victorian) artist, an illustrator of Walter Scott 's novels and Shakespeare 's plays [12]
  • Anwen Keeling (b. 1976), Australian portrait painter
  • Walter Angus Keeling (1873-1945), United States federal judge
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Ralph Keeling, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Alfred Keeling (1923-1940), British Cook "O", who sailed on board the HMS Repulse prior to is sinking died in 1940 [13]

Suggested Readings for the name Keeling +

  • The History of the Keeling Family of New York State by Stanley Harvey Keeling.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  5. ^ Baines Thomas & William Fairbairn, Lancashire and Cheshire, Past and Present History of Counties London: William MacKenzie, 1867, Digital, 4 vols
  6. ^
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th November 2020). Retrieved from
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st September 2022).
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SIR CHARLES FORBES (originally Charles Forbes) 1839. Retrieved from
  11. ^
  12. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 26 October 2020
  13. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook