Keep History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The many generations and branches of the Keep family can all place the origins of their surname with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name reveals that an early member worked as a person employed at a castle or a keep. [1] Some experts theorize that the name Keep may have been applied as an occupational surname to a jailer. [2]

Early Origins of the Keep family

The surname Keep was first found in Sussex where the first record of the Keep family was Thomas ate Kepe who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1327. A few years later, Robert de Kepe was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Cumberland (Cumbria) in 1332. [2]

In Somerset, early rolls there revealed Roger Kep and Richard atte Kippe, 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [3]

"On his accession in 1272 the new King appointed Sir Adam Keeper of Woolner Forest, and we subsequently find him a great landowner in Somerset, Dorset, Sussex and Cambridge. His residence was in Hampshire, at a house called The Temple, that overlooked the forest. He was married three times. " [4]

Early History of the Keep family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keep research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1617, 1643, 1661, 1743, 1652, 1688, 1652, 1668 and 1688 are included under the topic Early Keep History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keep Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Keep were recorded, including Keep, Keepe and others.

Early Notables of the Keep family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Henry Keepe (1652-1688), English antiquary, born in Feuter (now Fetter) Lane, in the parish of St. Dunstan-in-the-West, London, in 1652, was the son of Charles Keepe, who served as a cornet in Sir W. Courtney's regiment of cavalry during the whole of the civil wars, and was afterwards employed in the exchequer office. Henry entered New Inn, Oxford, as a...
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keep Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Keep migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Keep family emigrate to North America:

Keep Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Lancelot Keep, who landed in Maryland in 1641 [5]
  • John Keep, who arrived in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1644 [5]
  • William Keep, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [5]
Keep Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Keep, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1753
  • Johannes Keep, aged 24, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1753 [5]
  • James Keep, who settled in Virginia in 1774
Keep Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • B. G. Keep, who arrived in San Francisco in 1852

Australia Keep migration to Australia +

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

Keep Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Keep 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:

Keep Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Keep, aged 39, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • Jane Keep, aged 40, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • Thomas John Keep, aged 14, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • Hannah N. Keep, aged 9, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • George Keep, aged 6, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Keep (post 1700) +

  • Richard Keep, American actor, known for Last Call (2013), Paris, Hiver 2010 (2012) and About the Places We Dwell (2015)
  • Michael Keep (1922-2007), born Michael Capanna, American actor, known for Buried Alive (1990), 40 Guns to Apache Pass (1967) and The Way West (1967)
  • Robert Porter Keep (1844-1904), American teacher and scholar
  • Nathan Cooley Keep (1800-1875), American dentistry pioneer, founding Dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • John Keep (1781-1870), American trustee of Oberlin College
  • Judith Keep (1944-2004), American judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California (1980-2004)
  • Jason Keep (b. 1978), American basketball player
  • Albert Keep (1826-1907), American railroad financier, former president and director of the Chicago and North Western Railway
  • J. M. Keep, American politician, Circuit Judge in Wisconsin 1st Circuit, 1857-59 [8]
  • Edward P. Keep (b. 1848), American Republican politician, Lumber and coal dealer; Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Calhoun County 1st District, 1899-1900 [8]
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1830 with 135 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/america/1830
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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