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

Where did the English Kelsay family come from? What is the English Kelsay family crest and coat of arms? When did the Kelsay family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kelsay family history?

The ancestry of the name Kelsay dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in either North Kelsey or South Kelsey in the county of Lincolnshire. The surname Kelsay belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Kelsay have been found, including Kelsey, Kelsy and others.

First found in Lincolnshire where one of the first records of the name was Brise de Keleseye who was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Peter de Keleseve was listed in the same rolls at the same time. It is in this shire that North and South Kelsey are still found today. Over the many years, North Kelsey has remained a small village and civil parish with a population of 959 in 2001 and this includes the small hamlet of North Kelsey Moor. Today, South Kelsey is still smaller village with a population of 571 in 2001.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kelsay research. Another 253 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1680, 1645, 1646, 1651, 1667 and 1724 are included under the topic Early Kelsay History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kelsay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Kelsay, or a variant listed above:

Kelsay Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Percy Kelsay, aged 30, who landed in America, in 1920

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  • John Kelsay (1819-1899), American politician and judge, the 18th Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
  • Christopher Kelsay (b. 1979), American football outside linebacker in the NFL
  • David Kelsay (b. 1955), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 2004


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  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  11. ...

The Kelsay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kelsay 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 11 December 2015 at 10:33.

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