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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

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


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 Kelsey include 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.


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


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


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:

Kelsey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Kelsey, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1632
  • Roger Kelsey settled in Barbados in 1654
  • Francis Kelsey, who landed in Maryland in 1663
  • Thomas Kelsey settled in Jamaica in 1690

Kelsey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Eliza Kelsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1719
  • Alexander Kelsey, who arrived in New England in 1720
  • John Kelsey, who landed in New England in 1721
  • John Kelsey settled in New England in 1756
  • Steven Kelsey settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1766

Kelsey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Kelsey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1830
  • S Kelsey, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • B Kelsey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • G W Kelsey, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • J Kelsey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855

Kelsey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Richard Kelsey arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Thomas Kelsey arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Orleana" in 1840

Kelsey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Kelsey arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857
  • W. F. Kelsey arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865


  • Lloyd Albert Kelsey (1897-1948), American tug of war competitor at the 1920 Summer Olympics
  • Linda Kelsey (b. 1946), American five-time Emmy Award nominated and three-time Golden Globe nominated actress, best known for her role in the television series Lou Grant
  • Fred Kelsey (1884-1961), American actor and director
  • William H. Kelsey (1855-1859), U.S. Congressman
  • Benjamin S. Kelsey (1906-1981), American Air Force test pilot and aeronautical engineer, recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit and the Air Medal
  • Mr. Patrick  Kelsey, English Stoker aboard the HMCS Niobe from Bermondsey, England, United Kingdom who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Frances Kathleen Oldham Kelsey CM (1914-2015), Canadian pharmacologist and physician who refused to authorize thalidomide for market, awarded the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President John F. Kennedy
  • Alfred John "Jack" Kelsey (1929-1992), Welsh international football goalkeeper, regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers to play for Wales, inducted to the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in 2010
  • Jack Kelsey, Welsh football goalkeeper


  • Brush, Sammis, Kelsey and Allied Families by Fannie M. Neumann.
  • A Genealogy of the Descendants of William Kelsey by Edward A. Claypool.

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  1. 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.
  2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Kelsey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kelsey 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 10 August 2015 at 10:10.

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