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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The ancestors of the Keys surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived near a dock, and may have been employed there having derived from the Old French word kay, which became kaye, keye, and keay in Old English. These were all words for docks, or quays. The original bearers of the name undoubtedly lived near some docks, and could easily have been workers there. There is also the possibility that the name is derived from the Latin personal name Caius, a name that dates from the Roman occupation of Britain. There is a record of a Britius filius Kay in 1199, in Northants; filius means "son of." There is a third possibility; in the north of England ka was a word for jackdaw (derived from the Old Scandinavian), and was often applied as a nickname; some nicknames became surnames and this could be one of them. However, the majority of examples of this name found in England are of the local type. This makes this name a polygenetic name, which means that it arose spontaneously at different times and places and meant different things.
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 Keys include Keyes, Key, Keys, Keye, Keyse and others.
First found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keys research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keys History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Keys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Keys family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 121 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included 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:
Keys Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Johan Philip Keys, who arrived in New York in 1709
- Peter Keys, aged 17, landed in Pennsylvania in 1741
Keys Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Eliza Keys, aged 20, landed in New York, NY in 1804
- Andrew Keys, who landed in America in 1805
- Elizabeth Keys, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816
- Samuel Keys, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816
- William Keys, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816
Keys Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Thomas Keys, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
- Alex Keys, who arrived in Quebec in 1784
Keys Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- John Keys, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1837
Keys Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- John Keys, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
- James Keys, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia
- William Keys, aged 31, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Marion"
Keys Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Charles Keys landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Cuba
- Charles William Keys, aged 21, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cuba" in 1840
- Robert Keys, aged 17, a farmer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874
- Sarah Keys, aged 26, a servant, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874
- John Keys, aged 30, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
- Robert Henry "Bobby" Keys (b. 1943), American saxophone player, known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Who, Harry Nilsson, Delaney Bramlett, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker
- James Edward "Jimmy" Keys (b. 1961), American former left-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball
- William "Billy" Amar Keys (b. 1977), American professional basketball player
- Alicia Keys (b. 1981), American recording artist, musician and actress
- J. Grant Keys, American Democrat politician, Mayor of Elyria, Ohio, 1954-56; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1956, 1964
- Greg Keys, American Democrat politician, Member of Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, 1977
- George E. Keys, American Republican politician, Member of Illinois Republican State Central Committee, 1925; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1928, 1952
- Gabrielle Keys, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Nevada, 2008
- Edward M. Keys, American Republican politician, Member of Alaska territorial House of Representatives 4th District, 1923-24
- Curtis M. Keys, American Republican politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Tyler County, 1961-62
- By the Name of Keyes (also Keys) by Peggy Keyes Gray.
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: In Domino confido
Motto Translation: I trust in the Lord.
- Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
- Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
- MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
- Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
- Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
- Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
- Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
- Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
- Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
- Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
The Keys Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Keys 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 26 January 2016 at 21:00.
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