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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.
The surname Keys was 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.
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.
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 and printed products wherever possible.
More information is included under the topic Early Keys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
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 and printed products wherever possible.
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
Keys Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Keys Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Keys Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Keys Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Keys Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
Keys Historic Events
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.
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 20 June 2016 at 12:02.