Killey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Killey name come from when the Anglo-Saxon tribes ruled over Britain. The name Killey was originally derived from a family having lived in Keele, a village and civil parish in northern Staffordshire, or in East Keal or West Keal in Lincolnshire. [1] The surname Killey belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

"Keel and Keirl are Somersetshire names, the Keirls being at home in the Bridgewater district. Amongst those who took up the cause of their religion in the Monmouth rebellion of 1685 were John and George Keele of Chilton, who were transported to Barbados, the first named not surviving the voyage." [2]

Early Origins of the Killey family

The surname Killey was first found in Lincolnshire where early records reveal that Robert de Kele was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [3] The same rolls list William de Kele in the same shire. [3]

As far as the origin of the place name Keele is concerned, we must look to the village and parish in Staffordshire where the name was derived from the Old English words "cy" + "hyll," and literally meant "hill where cows graze." The first listing of the place name was found in 1169 when is was listed as Kiel. [4]

Richard Kele was listed in the Feet of Fines for Yorkshire in 1246; John de Keel in the Subsidy Rolls for Staffordshire in 1332 and Robert Keell was in Nottinghamshire in 1481. [5]

More often than not, in Scotland, the family spelt their name Keill and or Kyill. "John Keill, chirurgian in Dundee, 1615, Thomas Kyill, burgess of Dundee, 1624, and David Keill in record in Haughmuer, 1774," [6] are but a few examples.

Keele Hall is a 19th-century mansion house at Keele, Staffordshire and the eponym of Keele University, officially known as the University of Keele, a public research university near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

Early History of the Killey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Killey research. Another 47 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1562, 1671, 1721, 1671, 1673, 1719, 1703 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Killey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Killey Spelling Variations

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 Killey include Keele, Keel, Keal, Keale and others.

Early Notables of the Killey family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Thomas Keele, a Member of Parliament for Wycombe in 1562 John Keill (1671-1721), was a Scottish mathematician and important disciple of Isaac Newton, born at Edinburgh on 1 Dec. 1671. His younger brother, James Keill (1673-1719), was a Scottish physician, philosopher, medical writer and translator. " He was educated partly at home, partly on the continent. He applied himself especially to anatomy, and coming to England acquired much reputation by lecturing on that subject at Oxford...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Killey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Killey migration to the United States +

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:

Killey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Killey, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [7]
  • Patrick Killey, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1763 [7]
  • John Killey, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766 [7]

New Zealand Killey 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:

Killey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Catherine Killey, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Egmont" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th June 1858 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Killey (post 1700) +

  • Merton Killey, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives 105th District, 1978 [9]
  • Egbert B. Killey, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at Poughkeepsie, New York, 1846-49 [9]


  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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