O'Keefe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
All Irish surnames have underlying meanings that can be traced back to their fullest points when the names first appeared in a Gaelic form. The name O'Keefe originally appeared in Gaelic as "O Caoimh," which is derived from the word "caomh," which means "gentle."
Early Origins of the O'Keefe family
The surname O'Keefe was first found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
"In ancient times the O'Keeffes were Marshals and chief military leaders of Desmond. They possessed several castles, and were styled Princes of Fermoy. The principal county for the Keeffes and O'Keefes at present is Cork." 
Early History of the O'Keefe family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Keefe research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1655, 1640, 1691, 1703, 1670, 1740, 1747, 1833, 1778 and 1791 are included under the topic Early O'Keefe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Keefe Spelling Variations
One name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer because one must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English is a daunting task at the best of times. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the O'Keefe family name include O'Keeffe, O'Keefe, Keefe, Keeffe, Keefer, Keiffe and others.
Early Notables of the O'Keefe family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was Constantine O'Keeffe (born c. 1670) who was admitted to the French aristocracy in 1740 on the basis of...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Keefe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Keefe migration to the United States +
The 18th and 19th centuries saw many Irish families immigrate to North America in search of land and opportunities. The largest influx of Irish immigrants to the United States and British North America came during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine laid waste to their homeland. Hundreds of thousands left the island in an attempt to escape the starvation and disease it brought. Although the arrival of such a large number of destitute Irish was not welcomed by the established population in the United States and what would become known as Canada at the time, these Irish were an essential element to the rapid development of these growing industrial nations. They filled the demand for the cheap labor needed for the work in factories and in the construction of bridges, roads, canals, and railways. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many immigrants bearing the name of O'Keefe or one of its variants:
O'Keefe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Denis, Michael, Patrick and Thomas O'Keefe all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
O'Keefe migration to Canada +
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
O'Keefe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- John Peter O'Keefe, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork, Ireland
- Mary O'Keefe, aged 29, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork, Ireland
- John O'Keefe, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
O'Keefe migration to Australia +
Emigration to Australia
followed the First Fleets
of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
O'Keefe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Mr. Thomas O'Keefe, English convict who was convicted in Leeds, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 10th August 1838, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) 
- John O'Keefe, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Oregon" 
- Michael O'Keefe, aged 37, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" 
- Bridget O'Keefe, aged 27, a dairymaid, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" 
- Ellen O'Keefe, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Taymouth Castle" 
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
O'Keefe 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:
O'Keefe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Margaret O'Keefe, aged 22, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
- Jeremiah O'Keefe, aged 24, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Assaye" in 1874
- Mr. Arthur O'Keefe, (b. 1854), aged 24, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Western Monarch" arriving in New Zealand in 1879 
- Miss Mary O'Keefe, (b. 1855), aged 23, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Western Monarch" arriving in New Zealand in 1879 
- Michael O'Keefe, aged 25, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Earl Granville" in 1880
Contemporary Notables of the name O'Keefe (post 1700) +
- Whitney O'Keefe, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Georgia, 1964
- Thomas H. O'Keefe, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1912; Member of New York State Senate 1st District, 1913-14
- Thomas A. O'Keefe, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1960
- T. J. O'Keefe, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Nebraska, 1904
- Stephen P. O'Keefe, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives 59th District, 1980
- Richard D. O'Keefe (b. 1855), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Sanilac County 2nd District, 1885-90
- Richard B. O'Keefe, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 6th District, 1946
- P. H. O'Keefe, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1912
- Mary O'Keefe, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1980
- Kurt A. O'Keefe (b. 1954), American Libertarian politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1980
- ... (Another 47 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Historic Events for the O'Keefe family +
- Mr. Patrick O'Keefe, aged 22, Irish Third Class passenger from Waterford, who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking in collapsible B 
Related Stories +
Suggested Readings for the name O'Keefe +
- 1890 Anna O'Keefe and Samuel Snedden 1867-1975, Six Generation in California by Virginia Perry Culbert, The Baron, the Logger. the Miner and Me by John H. Toole.
- ^ Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print
- ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 23rd August 2020, Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/augusta-jessie)
- ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The barque OREGON, 521 tons - 1851 voyage to South Australia. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Oregon.htm
- ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PHOEBE DUNBAR 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/phoebedunbar1852.shtml
- ^ South Australian Register Monday 26th December 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Epaminondas 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/epaminondas1853.shtml.
- ^ South Australian Register Thursday 4th May 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Taymouth Castle 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/taymouthcastle1854.shtml.
- ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
- ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html