Keys / Family History
ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'at the quay', Keys is a locational name, from a residence nearby. This name has long been associated with Yorkshire in England, with the variants Kay and Kaye being recorded in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, as far back as the thirteenth century. Variants of the name include Kay, Kaye, Keay, Key and Keye. This name is of Anglo-Saxon descent spreading to the Celtic countries of Ireland, Scotland and Wales in early times and is found in many mediaeval manuscripts throughout these countries. Examples of such are a Robertus Cay who was recorded in the 'Poll Tax' of the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, in the year 1379. A Jordan Kay was recorded in the 'Hundred Rolls' in the year 1273. In Scotland a Thomas Kaa was on an Inquest taken at Berwick on Tweed in the year 1370.
In Ireland this name and its variants were introduced into Ulster Province by settlers who arrived from England and Scotland, especially during the seventeenth century. During the 'Plantations of Ireland' in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Ireland was colonized by the English Crown with this period marking the end of Gaelic supremacy in Ireland. This period brought an influx of settlers into the country but, unlike the earlier Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century that resulted in a full integration into Irish society of the new arrivals, the same never occurred with the Ulster Planters who maintained their own distinct identity.
Keyes is also an occasional variant of the name MacKee, taken from the Gaelic MacAoidh sept found in Ulster Province.The Keys
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Keys