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KEYS Family History

Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this surname is English. It has a number of verifiable origins, any one of which could be the source of the modern surname. Firstly it was an occupational name for a maker of keys or for someone holding the ceremonial office of key-bearer, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "caeg", key. Secondly it could be topographical and describe someone living or working on a wharf. This is from the Middle English word "kaye", meaning a quay. Thirdly it could have a completely different source, and be Celtic from the ancient personal name Cai or Key, thought to be from the Roman names Gaius or Caius.

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