Saturday, 9 November 2013

Surname Saturday - Kay

Surname Saturday is a regular blog post in which I will discuss the origins and geography of the surnames which appear in my own family tree.

This weeks surname is KAY...

Variants: Kaye, Key

(Image link:, Author: Robert Lawton, 2006)
The surname Kay may be derived from:
  • the Olde English caeg meaning key and used as an occupational surname for a key-bearer of an aristocratic household or even a key maker. 
  • The Old French kaye meaning quay and a topographical surname for someone who resided close to a wharf or quay.
  • The Celtic given name, Welsh cai or Cornish key as a patronymic surname.
  • The Old Norse ka meaning jackdaw as a nickname for a person.
  • The Danish kei meaning left, again as a nickname for a left-handed or clumsy person.

55% of the family's with the surname Kay lived in Lancashire at the time of the 1891 census and 20% in Yorkshire.

76% of the family's with the surname Kaye lived in Yorkshire at the time of the 1891 census.

Two variants of the surname Kay and Kaye are found in my family tree. The latter was my aunts maiden name and the surname Kay goes back a few generations to my great x4 Grandmother Ann Kay born c1804 in Burton Pidsea, East Yorkshire to Ralph Kay born c1775 in Keyingham, East Yorkshire and Hannah Ellis c1775.

To read a little about my Kay family you can read more on The Davidson Family - Chapter 12.

Information from:
SurnameDB - Kay

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

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