Kaye Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Kaye Origin:

England, France, Ireland

Origins of Kaye:

The surname of Kaye is believed to have at least five possible origins from which it was derived. The first of these possible origins is that it was an occupational surname. This means that the original bearer of the surname of Kaye most likely was a key-maker or a key-bearer meaning that he actually carried out this job. Occupational surnames were not originally hereditary surnames. They only became hereditary if the son followed in his father’s footsteps for a career; then the surname became hereditary and was used by the children and spouse of the son. This derivative of the surname of Kaye is believed to have derived from the Old English Pre 7th Century word of “caeg,” which can be translated to mean “key.” The second possible origin of the surname of Kaye is that it was a topographical surname. A topographical surname is used to describe someone who lived on or near a residential landmark. This landmark could be either man made or natural, and would have been easily identifiable in the area from which it hailed, thus making the people who lived near it easily distinguished. In the case of the surname of Kaye, the topographical name was for someone who lived near a wharf. The third possible origin of the surname of Kaye is that it is a derivative of the old Welsh name of “Cai.” The fourth possible origin of the surname of Kaye is that it is a nickname. It is a common element of surnames throughout Europe that many of them originally derived from nicknames, as it was a very common practice in medieval times. In the beginning, nicknames were applied to people who had distinguishing characteristics, such as moral or mental peculiarities, a similar appearance to a bird or animal, a similar disposition to a bird or animal, occupation of an individual, their habits, or their manner of dress. In the case of the surname of Kaye, both the fourth and fifth origins stem from nicknames. The first of these is that the surname of Kaye was a derivative of the Old Norse word of “ka” which can be translated to mean bird, and was given to someone who resembled a bird. The final possible origin from which the surname of Kaye derived is that it was a nickname for a left-handed man, coming from the Danish word of “kei,” which can be translated to mean “left.”


More common variations are: Kaye, Keay



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Kaye can be found within the country of England. One person by the name of Geoffrey Cai was mentioned in the document known as the Pipe Rolls of the county of Norfolk in the year of 1197.

United States of America:

In the 17th and 18th Centuries, it became common for European settlers to migrate to the United States of America in search of a better life. Among those was one Edward Kaye, who arrived in Virginia in the year of 1724, the first Kaye in America.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Kaye: United States 13,136; England 8,916; Uganda 5,228; Australia 2,473; Canada 1,954; Philippines 1,804; South Africa 1,644; Israel 836; India 697; Cameroon 595

Notable People:

Judith Ann Kaye (1938-2016) who was a jurist and a lawyer from America, and who served as the Chairman of the Commission on Judicial Nomination in the year of 2009 to the year of 2013.

William Kaye (1813-1890) who served as the Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky from the year of 1863 to the year of 1865, and who was a politician from America.

Vincent E. Kaye, who served as the Candidate for the Michigan State House of Representatives in the 7th District in the year of 1964, and who was a Republican politician from America.

Philip J. Kaye, who served as an Alternate Delegate to the Democratic National Convention from the state of New York in the year of 1960, and who was a Democratic politician from America.

Leonard C. Kaye, who served as a Candidate for the U.S. Representative from New York in the 15th District in the year of 1922, in the year of 1924, in the year of 1926, and in the year of 1930; and also served a a Candidate for the New York State Assembly from New York County in the 3rd District in the year of 1923, and who was a politician from America.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Woodesham or Woodsome, co. York, bart., extinct 1810. John Kate, Esq., of Woodsome, descended from Sir John Kate, Knt., living temp. William I., and his wife, the dau. and heiress of Sir John Woodesham, Knt., of Woodesham, was created a bart. 1641; the fifth bart. d. unm. 1789, and bequeathed his estates to John Listek, who assumed the surname of Kaye, and was created a bart. 1812). Argent two bends sable. Crest—1st: A griffin’s head erased argent holding in the beak a key or; 2nd: A goldfinch ppr. Motto: Kynde Kynn Knawne Kepe.

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