Kays Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Kays Family Coat of Arms

We have several coat of arms design(s) for the name Kays. Click on the thumbnails to view each design.

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Kays Coat of Arms Meaning

The main device (symbol) in the Kays blazon is the key. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, gules and sable .

Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 2Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 3A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).6A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 8Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 9The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.

Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used 10A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. The key is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. 11Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 In other cases, Wade suggests that their appearance can be taken to indicate “guardianship and dominion”. 112The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P47

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Kays Name

Kays Origin:

England, Wales, France

Origins of Kays:

This interesting surname has maybe five origins. The first origin of the name may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a professional name for a manufacturer of keys, or for a person who held the work of key-bearer, from the Olde English pre 7th Century word “caeg” which means key. The second may be of French origin, a geographical name for a person who resided by a boat storage or was jobbed on one, acquiring from the Middle English word “kay(e),” an introduction to the Old French “kay(e)” which means wharf. The third may be of Celtic origin, from the Old Welsh name “Cai,” which means Cornish “Key,” produced by the pompous brother of King Arthur. The fourth may be of Old Norse origin, a love name from the jackdaw, appeared to explain a person having a supposed likeness to the bird, and acquiring from the Northern Middle English “kay,” an advancement of the Old Norse “ka.” The final and the fifth origin may be a love name for a lefty man, from the Danish term “kei” which means left, which appropriated in the 13th Century into the languages of Lancashire and Cheshire, and remained in this area till the 19th Century. London parish documentations record the wedding of Robertus Kay to Lucia Barber in the February 1557. A Royal symbol gave to a Kay family is silver, two black bendlets. At the peak is a goldfinch proper.

Variations:

More common variations are: Kayes, Keays, Kayas, Kaysi, Kayus, Kayse, Kyays, Kaysa, Kayss, Kayhs.

Scotland:

One of the first registers in Scotland was the Kae family of Croslats who were an “old family” of West Lothian. The Keay spelling was most famous in Perthshire. Philip Qua recorded in Aberdeen in 1317 and Donald Ka recorded there too in 1399. Thomas Kaa was on an investigation found at Berwick-on-Tweed in 1370. Patrick Ka was a citizen of Linkithgow until his death in 1445. The “Mac” prefix seems complicated to explain. Some Mackay (Macaoid) families may have reduced their name.

England:

The surname Kays first appeared in Yorkshire, but the surname also appeared in Lincolnshire, and Cambridgeshire sometimes as far back as the 13th century.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Geoffery Cai, dated about 1197, in the “Pipe Rolls of Norfolk.” It was during the time of King Edward I, who was known to be the “The Lionheart,” dated 1189-1199. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.

Ireland:

Many of the people with surname Kays had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

Canada:

The following century saw many more Kays surnames arrive. Some of the individuals with the name Kays who settled in Canada in the 19th century included William Kays, at the age of 21, who was a worker, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship “Ward” from Limerick, Ireland.

Australia:

Some of the people with the surname Kays who settled in Australia in the 19th century included Richard Kays at the age of 29, who was a worker, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship “Velocity.”

Here is the population distribution of the last name Kays: Iraq 3,418; United States 3,325; Uganda 2,427; Bangladesh 2,406; Zambia 2,259; Turkey 943; Namibia 326; Lebanon 314; South Africa 310; Tunisia 297.

Notable People:

Alan Curtis Kay was born in May in the year 1940. He is an American expert in computer science.

Kim Kay is a Belgian pop musician.

Jay Kay was born as Jason Luís Cheetham in December 1969. He is an English singer, famous as the lead musician of the acid jazz band Jamiroquai.

Guy Gavriel Kay CM was born in November 1954. He is a Canadian author of fantasy fiction.

Kays Family Gift Ideas

Browse Kays family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Per chev. gu. and sa. three keys or, wards to the sinister.

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References   [ + ]

1. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
2. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
3. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77
4. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
5. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
6. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
7. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
8. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
9. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
10. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281
11. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100
12. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P47