Kay Name Meaning

English: nickname from Middle English ca ‘jackdaw’, from an unattested Old Norse ká. See also Daw. English: nickname from Middle English cai, kay, kei ‘left-handed’, ‘clumsy’. English: metonymic occupational name for a locksmith, from Middle English keye, kaye ‘key’. Compare Care, Kear. English: topographic name for someone living on or near a quay, Middle English kay(e), Old French cay. English: from a Middle English personal name which figures in Arthurian legend. It is found in Old Welsh as Cai, Middle Welsh Kei, and is ultimately from the Latin personal name Gaius. Scottish and Irish: reduced form of McKay. French: variant of Quay, cognate with 2. Much shortened form of any of various names, mostly Eastern European, beginning with the letter K-. Variant of Danish and Frisian Kai.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Similar surnames: Hay, May, Day, Ray, Bay, Fay, Gay, Pay, Say, Kan

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Kay Ethnicity Estimate

What are the common regions with the Kay name?

These results combine data from everyone in the AncestryDNA® database with the last name Kay. The Ancestry® ethnicity regions shown are top five most common on average for these people.

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  • England & Wales


  • Ireland & Scotland


  • Germanic Europe


  • European Jewish


  • Eastern Europe & Russia


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Kay Family Origin

Where is the Kay family from?

Kay Family Occupations

What did your Kay ancestors do for a living?

In 1881, Farmer, Labourer and School were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Kay. A less common occupation for the Kay family was Cultivateur. The most common Kay occupation in Canada was Farmer. 27% of Kay's were Farmers.

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  • Farmer

  • Labourer

  • School

  • Cultivateur


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Kay ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

Kay Historical Records

What Kay family records will you find?

Census Record

There are 432,000 census records available for the last name Kay. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Kay census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search 1881 Canadian census records for Kay

Passenger List

There are 103,000 immigration records available for the last name Kay. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Card

There are 45,000 military records available for the last name Kay. For the veterans among your Kay ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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You've only scratched the surface of Kay family history.

Kay Life Expectancy

What is the average Kay lifespan?

Between 1941 and 2004, in the United States, Kay life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2002. The average life expectancy for Kay in 1941 was 29, and 76 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Kay

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Kay ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

Famous Kay Family Ancestors

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