This interesting surname of uncertain origin, is perhaps from a medieval given name, originally an old English patronymic from a short form of any of the various compound personal names with the first element "ceol" meaning "keel", "ship". The surname dates back to the mid 15th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Henry Keling (1482), Rector of Houghton le Spring, "History and Antiquities of the county Palatine of Durham". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Keelinge, Kelling, Keling, Kelinge, etc.. One Thomas Keelinge married Alice Normaton on June 12th 1548 at St. Martin Osgar and St. Clement Eastcheap, London. William Kelling was christened on August 16th 1568 at St. Thomas the Apostle, London and Sarah, daughter of William Keeling, was christened at St. Bartholomew Exchange, London on January 25th 1577. Katherin, daughter of Richard Keeling, was christened on May 31st 1595 at St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Kelynge, master of Greatham Hospital, which was dated 1463, in the "History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham", during the reign of King Edward 1V, known as "The Self Proclaimed King", 1461 - 1483. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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