Recorded in a wide variety of spellings including Keam, Keem, Keyme, Keme, Keame, Keames, Keems, and no doubt others, this is apparently an English surname. It is however one which does not seem to be recorded in any of the numerous dictionaries of surnames, some dating back to early Victorian times. Yet it is a surname which is well recorded in the earliest surviving church registers of England, those of the city of London. These date from the time of King Henry V111th (1510 - 1547) and his daughter, the certainly more virtuous and definately more caring Queen Elizabeth 1st, (1558 - 1603). It would seem to be of the same origin as the surname Keamer and Keemar. The originate from the pre 7th century Olde English word "camb" meaning a comb, and hence are job descriptive for a maker or merchant of combs. These utensils were greatly prized, being usually in either hard wood or bone, and the making of them a highly skilled profession. Early examples of church recordings from surviving registers of the city of London include those of Thomas Keme who married Alice Warde at St Botolph's Bishopgate, on August 11th 1573, John Keame christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on April 4th 1641, but the earliest church recording is probably that of Harry Keme. He was christened at the church of St Martin Pomeroy, on November 30th 1540.
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