This unusual surname is English. It originates from the region of the country known as East Anglia, basically the coastal counties which stretch from the Humber River down to the mouth of the Thames. The surname spellings are very varied and include: Keach, Kedge, Keech, Keattch, Keetch, Keitch and Ketch. However spelt the derivation is from an early medieval dialectal term "kedge", thought to be ultimately of pre 7th century Norse origin, and meaning "brisk or lively". It is one of that interesting group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instances with reference to a variety of qualities; for example, physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and often supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. The 15th Century English dictionary known as "Promptorium Parvulorum", gives the example of "Kygge or Kydge: jocundus", that is jolly or lively. Early examples of the surname include: Alexander Kech in Norfolk in 1221; William Kigge of Lincolnshire in 1250; and Adam Kyg of Buckinghamshire 1276. Early recordings from surviving church registers include the christening of John Kedge, the son of John and Sara Kedge, on June 13th 1624, at St. Nicholas church, Colchester. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of Alured Keg. This was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 11 of England, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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