The Kay Family Association UK

Yorkshire Names in 1841

Our feeling is that the spelling of the name had yet to stabilise in 1841; we all find cases where different spellings were applied to the same person at various times. At a time when the level of literacy was still low, much of it may have been down to the enumerator’s own idea of how the name should be spelt. But there was a significant number of cases, more so than in Lancashire, when more than one spelling was used in the same return. It can’t all be put down to inconsistency.

This map shows the different spellings. Hover over a wapentake (or touch it if you’re using a touch sensitive screen) to see the names and their frequency.

Boundaries based on data from GENUKI
Surname Selection
Select or unselect the surnames you want to see on the map
Cay
Kay
Kaye
Keay
Key
Keye
Keys

Numbers shown for a wappentakeThe information box that’s displayed when you hover over a wapentake carries a lot of information. Its aim is to show how many people lived in the wapentake, and what spellings were used. The first line shows the total number in the wapentake (all spellings), and the percentage of the total across Yorkshire that represents. The other lines show each of the spellings of the names we’re looking at, and how often they occur. The percentage is based on the total for that name across Yorkshire.

Selecting surnamesYou can change the names being shown on the map by clicking on the ‘Select names’ link at the bottom of the key. The box shown is simply a list of the names this map covers. Click on the tick boxes to include or exclude names to examine the ones you’re interested in. The changes will be reflected immediately on the map and you can still hover over a wapentake to examine the breakdown. We hope this will give you the chance to do your own investigation into that contentious issue of the different spellings and where they came from.

 

Kay and Kaye

Having said that, it is clear that Kaye and to a lesser extent Key were concentrated in the West Riding. The following table shows those parishes where we find what seem to be the most significant variations in spelling – the figures shown are a count of the number of occurrences of the name, with the percentage of the total for that spelling given in brackets:

Wapentake
Parish
Kay
Kaye
Key
Ainsty
York
22 (1.2%)
10 (0.9%)
10 (9.8%)
Agbrigg
Mirfield
7 (0.4%)
12 (1.0%)
Agbrigg
Sandal Magna
16 (0.9%)
5 (0.4%)
4 (3.9%)
Agbrigg
Thornhill
10 (0.6%)
46 (3.8%)
Agbrigg
Wakefield
39 (2.2%)
19 (1.6%)
Agbrigg
Almondbury1
139 (7.8%)
433 (35.7%)
Agbrigg
Emley1
7 (0.4%)
36 (3.0%)
Agbrigg
Huddersfield
27 (1.5%)
82 (6.8%)
16 (15.7%)
Agbrigg
Kirkburton1
88 (5.0%)
192 (15.8%)
Agbrigg
Kirkheaton1
52 (2.9%)
148 (12.2%)
Agbrigg
Rochdale2
24 (1.4%)
5 (0.4%)
3 (2.9%)
Staincliffe West
Great Mitton
7 (6.9%)
Staincross
Darfield
3 (0.2%)
4 (3.9%)
Staincross
Darton
15 (1.2%)
Staincross
High Hoyland
22 (1.8%)
Staincross
Penistone
16 (0.9%)
6 (0.5%)
Staincross
Silkstone
51 (2.9%)
2 (0.2%)
1 (1.0%)
Strafforth & Tickhill Upper
Rotherham
10 (0.6%)
3 (0.3%)

Summary

As a brief summary, here are the totals across the whole county.

Key
Cay (0.4%)
MacKay (0.7%)
Kay (55.6%)
McCay (0.2%)
Kaye (38.0%)
McKay (0.7%)
Keay (0.4%)
McKaye (0.3%)
Key (3.2%)
McKey (0.4%)
Keye (0.0%)
McKie (0.0%)
Keys (0.0%)

 

1
Kirkheaton, Kirkburton, Emley and Almondbury are the four parishes that showed up on our Yorkshire in 1841 page as having the greatest concentration of Kays (all spellings) relative to the total population. They show here as have the greatest number of Kayes as well.
2
This only covers the part of Rochdale that lay in Yorkshire.