Keller Surname Genealogy
is a German surname,
found primarily in
Switzerland and southern Germany, meaning “cellar” or “basement.” It is an occupational name for
the steward who oversaw the stores and accounts in a large household.
Keller Resources on
- Shenandoah German Heritage Museum
The Keller homestead in Virginia.
- The Keller Family and the Indian Attack
Keller tragedy in Pennsylvania.
- Ancestry of Helen Keller
Helen Keller family tree.
- Keller Family History
Kellers from Germany to Ukraine and to Canada.
- Keller Family Tree
Kellers in New York and Ontario.
Keller name seems to have
originated in Switzerland. The story
goes that many Swiss came down from the mountains at the time of the
Death in the 14th century and made their home in the Rhineland part of
with the Kellers bringing their name with them.
legendary figure who lived at Castle Hohenbaden near Baden Baden in
sometime in the 15th century.
Keller name numbers some 40,000 in Switzerland and is mainly found in
western part of the country. There are a
further 70,000 in Germany, again in the west in Baden
Ireland. Keller may also be an Irish
from the Gaelic O’Ceileachair
sept found in Cork and Kerry. The
anglicized version was more commonly
Kelleher, but Cornelius Keller, a Cork city alderman in the 1850’s, was
have come from a junior branch of this family.
Matthew Keller left Cork for Texas and the
American West in the 1830’s; while George
Keller departed Cork for New York and Hartford, Connecticut in
1852. Meanwhile some of the descendants of
Killough who had left Ulster for Pennsylvania in the 1730’s adopted the
spelling after they had moved to Maine later in the 1700’s.
Keller arrivals in America may be described as having come in two waves.
first, the result of either escaping religious persecution or the
draft, came in the 18th century and they headed for Pennsylvania.
The second, coming in the 19th century, was more for economic
opportunity and they spread across the country.
18th Century Arrivals. Kellers came
from small towns and villages in
the Rhine Palatine region such as Lettweiler, Weierbach, Zweibrucken
Kippenheim, and also from Switzerland.
These Kellers have been the subject of a number of books.
The earliest was probably the History of the Keller Family
the Rev. Eli Keller in 1905. Joseph
Keller was the forebear of this family.
He arrived from the Rhine Palatine in 1737 and made his home in
Plainfield township in Northampton county, then on the western frontier. In 1757 this Keller family was raided by Indians,
their eldest child and the abduction of other members of the family.
More recent books have been The Genealogy of the Keller
Linda Schillinger in 2006 and The Keller
Family by Darel Keller in 2008. The
former book traced the family of Swiss-born Martin Keller who settled
Lancaster county, Pennsylvania in the 1730’s; the latter that of
from Lettweiler in the Rhine Palatine who arrived in 1740 and settled
Pennsylvania and later in North Carolina.
Conrad Keller came to Lancaster
county from Switzerland in 1735. His
line led to David Keller who migrated south to Alabama in the 1820’s. David’s
son Arthur built the family homestead Ivy Green in
Tuscumbia, Alabama after the Civil War. It
was there in 1880 that the famous Helen
Keller, now honored across the land, was born.
Other early arrivals were:
Keller from the
Basel canton in Switzerland who came in the late 1720’s and also
Lancaster county. He was a member of the
German Baptist church and died there in 1794 at the good age of 88.
Keller from Weierbach in Baden who came in 1738 and made his home in
township, Bucks county. He helped found
Kellers’ Church there in 1746. All three of his sons fought in the
also came to the Shenandoah valley in Virginia:
Keller moved to the Germanic
settlement there from Lancaster county in 1750. His
original homestead stood until 1864 when
it was burnt down during the Civil War. The
house that still stands was built by George’s son Henry
in the early
1800’s and there is also there today a Keller mill and a Keller store. Kellers have remained in the area.
- while Abraham Keller was first recorded in
Shenandoah county in 1758. He was a
carpenter and builder by trade. His son
Isaac was killed chasing Indians in 1786. His
other three sons migrated to Kentucky and Indiana.
Pierre Keller was among
a group of Alsatian colonists from France who arrived in Louisiana in
1759. He drowned in the Mississippi river,
apparently on his way to New Orleans, in 1789.
However, his family continued and has remained an influential
Louisiana to this day. Charles and Rosa
Keller founded the Keller Family Foundation in New Orleans in 1949.
19th Century Arrivals.
following is a sampling of the Kellers who arrived in the 19th century:
Keller came to Ohio from Germany in the 1840’s. His son John Henry headed west
bought a large cattle ranch on the outskirts of Concord, California in
1871. The Kellers became civic leaders in
the Concord community.
Keller arrived in Naperville, Illinois from Bavaria
around the year 1850. The Kellers have
been farming there or in neighboring Oswego since that time.
Keller came to Indianapolis from Darmstadt in the 1880’s.
He found work there with the Indianapolis
could also be Jewish
in America. Jacob Keller was a rabbi from
came to Lexington, Missouri in 1826.
William and Johanna Keller were Jews from Hungary who reached
in Wisconsin in 1883.
large Keller contingent came over to Canada from upstate New York at
conclusion of the Revolutionary War. Frederick
Keller, an Empire Loyalist, had served with the King’s Rangers
war and moved with his family to Fredericksburg township in Lennox
county, Ontario. He was married four
times and was the father of 24 children, all but one of them born in
Canada. Frederick was the descendant of
Kellers from the Rhine Palatine who had come to a camp along the Hudson
around the year 1700.
family had departed the Rhine Palatine in 1810 for a German settlement
Ukraine, then part of the Russian empire, and then, approximately a
years later, to another German community in Saskatchewan.
It was curious that their home-town in
Germany was called Rastatt, their home in Ukraine Rastadt, and their
Conrad Keller was
Swiss and came to Saskatchewan In 1912, married and made his home in
Rockglen. John Keller, Jewish from
Poland, was also in Saskatchewan by 1912.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
a 19th century American social arbiter
of high society
the first publisher of the Social Register.
Helen Keller from Alabama, despite being deaf and
blind, overcame her afflictions to
blossom as a writer, political activist and lecturer.
George Keller was
the Chairman of Socal who oversaw its merger with
Oil to form Chevron in
1984. His son Bill Keller has been the
of the New York Times.
Select Kellers Today
- 38,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
- 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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