An English and German surname, the Key name came from the Middle English terms ‘keye’, ‘keay’ and ‘kaye’ which refer to a key to lock or a locksmith. The spelling variations for Key include Kay, Keye, Keyse, Keys and Keyes. In England the Key families are all across the country and most of Wales. The main populated counties with individuals named Key are Yorkshire, Lancashire, Lincoln, Norfolk, Essex, Middlesex, Cornwall, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire. In Scotland the Key family name is mostly located in Angus, Fife, Midlothian and Lanarkshire counties. Within the United States the Key family originated in Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and Mississippi. Famous: Francis Scott Key (wrote the word to the U.S. national anthem), Ryan Key (musician and singer), Ellen Key (suffragist and writer), Alexander Hill Key (science fiction writer), James Edward Key (professional baseball player), John Key (Prime Minister of New Zealand), Kathleen Key (silent screen actress), Theodore ‘Ted’ Key (cartoonist and writer) and Tim Key (English poet, comic and actor).