O'Keffe family crest and coat of arms

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Meaning of the O'Keffe family crest symbols


The fleur-de-lis is one of the oldest in international heraldry. It represents purity, light and religious devotion including connotations of the Virgin Mary. It stands as a connection to the family's earliest religious associations and beliefs.

Shield - Bordure

The 'bordure' edge around the shield is a mark of difference used to identify separate families that hold similar coat of arms designs. It is one that became a distinctive mark of pride over time for those families that used one.

Meaning of the O'Keffe coat of arms colors


The silver or white color on the coat of arms, (known as 'Argent'), signifies sincerity and peacefulness. It is one of the oldest colors known in ancient heraldry.


The red color (known as Gules) traditionally symbolized martyrdom and the historic military strength of family members when called upon in times of war.

O'Keffe name meaning and origin

O'Keffe is an Irish surname of Gaelic origin, derived from the personal name "Caoimhghin," meaning "gentle" or "kind."

History of family crests like the O'Keffe coat of arms

Family crests and coats of arms emerged during the Middle Ages, mostly in wider Europe. They were used as a way to identify knights and nobles on the battlefield and in tournaments. The designs were unique to each family and were passed down from generation to generation.

The earliest crests were simple designs, such as a single animal or symbol, but they became more elaborate over time. Coats of arms were also developed, which included a shield with the family crest, as well as other symbols and colors that represented the family's history and achievements.

The use of family crests and coats of arms spread throughout Europe and became a symbol of social status and identity. They were often displayed on clothing, armor, and flags, and were used to mark the family's property and possessions.

Today, family crests and coats of arms are still used as a way to honor and celebrate family heritage.

O'Keffe name variations and their meaning

The family name O'Keffe has several variations that have emerged over time. One common variation is O'Keefe, where the apostrophe is dropped, but the pronunciation remains the same. This variation is often seen in countries where the use of apostrophes in surnames is not common. Another variation is Keefe, where the "O" is completely dropped. This variation is more streamlined and concise, yet still retains the essence of the original name. Additionally, there is the variation Keffe, where the "O" and the apostrophe are both omitted. This variation may have originated from a misspelling or a simplification of the name. Lastly, there is the variation O'Caoimh, which is the original Irish form of the name. This variation is less common and is often used by individuals who want to emphasize their Irish heritage. Overall, these variations of the O'Keffe family name showcase the flexibility and adaptability of surnames as they evolve over generations.

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