The English surname originates from the Midlands of England, and can be traced back to the coastal and river towns around that area. The name originally came into being when it was used by the people who made wooden boats in the area. Hence KEELing. The main concentration of Keelings began in Essex and Derbyshire and Stoke, and spread around the country. The first written reference to the name Keeling is in Essex in 1273.