The Keep Family
Keeps Worldwide
North American Keeps
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The Keep Family
The Keep Family
DNA Project
John Keep of
Colonial History
Walter Kep, English History
The East Midlands Keeps
The North Amercan
Keep Families
The European
Keep Families
The British and Irish
Keep Families
The Southern Hemishere
Keep Families
How to Participate
Contacts and
Keep Family Links
The Keep Family
Keep Trivia
The Keep Family
Contributions to Society

This page will be devoted to family histories and other items of interest of the North American Keep family.  While the descendants of John Keep of Longmeadow probably make up the largest segment of the Keep population in this area, there is an untold, unknown number of Keeps descended from other branches of the family.


If you have suggestions or ideas for submissions, please write Bob.

Distribution of Families with the Surname Keep in the United States
The numbers are approximate, subject to the vagaries of the sources.
Distribution of Families with the Surname Keep in Canada
The numbers are approximate, subject to the vagaries of the sources.
Distribution of Keep families in the United States and Canada
Table of Contents
The DNA Project 
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Candian Histories and Notable Family Accounts Very Welcome
Evelyn Keep Warner and the 1938 Hurricane
A Passage to Canada
See below
                    THE 1938 HURRICANE
 A Letter Home from Evelyn Keep Warner

The 1938 hurricane (cyclone) came without warning to the south shore of Eastern Long Island, which is part of New York State, USA, standing out from the mainland 125 miles long.  The island’s south shoreline faces the Atlantic Ocean.  No hurricane of any note had struck Long Island for 100 years.  There were no satellites, no weather airplanes, nothing but a weather bureau that depended largely upon reports from ships at sea.  Unbelievably, there was only one ship, near Florida, some 1,500 miles to the south which was there to report anything.  After that, the location of the storm was unknown until it hit.  The date was September 21, 1938.


Evelyn Keep Warner (1905 – 1987) was at home in East Moriches, on the south shore about 80 miles out on the island.  Her husband Paul was a potato farmer, but the family didn’t live on the farm; instead, they lived some miles away very close to the shore of Moriches Bay, an extension of the Great South Bay.  The only thing that separated their bay from the Atlantic was a thin barrier beach that ran along the coast line.  It turned out that the barrier did them no good. Most summer homes there were carried away by the storm, and most people who were still there at that time of the year were killed.

Her husband was on the farm and before he realized what was happening, his way home was blocked by fallen trees.  If he were able to go further, which he couldn’t, his way would have been blocked by rising water.


At home with his mother was 3-year old son Robert, and at school were two other children, John, age 8, and Carol, age 10.  The school administrator, having no experience with the rising winds of hurricanes, let the children out, and this brother and sister made it home.  It would have been better if they had remained at school.


A letter home from Evelyn to her family survives, telling of her experience:

“September 23 (I think), 1938.


“Dear Folks:   I have just been through the most hazarding experience of my life. Day before yesterday, it rained and rained and finally by afternoon it turned into a hurricane.  I rushed about the house closing up windows with towels and rags as the [rain]water came through as though there were no windows at all.  Then downstairs Robert [age 3] and I rushed to mop up water and soot pouring out of the fireplace and in our mopping there came a terrific crash.  I felt as though the house had collapsed and with just a blanket around Robert out in the storm we went and at the edge of the porch another crash and the huge tree in front of the house crashed in front of me but on we went for Grandma’s [across the street]. I wonder now how I ever got across with the wind blowing. 

“At Grandma’s we tried to help her and in the children came from school soaked to the skin.  Well, Grandma said the situation is bad, the water rising very fast, so out of the house I rushed across the street again and got the car out and then Grandma would not leave her house so up the street [inland] I went with the three children dodging poles, wires, trees, houses, and got half way to the village and could go no further [because of a low point which was flooded].  Instead of going out into a farm lot, I went back towards home worried sick about Ma W.  Got as far as the corner house [the largest house on her street] opposite Grandma’s and I put the car into their garage, and when we got into the house, we found the whole neighborhood congregated there.  Well, the water came up and up (after which we found that it was a tidal wave).


“Soon we had to go to the second floor and by that time I was scared to death and the children clung to me like glue.  Ella Kellot has a boy Robert’s age and she got out life preservers for both boys and Mrs. Hardy and 3-month old baby.  We figured her to cling to a table if need be.  We prayed real earnest like and Mr. Love and Mr. Tribble found an ax if we needed to go to the roof.


[The water ceased rising just short of the second floor and receded at about the same speed that it rose.]  “The water went down and did we rejoice, but believe me the time we spent watching it rise on every side of us and no escape at all was no fun. Then we watched the town so to speak come down to see if we were alive and Paul soon joined us.  Ma W.  had an empty boat sail up to her house and out she went from a second floor window and got into the boat, tied a stout string to the house, and then went back into the house and waited for the water to rise over the second floor.


“Our street is a wreck, every home a  mess, some parts of homes missing, all over L. I. terrible loss of life, homes flattened, etc., etc.  Our lower floor is ruined, every single thing water soaked, our rugs and furniture no good, every electrical appliance no good, our car had water over the top. Paul has worked two days trying to dry out the motor.  “Oh!  the crash I heard was the roof next door rose up and came down on the edge of our roof over Carol’s room and then through the air came a piece of tin from the boat yard below us that went through Carol’s window and mowed down desk chair and book case like wooden soldiers mashed flat.  Carol suffered most, the poor kid lost all her clothes in the twisted mess when the corner of the house came into her clothes press. 



“The children left the front door open when they found me gone, so in the flood came and took away piano cabinet, end tables, Martha Washington, radio and chair gone.  Ma’s beautiful down stairs is a sad sight.  But when we hear of so many families with loved ones missing we have a lot to be thankful for.  Westhampton Beach was wiped out completely.  Pa’s duck and chicken buildings were blown flat, so he has suffered hard, in fact all duck raisers in Eastport were just wiped out.  No electricity, telephone, water, heat, nothing at home, but here [at the duck ranch] the wind mill pumps water so we have to stay here.


“I told Paul that I wanted to live up to the farm from now on.  I don’t want to go home.  Every single family moving right out from our block leaving Ma and us to weather the next storm alone.  I want to post this letter so will close for now, more later and write when you can.  Much love, Evelyn.”


Years later, Evelyn had a close call with another hurricane when she was on a ferry on the sound between Long Island and Connecticut during the terrible storm.  They never moved up to the farm and did go through several more hurricanes, but no rising water.


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Family of Thomas William Keep

Thomas William Keep, his wife Fanny Hodge with children Thomas E.A. Keep, 4 years old, and Dora, 6 years old, shown below on board a steamer on their way to a new home and a new life in Canada.  They came from Dartford, Kent, England and sailed on August 22, 1924.  Also shown is their Declaration of Passport to Canada, and a photo of son Thomas E. A., who fought in World War II in the Canadian Lincoln and Welland Regiment, and participated in D-Day, Bergon Op Zoom, and Antwerp.        


--Judith Anne Keep                          Daughter of Thomas E. A. Keep

 Thomas E. A. Keep
Thomas William Keep, wife Fanny, and Son and Daughter just in front of them
on board ship