The German surname of KELLER is of two-fold origin. It was a nickname for someone with some deformity of the throat or neck, perhaps a goitre, which was common in Alpine regions. It was also a topographic name for someone who lived by a narrow gorge or valley. The name is also spelt KEILLOR. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity. A notable member of the name is Garrison KEILLOR, born in 1942, the American humorous writer and radio performer, born in Minnesota. He graduated from Minnesota University in 1966, already writing for the 'New Yorker'. In 1974 he hosted the live radio show 'A Prairie Home Companion' delivering a weekly monologue set in the quiet, fictional mid-western town of Lake Wobegon 'where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children above average'.
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