Show ContentsKeats History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Keats is rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It was originally a name for someone who worked as a cattleman or sheep-herder. The surname Keats is derived from the Old English word cyte, which means hut and referred to a type of shed or outhouse for cattle or sheep. Occupational names such as Keats frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. The surname Keats is also sometimes derived from the Old English words kete and kyte, which come from the Old English word cyta. [1]

Early Origins of the Keats family

The surname Keats was first found in Cornwall where an old Cornish family bore the name Keate. [2]

Early History of the Keats family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keats research. Another 65 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1795, 1821, 1795, 1797, 1842, 1799, 1818, 1803 and 1889 are included under the topic Early Keats History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keats Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Keats are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Keats include Keats, Keets and others.

Early Notables of the Keats family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Keats (1795-1821), the English poet, "was born in London, at the sign of the Swan and Hoop, 24 The Pavement, Moorfields. These premises were occupied as a livery stable by one John Jennings, into whose service the father of the poet, Thomas Keats, had entered as a lad. Families of the name of Keats are found settled in Devonshire both north and south, and of the origin of Thomas Keats nothing is known except that he came either from that county or from Cornwall. Before he was twenty he had risen to be head...
Another 128 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keats Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keats Ranking

In Newfoundland, Canada, the name Keats is the 150th most popular surname with an estimated 259 people with that name. [3]

United States Keats migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Keats or a variant listed above:

Keats Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Keats, who settled in Boston in 1769
Keats Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Keats, who settled in Philadelphia in 1818
  • Frederick and John Keats, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pa between 1858 and 1870

Canada Keats migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Keats Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Eliza, Nancy, Thomas, and Fanny Keats, who all, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Eliza Keats, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Fanny Keats, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Nancy Keats, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Keats, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750

Australia Keats migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Keats Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Keats, British Convict who was convicted in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 12th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [4]
  • Joseph Keats, aged 16, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "The Ascendant" in 1851 [5]
  • Joseph Keats, aged 16, a weaver, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Ascendant" [5]
  • Thomas Keats, aged 36, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Navarino" [6]

New Zealand Keats migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Keats Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Richard Keats, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1858
  • Catherine Keats, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1858
  • Robert W. Keats, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1858
  • Mary Jane Keats, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1858
  • Miss Emma Keats, (b. 1857), aged 1 year 6 months, English settler from Stafford travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Victory " arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th May 1859 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Keats (post 1700) +

  • John Keats (1795-1821), English poet, one of the key and most beloved poets of the English Romantic movement [8]
  • Edgar Salo Keats (1915-2019), American Naval officer, Rear Admiral in the United States Navy
  • Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983), American author and illustrator
  • John Keats (1921-2000), American writer and biographer
  • Steven Keats (1945-1994), American actor
  • Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats (1757-1834), Governor of Newfoundland, Canada, eponym of Keats Island, British Columbia, elder son of the Rev. Richard Keats, curate of Chalton in Hampshire, afterwards head-master of Blundell's school, Tiverton, and rector of Bideford (d. 1812), born at Chalton on 16 Jan. 1757 [8]
  • Ivan Keats (1937-2020), New Zealand long-distance runner who competed in the marathon at the 1964 Summer Olympics
  • Gordon Blanchard "Duke" Keats (1895-1971), Canadian professional NHL ice hockey center, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958
  • Reynold Keats, Australian Research Scientist

HMS Dorsetshire
  • Albert Keats (d. 1945), British Marine aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [9]

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th December 2021). Retrieved from
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ASCENDANT 1851. Retrieved
  6. South Australian Register Monday 14th August 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Navarino 1854. Retrieved
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  8. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 26 October 2020
  9. Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), on Facebook