Keightley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Keightley has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived in the settlement of Keighley in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [1] [2] The surname Keightley belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Keightley family

The surname Keightley was first found in Yorkshire at Keighley, a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the E. division of the wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross. [3] The first listing of the place name was Chichelai in the Domesday Book of 1086. [4]

"This place, anciently Kyghelay, was for many generations the property of the Kyghelay family, who either gave their name to, or derived it from, the manor; and of whom Gilbertus Kyghelay, of Utley, was buried here in 1203, according to an inscription on a stone still remaining in the parish church. In the reign of Edward I. Henry de Kyghelay, a member of the family, obtained the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair, with privilege of free warren for the inhabitants." [3]

The first on record was found in the Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum, temp. Henry III-Edward I. : Henry Kighele, Lancashire, I Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [5]

Henry de Kythelay was also found in Yorkshire in the 14th century. [6]

Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes de Kyghelay as holding lands there at that time. [7] A well-educated family, the Register of the University of Oxford had two early entries for the family: John Kighlye, Lincolnshire, 1576: and Philip Kyghley, or Kygleye, Worcestershire, 1583.

Early History of the Keightley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keightley research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1186, 1650, 1719, 1686, 1692, 1621, 1648, 1580, 1643, 1651, 1620, 1621, 1662, 1663, 1789, 1872, 1650, 1719, 1803 and 1824 are included under the topic Early Keightley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keightley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Keightley have been found, including Keightley, Keighley, Keitley, Keightly and others.

Early Notables of the Keightley family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Thomas Keightley (1650-1719), an English courtier and official in Ireland, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland in 1686, Commissioner of the Irish Revenue (1692), progenitor of the family in Ireland. He was the "son of William Keightley (b. 1621) of Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire, by his wife Anne, daughter of John Williams of London, whom he married in 1648 (Chester, Marriage Licenses, ed. Foster, p. 783). His paternal grandfather...
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keightley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Keightley family to Ireland

Some of the Keightley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 111 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Keightley migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Keightley, or a variant listed above:

Keightley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mark Keightley, who landed in New York in 1829 [8]
  • Thomas Keightley, who settled in Newcastle Co. Del. in 1854

New Zealand Keightley 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:

Keightley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Keightley, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840

West Indies Keightley migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [9]
Keightley Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Keightley, who settled in Jamaica in 1661

Contemporary Notables of the name Keightley (post 1700) +

  • David N. Keightley, American sinologist, historian, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, at University of California
  • John W. Keightley (b. 1826), American politician, Member of Indiana State Senate, 1853; Candidate for U.S. Representative from Indiana, 1868 [10]
  • Elijah T. Keightley (b. 1833), American politician, Member of Indiana State House of Representatives, 1875 [10]
  • Edwin William Keightley (1843-1926), American Republican politician, Circuit Judge in Michigan 15th Circuit, 1874-77; appointed 1874; U.S. Representative from Michigan 4th District, 1877-79 [10]
  • Dr Archibald Keightley (1859-1930), prominent member of the Theosophical Society
  • Bertram Keightley (1860-1944), English Theosophist
  • Thomas Keightley (1789-1872), Irish historian and author, son of Thomas Keightley of Newtown, co. Kildare, and claimed relationship with Thomas Keightley (1650?–1719) [11]
  • Major-General Richard Charles Keightley CB (b. 1933), British Army officer, Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
  • Lisa Maree Keightley (b. 1971), Australian cricketer
  • General Sir Charles Frederic Keightley GCB, GBE, DSO (1901-1974), British Army senior officer during and following World War II


  1. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  9. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 26 October 2020


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