Select Keaton Surname Genealogy

The surnames Keeton and Keaton derive from the place-name Ketton, recorded as Chetene in Rutland in the 1086 Domesday Book.  The name developed as a surname primarily in Derbyshire.   Keeton is more found in the UK, Keaton in America.  Keaton may have some Irish roots, possibly a variant of Keating.

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Select Keaton Ancestry

England.  There was an early de Keuton family who owned land near present-day Sheffield in Yorkshire from the 14th century.  John de Keuton was recorded as a Sergeant of Arms in 1368.  These de Keutons sold their estate to Sir William Hewet, the Lord Mayor of London, in 1580.  However, their name continued in Keeton Hall which his descendant the Duke of Leeds built on the land in 1730.  In 1811 Keeton Hall was pulled down by the 6th Duke, supposedly on a bet with the Prince of Wales.

The Keeton name has been more common in neighboring Derbyshire.  Edward Keeton was recorded in North Wingfield parish around the year 1650.  John and Emma Keeton were married in the Eckington parish in 1750 and the Keeton name has continued there.   These Keetons were involved in sickle and scythe making in the early 19th century, while some later became coal miners.   William Keeton of this family played cricket for Nottinghamshire and England in the 1930’s.

In addition to Derbyshire, the Keeton name was also evident in Nottinghamshire and in south Yorkshire around Sheffield.  Hadyn Keeton, the organist at Peterborough Cathedral, was born in Sheffield.  An estimated 90% of Keetons were to be found in these three counties in the 1881 census.

  John Keeton was an early arrival, in 1610, in the Jamestown colony in Virginia.  Although he seems to have died during the Indian uprising in 1622, his wife Mary and son William survived. Grandson William was recorded as a Quaker in Virginia in 1686.  James Keeton was a captain during the Revolutionary War.   Later Keetons migrated to Kentucky and then to Tennessee, settling in Decatur county in the 1830’s. Zachariah Keaton, possibly related, had migrated with two brothers from Virginia to Wayne county, Tennessee earlier in 1809.

Henry Keaton was born either in England or in Virginia sometime in the 1660’s.  He was first mentioned in the 1690’s as part of the Quaker community in Pesquotank county, North Carolina.  Seven generations of sober Quakers followed, the last of them being Joseph Z. Keaton, a miller who migrated West to Indiana in 1833. 

His son Joe was something else.  Joe Keaton left home at the age of 26 “with eight bucks and a Winchester rifle” for Oklahoma territory.  He ended up in a travelling vaudeville act with his wife, selling patent medicines on the side.  Their son Buster Keaton achieved global fame as a comediian during the silent era of movies.  The actress Camille Keaton is a distant relative.

Another Keaton line, according to family lore, was thought to have come from Ireland.  Kader Keaton was a planter by the Ogeechee Creek in South Carolina.  His son Kader Jr. migrated to Georgia sometime after the Revolutionary War.  William Keaton was a Primitive Baptist minister there in Carroll county.

Select Keaton Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Keaton Names

Buster Keaton was an American actor, comedian, and stuntman during the silent movie era.
Diane Keaton, born Diane Hall, is a well-known American actress.  She took her mother's maiden name for her acting career.
Michael Keaton is the stage name of Michael Douglas, an American actor and comedian.

Select Keatons Today
  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous in Derbyshire)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in Ohio) 

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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