Recorded as Keating and sometimes McKeating, this is an Anglo-Irish surname, but despite the occasional use of the Gaelic or Celtic Mac or Mc, is one of English medieval origins. According to the late Edward MacLysaght, the foremost authority on Irish surnames, (quote) "This great family entered Ireland with the Anglo Norman invasions of 1169-1170, and is regarded as one of the earliest of the hibernicized settler families". The surname derives from the pre 7th century English patronymic Cyting, a compound of cyta meaning "kite", and originally given as a nickname to a fierce, rapacious person. The suffix "ing", in this context means the "sons or dependants of". The Keatings settled first in County Wexford, but branches of the family soon established themselves in other areas to the north. The Lord Deputy of Ireland, when writing of Queen's County, (Offaly), in 1613 described them as a "great sept of people" there. From the year 1302 onwards members of the sept held many positions of importance as sheriffs, and members of parliament whilst John Keating, (1635-1695), rose to the position of Lord Chief Justice in 1679. A coat of arms granted to the family depicts four green nettle leaves between a red saltine on a silver shield. A red boar holding in his mouth a green nettle leaf is on the crest. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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