Riley Keough

Riley Keough

Keough in 2010, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Danielle Riley Keough

Place of Birth: Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: May 29, 1989

*father – Irish, Ashkenazi Jewish, Sephardi Jewish
*mother – German, Norwegian, English, Scottish, along with some French, remote Dutch and Danish, possibly other

Riley Keough is an American actress and model. She is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley, a singer and songwriter, and Danny Keough, a musician. On her mother’s side, Riley is the granddaughter of musician and actor Elvis Presley and actress and businessperson Priscilla Presley.

Riley is married to stuntperson Ben Smith-Petersen.

Riley has said:

My dad is a little Irish but Mostly Jewish and my mom is Native American and Hillbilly

Riley’s paternal grandfather is named Francis Keough. Francis is of at least part Irish ancestry.

Riley’s paternal grandmother is Janet L. Kohn (the daughter of Robert Samuel Kohn and Miriam Neusteter). Janet was born in Denver, Colorado, and is Jewish. Robert was born in Denver, the son of Samuel E. Kohn, who was born in Illinois, to German Jewish/Hungarian Jewish parents, and of Aimee V./H. Herman, who was of German Jewish descent. Riley’s great-grandmother Miriam was born in Denver, the daughter of Meyer Neusteter, who was born in Austria or in Ohio, to Austrian Jewish parents, with roots in Gorlitz; and of Bernita Greenwald/Greenwold, who was born in Pennsylvania, of German Jewish and English Jewish/Portuguese Jewish [Sephardi] descent.

Riley’s great-great-grandmother Bernita’s line traced back to some of the earliest Jews in the U.S., dating back to the early 1700s. Through Bernita, Riley is a distant cousin of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo and poet Emma Lazarus. Riley has specified:

One side is from Portugal and is Sephardic Jew, and other side from Eastern Europe, Ashkenazi Jew. My Great Grandfather immigrated in the 1900s from Eastern Europe when he was a boy. And my great Grandmothers Family were one of the earliest Jews to come to the US in the 1700s.

Riley’s maternal grandfather was Elvis Aaron Presley (the son of Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Smith). Elvis was born in Mississippi. Vernon was the son of Jessie/Jesse Dee/Dunnan/Dunning McCloud/McClowell/McDowell Presley and Minnie Mae Dodger Hood. Gladys was the daughter of Robert Lee Smith and Octavia Lavenia/Luvenia “Dollie”/”Doll” Mansell.

Riley’s maternal grandmother is Priscilla Ann Wagner (the daughter of James Frederick Wagner and Anna Lillian Iversen). Priscilla was born in New York. James was the son of Harold Andrew Wagner and Katherine/Kathryn Gates Ramsey. Riley’s great-grandmother Anna was the daughter of Albert Henry Iversen, who was born in Egersund, Rogaland, Norway, and of and Lorraine Grace Davis.

Riley has said:

I had one great grandma who was Creek and one who was full blood Cherokee.

It is not clear of this Creek or Cherokee Native American ancestry has been verified/documented.

Riley’s ancestor, Morning White Dove, who was her maternal great-great-great-great-great-grandmother twice over, is said to have been a Cherokee Native American woman. The story of Morning’s marriage to a caucasian man, William Mansell, Riley’s great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, is known among family researchers. However, it is not clear if any documentary evidence has been produced that Morning Dove White was of Native American ancestry. At least one census entry for Morning Dove White’s son, John Mansell, describes him as “White.” Several other census listings of Morning’s other children list them as “White” as well. Research has shown that it is unlikely that Morning Dove White was a Cherokee, although it is possible that she had ancestry from another tribe. Background information on this can be found here.

There is a claim that Riley’s maternal great-great-great-great-grandmother, said to have been named Nancy J. Burdine, was Jewish. It is possible that Riley’s family believes this, as well. However, research has shown this claim of Jewish ancestry to be highly unlikely, and that Riley’s maternal great-great-great-great-grandmother was almost certainly a different woman, Celia Anne/Ann Butler. Riley’s great-great-great-great-grandfather, Abner Hampton Tackett, was not Jewish. Some background information on this can be found here (see “24. Blue Christmas”):

Riley does have Jewish heritage from her father’s side.

Riley is an eigth cousin, once removed, of actress Britt Robertson. Riley’s maternal eighth times great-grandparents, Andreas “Andrew” Preslar and Antje “Ann” Wells, were also the seven times great-grandparents of Britt Robertson.

Sources: Genealogy of Riley Keough –

Genealogy of Riley’s paternal grandmother, Janet L. Kohn (through her own sister) –

Obituary of Riley’s paternal great-aunt (grandmother’s sister) –

Genealogies of Riley’s paternal great-grandparents, Robert Samuel Kohn and Miriam Neusteter –

Riley’s paternal great-grandfather, Robert Samuel Kohn, on the 1910 U.S. Census –
Robert Samuel Kohn on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Robert Samuel Kohn on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Riley’s paternal great-great-grandparents, Samuel E. Kohn and Aimee V./H. Herman –

Riley’s paternal great-grandmother, Miriam Neusteter, on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Miriam Neusteter on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Riley’s paternal great-great-grandparents, Meyer Neusteter and Bernita Greenwald/Greenwold, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Riley’s paternal great-great-grandfather, Meyer Neusteter, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Riley’s paternal great-great-grandmother, Bernita Greenwald/Greenwold, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Riley’s mother –

Discussion of Riley’s maternal grandfather, Elvis Presley’s, possible Native American ancestry –

Genealogies of Riley’s maternal grandfather, Elvis Aaron Presley –

Riley’s maternal great-great-great-great-grandfather, John B. Mansell/Manscill, on the 1850 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Riley’s maternal great-great-great-grandparents, A. White Mansell and Martha Tackett –

Genealogy of Riley’s maternal great-great-great-grandmother, Martha Tackett –

Riley’s maternal great-grandfather, James Frederick Wagner, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Riley’s maternal great-great-grandmother, Lorraine Grace Davis, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

1 Response

  1. andrew says:

    Elvis’granddaughter? That is amazing.

    Agree with her about her mother’s background. Redneck sounds better than hillbilly though.

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