According to traditional accounts, the family’s ancestors had been chieftains in Dagestan or Ossetia, who fled the Islamization of their homeland by Tamerlane and moved, through Circassia, into Christian Georgia in 1395. Constantine II, King of Imereti (west Georgia) from 1392 to 1401, enfeoffed them of Sachkhere and conferred the dignity of prince (tavadi) upon them. The Tsereteli held a fiefdom in Upper Imereti called Satseretlo (საწერეთლო; "of Tsereteli") with their residence at Modinakhe, and eventually turned into one of the preeminent aristocratic families in Georgia. They frequently intermarried with other Georgian noble houses and even with the branches of Bagrationi royal dynasty in both western and eastern Georgia (e.g., Prince David Tsereteli married the sister of Alexander V of Imereti in 1736, while Zurab Tsereteli married his daughter, Kethevan, to the royal prince Ioann of Georgia in 1787).
A branch of the family followed King Vakhtang VI of Kartli in his 1724 emigration to Imperial Russia, where they came to be known as Tsertelev (Russian: Цертелев, Церетели) and were absorbed into the Russian nobility.
Princes of Satseretlo
c. 1380-1590 – Twelve anonymous princes
- Kveli (c. 1590-1620)
- Bezhan, son (c. 1620-39)
- Kaikhosro, son (c. 1640-60)
- Kveli, brother (c. 1660-63)
- Kveli, son of Kaikhosro (c. 1663-1710)
- Papuna, son (c. 1710-38)
- Kaikhosro, son (1738–69)
- Papuna, son (1769–90)
- Kaikhosro, son (1790–1810)
1810 to Russia; henceforth, princes (knyaz) Tsereteli.
- Akaki Tsereteli (1840–1915), a prominent Georgian poet and public figure
- Giorgi Tsereteli (1842–1900), Georgian writer and journalist
- Giorgi Tsereteli (1904–1973), Georgian Orientalist
- Grigol Tsereteli (1878–1938), Georgian philologist
- Irakli Tsereteli (1882–1959), Georgian Social-Democrat politician
- Mikheil Tsereteli (1878–1965), Georgian scholar, politician, and journalist
- Shalva Tsereteli (1894–1955), Soviet executioner of NKVD and Lavrentiy Beria’s associate
- Tamar Tsereteli (1900–1968), Georgian songstress.
- Vasil Tsereteli (1862–1937), Georgian politician and physician
- Zurab Tsereteli (born 1934), modern Russo-Georgian painter and sculptor. President of the Russian Academy of Arts.
- Zurab Semyonovich Tsereteli (born 1953), Georgian footballer
- Nikolay Andreyevich Tsertelev (Mikola Andriyovich Tsertelev; 1790–1869), Russian-Ukrainian ethnographer and the first enthusiast of Ukrainian folklore.
- Aleksey Nikolayevich Tsertelev (1848–1883), Russian diplomat and writer.
- Dmitry Nikolayevich Tsertelev (1852–1911), Russian writer and philosopher.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tsereteli.|
- (Georgian) იოანე ბატონიშვილი (Ioane Bagrationi; 1768-1830). "წერეთელი (იმერეთის თავადნი)" (Tsereteli [Princes of Imereti]). შემოკლებით აღწერა საქართველოსა შინა მცხოვრებთა თავადთა და აზნაურთა გვარებისა (The Brief Description of the Georgian Noble Houses). Retrieved on April 12, 2007.
- (Russian) Церетели. Russian Biographic Lexicon. Retrieved on April 12, 2007.