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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Gilroy family come from? When did the Gilroy family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gilroy family history?

The name Gilroy has seen many modifications since the time in which it was first devised. In Gaelic it appeared as Mac Giolla Rua, which means son of the red-haired youth.

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In the Middle Ages, a name was often recorded under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer. Literacy was rare at that time and none of the languages to be found in the British Isles had achieved any great semblance of standardization. Variations of the name Gilroy found include Gilroy, Kilroy, MacGilroy, MacElroy, MacGreevy, Greevy, MacGilrea, McGilroy, McElroy, McGreevy, McGilrea, MacIlrea, McIlrea, Magilroy, Magilrea, MacElry, McElry, MacIlree and many more.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clįr) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they were the Chiefs of Clonderlaw, conjecturally descended from Tiobraid, son of Iral Glunmhar, King of Ulster. [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilroy research. Another 295 words(21 lines of text) covering the years 1376, 1638 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Gilroy History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Gilroy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families began to migrate to North America in the late 18th century in the hopes of gaining their own plot of land. The majority of these early immigrant families were relatively well off because the transatlantic passage was costly. As a result the decision to immigrate was carefully made. Those immigrants that arrived in the late 1840s differed because their decision to leave was in direct response to the Great Potato Famine. Many of the families that crossed the Atlantic during this decade were destitute, either having spent all they had on the fare or even starting with nothing, but being sponsored by a philanthropic society. Whenever, these Irish families came to North America, they were made great contributions to the developing nations of the United States and what would come to be known as Canada: the earlier settlers as land clearing homesteaders, and the later immigrants as the muscle that would build the industries and routes of transportation so critical to a powerful nation. Research into the passenger and immigration lists has shown many early and significant Irish immigrants bearing the name Gilroy:

Gilroy Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • John Gilroy, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765

Gilroy Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles Gilroy, aged 19, landed in New York in 1812
  • Catherine Gilroy, aged 21, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Terrence Gilroy, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856
  • Patrick Gilroy, who arrived in Arkansas in 1860
  • James Gilroy, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1864


Gilroy Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Annie Gilroy, aged 19, who landed in America from Dromorew, in 1900
  • Anne Gilroy, aged 60, who landed in America from Komanagh, in 1901
  • Agnes Gilroy, aged 27, who landed in America from Cork, in 1903
  • A. John Gilroy, aged 18, who emigrated to the United States from Derrynure, Ireland, in 1906
  • Bartley Gilroy, aged 21, who landed in America from Ballina, Ireland, in 1907


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  • Dan Gilroy (b. 1959), American screenwriter
  • Frank Daniel Gilroy (b. 1925), American playwright, screenwriter, and film producer and director, recipient of the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, The Subject Was Roses in 1965
  • Anthony Joseph Gilroy (b. 1956), American screenwriter and filmmaker, nominee for an Academy Award
  • Freddie Gilroy (b. 1936), Irish Olympic boxer
  • Jackie Gilroy (1942-2007), former Gaelic footballer
  • Keith Gilroy (b. 1983), Irish footballer
  • Thomas Francis Gilroy (1840-1911), Irish born mayor of New York 1893-94
  • Cardinal Norman Thomas Gilroy KBE (1896-1977), Australian clergyman
  • Brigadier Alistair Gilroy (1897-1968), British Commanding Officer 135th Brigade (1945)


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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)

Other References

  1. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  2. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  3. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  4. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  7. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 3 March 2014 at 10:15.

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