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

Where did the Irish Begley family come from? What is the Irish Begley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Begley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Begley family history?

All Irish surnames have a unique and often romantic meaning. The name Begley originally appeared in Gaelic as O Beaglaoich where beag means little, and laoch means hero. First Anglicized as O'Begley, it now appears mostly as Begley, and occasionally Bagley.


The recording of names in Ireland in the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. The many regional dialects and the predominate illiteracy would have made common surnames appear unrelated to the scribes of the period. Research into the name Begley revealed spelling variations, including Begley, Beegley, Beeghley, Begly, Begeley, Begely, Beagley and many more.

First found in the counties of Cork and Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland in the province of Ulster, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel, where they held considerable territories as an important Irish sept directly descended from the line of the Heber Irish Kings.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Begley research. Another 429 words(31 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1732, and 1890 are included under the topic Early Begley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 27 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Begley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Irish families began to immigrate to British North America and the United States in the 18th century, but the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. The earlier settlers came to North America after a great deal of consideration and by paying relatively high fees for their passage. These settlers were primarily drawn by the promise of land. Those later settlers that came during the 1840's were trying to escape the conditions of poverty, starvation, disease, and death that had stricken Ireland. Due to the enormity of their numbers and the late date of their arrival, these immigrants primarily became hired laborers instead of homesteading settlers like their predecessors. An exhaustive search of immigration and passenger lists has revealed many Irish immigrants North America bearing the name Begley:

Begley Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Miss Begley, who arrived in Newport, Rhode Island in 1811
  • John Begley, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • Neill Begley, aged 20, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1834
  • Peter Begley arrived in Philadelphia in 1838
  • William Begley arrived in Philadelphia in 1852


  • Edward James Begley Sr. (1901-1970), Academy Award-winning American actor
  • Edward James "Ed" Begley Jr. (b. 1949), American six-time Emmy Award nominated film and television actor
  • Louis Begley (b. 1933), American lawyer and novelist
  • Rev. John Begley, Irish Cannon, author of "The History of the Diocese of Limerick"
  • Henry Begley (d. 1895), Irish landscape painter
  • Colm Begley (b. 1986), Irish Gaelic footballer and Australian rules footballer
  • Paul Begley, Gaelic football player from Laois in Ireland


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  1. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  2. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  7. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  8. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  9. 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).
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  11. ...

The Begley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Begley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 30 November 2012 at 08:38.

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