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

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

Many Irish names are English translations of Gaelic names. The name Skelly was a translation of the Gaelic name O Scolaidhe, which means student.

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Ireland in the Middle Ages was inhabited by very few literate people. Therefore, the proper spelling of names was decided by a very select few. The surviving records for the time demonstrate that these scribes were often not consistent in their efforts for there are many spelling variations of certain common names. Some of the variations for the name Skelly include Scully, Scally, O'Scully and others.

First found in county Westmeath (Irish: An Iarmhí) in the Irish Midlands, province of Leinster, where they held a family seat from very early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Skelly research. Another 149 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 117 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Skelly History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Irish emigration to North America began modestly in the late 18th century. At this time, Irish families made the journey to British North America and the United States by choice and after careful consideration: they were primarily in search of a suitably large stretch of land to call their own. This pattern would change most dramatically during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For example, the years 1825-1845 saw approximately 450,000 heading to British North America and 400,000 to the United States, but in 1847, at the height of the famine, it is estimated that more than 104,000 Irish immigrants went to British North America and more than 119,000 to the United States. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Skelly:

Skelly Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • William Skelly, who arrived in South Carolina in 1813
  • Samuel Skelly, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1852
  • Pat Skelly, aged 17, landed in New York, NY in 1855
  • Peter Skelly, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1886
  • John Skelly, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1886

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  • William Grove Skelly (1878-1957), American entrepreneur, founder of Skelly Oil Company in 1919 which was later absorbed by Getty Oil Company in 1974, eponym of the Skelly Field at H. A. Chapman Stadium, at the University of Tulsa
  • James Skelly (1911-1988), American judge for the United States Court of Appeals
  • Hal Skelly (1891-1934), American Broadway and film actor
  • Thomas "Tom" Skelly (b. 1879), American football coach, the fourth head football coach at Marquette University
  • Michael Peter Skelly (b. 1961), American businessman in Houston and former Democratic candidate for Texas’s 7th congressional district
  • Shawn Skelly (b. 1987), American professional ice hockey player
  • Chas Skelly (b. 1985), American mixed martial artist
  • Dr. Joseph Morrison Skelly, American Associate Professor of History at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, NY
  • Michael Skelly, Irish politician for the Carlow- Kilkenny constituency at the 1923 general election
  • Liam Skelly (b. 1941), Irish barrister, businessman and former politician from Dublin

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  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. 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. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  9. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  10. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  11. ...

The Skelly Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Skelly 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 28 March 2014 at 13:01.

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