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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. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  4. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  5. 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).
  6. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  8. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  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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