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O'kelley Surname History

The Irish name O'kelley has a long Gaelic heritage to its credit. The original Gaelic form of the name O'kelley is O Ceallaigh or Mac Ceallaigh. These names denote descendants of Ceallach. This personal name may be derived from the word "ceallach," which means "strife."

Early Origins of the O'kelley family

The surname O'kelley was first found in southwest Ireland, south of Dublin where they held a family seat from very ancient times. The Kelly surname is conjecturally descended from King Colla da Crioch, who died in 357 A.D.

Early History of the O'kelley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'kelley research.
Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1518, 1238, 1253, 1555, 1597, 1621, 1695, 1701, 1690 and 1699 are included under the topic Early O'kelley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'kelley Spelling Variations

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name O'kelley family name. Variations found include Kelly, Kellie, O'Kelly, O'Killia and others.

Early Notables of the O'kelley family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Daniel MacKelly; Sir Edward Kelley or Kelly, also known as Edward Talbot (1555-1597), Irish occultist and self-declared spirit medium; Charles O’Kelly (1621-1695) was an Irish soldier and writer from Aughrim, County Galway; and James Gilliam, also known as James Kelly, (died 1701), an English pirate active in the Indian Ocean during the 1690s and was...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'kelley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the O'kelley family to the New World and Oceana

During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the O'kelley family in North America:

O'kelley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Timothy O'Kelley, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States, in 1894

O'kelley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Margaret O'Kelley, aged 22, who settled in America from Sligo, Ireland, in 1908
  • Catherine O'Kelley, aged 18, who landed in America from Sligo, Ireland, in 1908
  • H. O'Kelley, aged 36, who immigrated to America, in 1922
  • Michael O'Kelley, aged 43, who landed in America, in 1922
  • Timothy O'Kelley, aged 18, who settled in America from Castletown Bere, Co. Cork, Ireland, in 1924
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name O'kelley (post 1700)

  • William Clark O'Kelley (1930-2017), American jurist, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (1996-2017)
  • Patricia Beth "Tricia" O'Kelley (b. 1968), American actress, known currently for her role on The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2011-2012)
  • Edward Capehart O'Kelley (1858-1904), American gunman and outlaw who murdered Robert Ford, who had killed Jesse James
  • Erin O'Kelley (b. 1986), American beauty queen from Asheville, North Carolina
  • Sean O'Kelley (b. 1975), Irish footballer

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