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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

The Reilly surname originally appeared in Gaelic as O Raghailligh, which means descendant of Raghallach.

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The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Reilly revealed spelling variations, including O'Reilly, O'Reilley, O'Reily, O'Rielly, O'Riely, O'Riley, O'Rilley, Reel and many more.

First found in County Cavan, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reilly research. Another 233 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1598, 1669, 1630, 1695, 1689, 1640, 1703, 1689, 1646 and 1691 are included under the topic Early Reilly History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 123 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reilly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Reilly family came to North America quite early:

Reilly Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Christopher Reilly, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773

Reilly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Richard Reilly, who landed in New York in 1801
  • Francis Reilly, aged 35, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Catherine Reilly, aged 8, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Brien Reilly, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Hugh Reilly, aged 19, arrived in New York in 1812


Reilly Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Reilly, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin
  • Margaret Reilly, aged 23, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin
  • John Reilly, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin
  • John Reilly, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin
  • Patrick Reilly, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Breeze" from Dublin


Reilly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Owen Reilly, a carpenter, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Bartholomew Reilly arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847
  • Bryan Reilly arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847
  • Matthew Reilly arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Trafalgar" in 1847


Reilly Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Reilly, aged 38, a bricklayer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Reilly, aged 34, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • William Reilly, aged 18, a bricklayer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • George Reilly, aged 15, a bricklayer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Edward Reilly, aged 13, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "London" in 1842


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  • Charles Nelson Reilly (1931-2007), American two-time Emmy-nominated actor, comedian, director and drama teacher
  • James Francis Reilly II (b. 1954), American geologist and former NASA astronaut with over 853 hours in space
  • John Christopher Reilly (b. 1965), American film and theatre actor, nominee of an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
  • Kevin P. Reilly (b. 1949), American academic, 6th President of the University of Wisconsin System
  • John Good "Long John" Reilly (1858-1937), American Major League Baseball first baseman
  • Michael Eugene Reilly (b. 1949), American Major League Baseball umpire
  • Thomas F. Reilly (b. 1942), American attorney and politician, 45th Massachusetts Attorney General
  • Patrick "Paddy" Reilly (b. 1939), Irish folk singer and guitarist and one of Ireland's most famous balladeers
  • Pauline Neura Reilly OAM (b. 1918), Australian author and ornithologist
  • Dianne Ann Reilly (b. 1969), Australian politician

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  • Reilly of Ballintlea by Joseph F. Reilly.
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  1. 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).
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. 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.
  6. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  7. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  8. 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).
  9. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  11. ...

The Reilly Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reilly 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 8 March 2015 at 06:54.

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