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

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The surname Reilly was first found in County Cavan. They were known as the Princes of East Breffny, descended from Raghallaigh, Prince of Breffny in 981. They maintained their territory during the Anglo/ Norman invasion of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in 1172, but Sir John O'Reilly, Prince of Breffny surrendered the principality to Queen Elizabeth I thereby ensuring that his territories remained intact.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reilly research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 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 and printed products wherever possible.

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Notable amongst the family name at this time was Count John O'Reilly; Edmund O'Reilly (1598-1669), Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh; Hugh Reily (Reilly or OíReilly) (c.1630-1695) Irish Member of Parliament for Cavan Borough in the Patriot...

Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reilly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North Ameri ca. 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
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Reilly Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. John Reilly U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Reilly Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • James Reilly, who landed in Canada in 1834
  • Thomas Reilly, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Margaret Reilly, aged 23, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin, Ireland
  • John Reilly, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin, Ireland
  • John Reilly, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the ship "Edwin" from Dublin, Ireland
  • ...

Reilly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Reilly, a saddler, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • 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
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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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  • Thomas F. Reilly (b. 1942), American attorney and politician, 45th Massachusetts Attorney General
  • Michael Eugene Reilly (b. 1949), American Major League Baseball umpire
  • John Good "Long John" Reilly (1858-1937), American Major League Baseball first baseman
  • Kevin P. Reilly (b. 1949), American academic, 6th President of the University of Wisconsin System
  • John Christopher Reilly (b. 1965), American film and theatre actor, nominee of an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
  • Bill Reilly, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from Arizona, 1998
  • Bernard Reilly, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Wayne County, 1881-84
  • Bernard Reilly, American Democrat politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 7th District, 1862-64
  • Arthur P. Reilly, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1944
  • C. V. Reilly, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Michigan 17th District, 1932
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Reilly Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. John Reilly, Canadian Second Class Passenger from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914

HMAS Sydney II

  • Mr. James Bryan Reilly (1920-1941), Australian Acting Engine Room Artificer 4th Class from Yallourn, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
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  • Reilly of Ballintlea by Joseph F. Reilly.
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Citations



  1. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Other References

  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. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  5. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  6. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  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 20 April 2016 at 10:13.

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