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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The Irish surnames in use today are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Creeley originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Raghallaigh. However, the connection of this name, which is also Anglicized as Crawley or MacCrawley, to the name Crilly is in actuality a matter of debate among scholars.


The surname Creeley was first found in County Londonderry (Irish: Doire), a Northern Irish county also known as Derry, in the province of Ulster, where they held a family seat since ancient times.

Names during the Middle Ages were often recorded under several different spelling variations during the life of their bearers. Literacy was rare at that time and so how a person's name was recorded was decided by the individual scribe. Variations of the name Creeley include Crilly, O'Crilly, Creely, Crely, Crillie, Creelie, Crelie, Crilley, Creeley, Creley and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Creeley research. Another 216 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Creeley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


More information is included under the topic Early Creeley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


The English-ruled Ireland of the late 18th and 19th centuries featured a rapidly increasing population and an agricultural-based economy. This combination proved to be disastrous in the 1840s after a couple of failed potato harvests. Thousands died of disease and starvation, and thousands more left the country, often bound for North Ameri ca. Those that survived the journey to North America were put to work building the bridges, canals, roadways, and railways needed for the development of an industrial society. Those Irish, although often despised by those already established in North American cities and towns, played an instrumental role in making Canada and the United States the powerful and wealthy nations that they are today. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has shown many immigrants bearing the name Creeley: Thomas Crilly, who sailed to America in 1812; Bernard Crilly, age 30; Bridget Crilly, age 25; Michael Crilly, age 19; John Crilly, age 3; and Ann, age six months, who all settled in Quebec in 1834.


  • Robert Creeley (1926-2005), American poet and author of more than sixty books

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    Other References

    1. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
    2. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
    3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
    4. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
    5. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
    6. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
    7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
    8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    11. ...

    The Creeley Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Creeley 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 15 December 2014 at 06:55.

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