The name Gilrea has seen many modifications since the time in which it was first devised. In Gaelic it appeared as Mac Giolla Rua, which means son of the red-haired youth.
Early Origins of the Gilrea family
The surname Gilrea was first found in County Clare
(Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland
in the province of Munster
, where they were the Chiefs of Clonderlaw, conjecturally descended from Tiobraid, son of Iral Glunmhar, King of Ulster
O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
Early History of the Gilrea family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilrea research.Another 295 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1376, 1638 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Gilrea History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gilrea Spelling Variations
In the days before Gaelic or English gained any significant semblance of standardization, the scribes who created documents simply recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in the Middle Ages many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research into the Gilrea family history revealed numerous spelling variations
of the name, including Gilroy, Kilroy, MacGilroy, MacElroy, MacGreevy, Greevy, MacGilrea, McGilroy, McElroy, McGreevy, McGilrea, MacIlrea, McIlrea, Magilroy, Magilrea, MacElry, McElry, MacIlree and many more.
Early Notables of the Gilrea family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Gilrea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gilrea family to the New World and Oceana
, as an English-controlled colony in the 19th century, suffered the loss of hundreds of thousands of its native people. The system of land ownership often did not sufficiently provide for the tenants who farmed the land. This was most clearly evidenced in the Great Potato Famine
of the 1840s. Previous years of great demand for grain products and livestock had run the land down. Many landowners foreseeing an upcoming crisis often removed families from the land or forced them to rely on pitifully small plots where only a subsistence living could be made. When the famines of 1845, 46, and 48 hit, many had nothing. Disease and starvation became widespread and families boarded ships for elsewhere any way they could. Those who went to America were instrumental in developing the industrial power known today: many Irish were employed in hard labor positions in factories and in building the bridges, canals, roads, and railways necessary for a strong industrial nation. Research of early immigration and passenger lists has shown that many bearers of the name Gilrea: John MacElroy, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1798; and James Gilroy, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1864; they also settled in Massachusetts, New York, and California between 1765 and 1854. The Kilroys also settled in the above states between the same periods.
The 1984 edition of the ".