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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


The name Gilroy 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.

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The scribes and church officials of the Middle Ages who recorded names in official documents spelled the names as they sounded. This led to the problem of one name being recorded under several different variations and thus resembling more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Gilroy that are preserved in archival documents of this era include Gilroy, Kilroy, MacGilroy, MacElroy, MacGreevy, Greevy, MacGilrea, McGilroy, McElroy, McGreevy, McGilrea, MacIlrea, McIlrea, Magilroy, Magilrea, MacElry, McElry, MacIlree and many more.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clįr) 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. [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilroy research. Another 295 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1376, 1638 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Gilroy History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Gilroy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish emigration to North America began modestly in the late 18th century. At this time, Irish families made the journey to British North America and the United States by choice and after careful consideration: they were primarily in search of a suitably large stretch of land to call their own. This pattern would change most dramatically during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For example, the years 1825-1845 saw approximately 450,000 heading to British North America and 400,000 to the United States, but in 1847, at the height of the famine, it is estimated that more than 104,000 Irish immigrants went to British North America and more than 119,000 to the United States. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Gilroy:

Gilroy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John Gilroy, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765

Gilroy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles Gilroy, aged 19, landed in New York in 1812
  • Catherine Gilroy, aged 21, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Terrence Gilroy, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856
  • Patrick Gilroy, who arrived in Arkansas in 1860
  • James Gilroy, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1864


Gilroy Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Annie Gilroy, aged 19, who landed in America from Dromorew, in 1900
  • Anne Gilroy, aged 60, who landed in America from Komanagh, in 1901
  • Agnes Gilroy, aged 27, who landed in America from Cork, in 1903
  • A. John Gilroy, aged 18, who emigrated to the United States from Derrynure, Ireland, in 1906
  • Bartley Gilroy, aged 21, who landed in America from Ballina, Ireland, in 1907


Gilroy Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • Alfred Allison Gilroy, aged 39, who emigrated to Toronto, in 1904

Gilroy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John Gilroy, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Bluff, New Zealand aboard the ship "Christian McAusland" in 1875
  • Marion Gilroy, aged 19, a domestic servant, arrived in Bluff, New Zealand aboard the ship "Christian McAusland" in 1875

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  • Frank Daniel Gilroy (1925-2015), American playwright, screenwriter, and film producer and director, recipient of the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, The Subject Was Roses in 1965
  • Anthony Joseph Gilroy (b. 1956), American screenwriter and filmmaker, nominee for an Academy Award
  • Dan Gilroy (b. 1959), American screenwriter
  • Keith Gilroy (b. 1983), Irish footballer
  • Thomas Francis Gilroy (1840-1911), Irish born mayor of New York 1893-94
  • Jackie Gilroy (1942-2007), former Gaelic footballer
  • Freddie Gilroy (b. 1936), Irish Olympic boxer
  • Mr. Charles Stuart Gilroy (d. 1915), English Second Waiter from Bootle, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered
  • Brigadier Alistair Gilroy (1897-1968), British Commanding Officer 135th Brigade (1945)
  • Cardinal Norman Thomas Gilroy KBE (1896-1977), Australian clergyman


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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)

Other References

  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  8. 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.
  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. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  11. ...

The Gilroy Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gilroy 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 6 February 2016 at 10:04.

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