Kealey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

There are a multitude of ancient meanings and variations associated with the Irish surnames that are now common throughout the modern world. The original Gaelic form of the name Kealey is O Cadhla, which is derived from the word "cadhla," which means "graceful." [1]

Early Origins of the Kealey family

The surname Kealey was first found in County Waterford (Irish: Port Láirge), anciently the Deise region, on the South coast of Ireland in the Province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times. They are of the ancient kingdom of Ossory (Osraighe), conjecturally descended from the Kings and gentry of Ossory, the progenitor of which was Conla, the second son of Breasal Breac, King of Leinster, and descended to Ceallach who was ancestor of Teige McGillpatrick. [2]

"Kiely belongs mainly to Cos. Waterford and Limerick." [3]

Early History of the Kealey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kealey research. Another 152 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1190, 1630, 1645, 1689 and 1863 are included under the topic Early Kealey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kealey Spelling Variations

Names during the Middle Ages were typically recorded as they sounded and in many cases, one's surname spelling changed with each record. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Kealey family name include Keily, Keiley, Keilly, Kiley, Kily, Kiely, Kieley, Keeley, Keely, Queally, Quealy, Quelly, O'Keily, O'Keilly, O'Kiely and many more.

Early Notables of the Kealey family (pre 1700)

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

United States Kealey migration to the United States +

Irish families began leaving their homeland for North America in the late 18th century. These families were usually modestly well off, but they were looking forward to owning and working on a sizable tract of land of their own. This pattern of emigration continued until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine sparked a major exodus of destitute and desperate Irish people. These people were not leaving for a grant of land in North America because by this time the East Coast had reached its saturation point and free land was scarce. They were merely looking to escape the disease, starvation, and hopelessness that Ireland had fallen into. Although these unfortunate immigrants did not receive a warm welcome by the established populations in the United States and what would become Canada, they were absolutely critical to the rapid development that these two nations enjoyed. They would help populate the western lands and provide the cheap labor required for a rapid industrialization. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early bearers of the name Kealey or one of its variants:

Kealey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Lizzie Kealey, aged 20, who landed in America from Tullow, in 1898
  • Bridget Kealey, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States from Derry, in 1899
Kealey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mary Kealey, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from Derry, in 1904
  • Patrick Kealey, aged 31, who immigrated to the United States from Garagh, Ireland, in 1907
  • Sarah E. Kealey, aged 39, who landed in America from Wandsworth, England, in 1908
  • Thomas Edward Kealey, aged 2, who immigrated to America, in 1909
  • Catherine Kealey, aged 21, who landed in America from Dungwin, Ireland, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Kealey migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Kealey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Robert H. Kealey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Lilford" in 1839 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Kealey (post 1700) +

  • Steven William "Steve" Kealey (b. 1947), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1968 to 1973
  • Tom Kealey, American author, winner of the 2012 Flannery O'Connor Award
  • Lieutenant Gerald P. Kealey, U.S. Navy, medical officer at South Pole Station in 1971, eponym of the Kealey Ice Rise, Antarctica
  • Harold W. Kealey, American Republican politician, Mayor of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, 1960 [5]
  • Gregory Kealey (b. 1948), Canadian historian, founding editor of the journal Labour/Le Travail, Provost of the University of New Brunswick
  • Mitchell Kealey (b. 1984), Australian middle distance runner at the 2008 Summer Olympics
  • Ben Kealey, English musician, touring keyboardist for the rock band Kasabian
  • Terence Kealey (b. 1959), English Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  3. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY LILFORD 1839. Retrieved from
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from on Facebook