Keilly 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 Keilly is O Cadhla, which is derived from the word "cadhla," which means "graceful." [1]

Early Origins of the Keilly family

The surname Keilly 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 Keilly family

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

Keilly Spelling Variations

Irish names recorded during the Middle Ages are characterized by many spelling variations. This preponderance of variations for common names can be explained by the fact that the scribes and church officials that kept records during that period individually decided how to capture one's name. These recorders primarily based their decisions on how the name was pronounced or what it meant. Research into the name Keilly revealed many variations, including 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 Keilly family (pre 1700)

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


Australia Keilly migration to Australia +

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

Keilly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Margaret Keilly, (b. 1810), aged 19, Irish nurse girl who was convicted in Waterford, Ireland for 7 years for vagrancy, transported aboard the "Edward" on 1st January 1829, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. Richard Keilly, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Corona" on 13th October 1866, arriving in Western Australia, Australia [5]

New Zealand Keilly migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Keilly Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Catherine Keilly, (b. 1841), aged 21, British dairywoman travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1862 [6]


  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th November 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/edward
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/corona
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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