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

Early Origins of the Keily family

The surname Keily 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 Keily family

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

Keily Spelling Variations

Many variations of the name Keily were found in archives from the Middle Ages. These variations can be somewhat explained by the challenge of translation of Gaelic names into English. Hence, the spelling and language in which the people's names were recorded was often up to the individual scribe. Variations of the name Keily found 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 Keily family

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

United States Keily 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 Keily or one of its variants:

Keily Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jeremiah Keily, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1818
  • James Keily, who settled in New York State in 1853
  • Richard C Keily, who arrived in Illinois in 1856-1864 [4]
  • J.M. Keily, aged 46, who immigrated to the United States from London, in 1893
  • Margaret Keily, aged 18, who landed in America from Steadford, in 1897
Keily Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John J. Keily, aged 31, who landed in America from County Waterford, Ireland in 1900
  • James Keily, aged 26, who landed in America from Antrim, in 1904
  • Denis Keily, aged 44, who landed in America from Kinsale, Cork, Ireland, in 1907
  • Henry Alexander Keily, aged 44, who settled in America from London, England, in 1907
  • Anastatia Keily, aged 25, who landed in America from New Ross, Ireland, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Keily migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Keily Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Mary Keily, aged 78 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Herald" departing 20th May 1847 from Dublin, Ireland; the ship arrived on 26th June 1847 but she died on board [5]
Keily Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Elsa Keily, aged 33, who settled in Ontario, Canada, in 1924

Australia Keily migration to Australia +

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

Keily Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Keily, aged 18, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "David Malcolm" [6]
  • Honora Keily, aged 20, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Nashwauk" [7]

New Zealand Keily 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:

Keily Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Keily, (b. 1849), aged 18, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Glenmark" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th November 1867 [8]
  • Miss Ellen Keily, (b. 1852), aged 15, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Glenmark" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th November 1867 [8]
  • Nicholas Keily, aged 18, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Keily (post 1700) +

  • John Joseph Keily (1854-1928), Irish clergyman, Bishop of Plymouth (1911 to 1928)
  • Arthur Patrick Keily (1921-2016), British marathon runner at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and the 1960 Summer Olympics
  • William "Bill" Keily (b. 1878), Canadian trapper and photographer, co-eponym of Redfern-Keily Provincial Park, British Columbia
  • Mortimer "Dan" Keily (b. 1892), Australian rules footballer

  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. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 81)
  6. South Australian Register Wednesday 5th January 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) David Malcolm 1854. Retrieved
  7. South Australian Register Monday 14th May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nashwauk 1855. Retrieved
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook