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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish Kelleher family come from? What is the Irish Kelleher family crest and coat of arms? When did the Kelleher family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kelleher family history?

Irish surnames are linked to the long Gaelic heritage of the Island nation. The original Gaelic form of the name Kelleher is "O Ceileachair," which means "companion dear."


Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Kelleher are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include Kelleher, O'Kelleher, Kellehar, Kellegher and others.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kelleher research. Another 173 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 101 and 1014 are included under the topic Early Kelleher History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Many Irish families boarded ships bound for North America in the middle of 19th century to escape the conditions of poverty and racial discrimination at that time. Although these immigrants often arrived in a destitute state, they went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. An inquiry into many immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants to North America bearing the Kelleher family name:

Kelleher Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Honoria, James, Joanna, John, and Mary Kelleher all settled in Boston in 1848
  • Dan Kelleher, aged 29, arrived in New York, NY in 1849
  • Daniel Kelleher, aged 69, landed in New York, NY in 1849
  • John Kelleher, aged 36, arrived in New York, NY in 1849
  • Kitty Kelleher, aged 26, landed in New York, NY in 1849

Kelleher Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jeremiah Kelleher, aged 25, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Charity" from Kinsale
  • Catherine Kelleher, aged 25, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Charity" from Kinsale
  • David Kelleher, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Levant Star" from Cork
  • Cornelius Kelleher, aged 28, a carpenter, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Levant Star" from Cork
  • Mary Kelleher, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork

Kelleher Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Kelleher, aged 23, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Stamboul"

Kelleher Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Kelleher, aged 29, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • Catherine Kelleher, aged 23, a domestic servant, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1878


  • John Patrick Kelleher (1893-1960), American Major League Baseball backup infielder
  • Herbert D. Kelleher (b. 1931), American co-founder, and Chairman Emeritus and former CEO of Southwest Airlines
  • Mick Kelleher (b. 1947), American Major League Baseball player
  • Tim Kelleher, American writer, actor, and director
  • Robert Joseph Kelleher (1913-2012), American tennis player and official, inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (2000)
  • Robbie Kelleher, former all- Ireland winning Gaelic footballer
  • Billy Kelleher (b. 1968), Irish Fianna Fáil politician
  • Humphrey Kelleher (1946-2005), Irish former footballer
  • James Francis "Jim" Kelleher PC, QC (1930-2013), Canadian politician, Member of the Senate of Canada (for Ontario) (1990-2005)
  • Victor Kelleher (b. 1939), award-winning Australian author


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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  2. 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.
  3. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  4. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  8. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  9. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Kelleher Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kelleher 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 13 November 2014 at 23:50.

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