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

Early Origins of the Kiely family

The surname Kiely 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 Kiely family

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

Kiely Spelling Variations

One name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer because one must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English is a daunting task at the best of times. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Kiely 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 Kiely family (pre 1700)

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


United States Kiely migration to the United States +

The 18th and 19th centuries saw many Irish families immigrate to North America in search of land and opportunities. The largest influx of Irish immigrants to the United States and British North America came during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine laid waste to their homeland. Hundreds of thousands left the island in an attempt to escape the starvation and disease it brought. Although the arrival of such a large number of destitute Irish was not welcomed by the established population in the United States and what would become known as Canada at the time, these Irish were an essential element to the rapid development of these growing industrial nations. They filled the demand for the cheap labor needed for the work in factories and in the construction of bridges, roads, canals, and railways. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many immigrants bearing the name of Kiely or one of its variants:

Kiely Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Kiely, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1852 [4]
  • Michael Kiely, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854 [4]
  • Thomas Kiely, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854 [4]
  • Phillip Kiely, who arrived in Mississippi in 1883 [4]

Australia Kiely migration to Australia +

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

Kiely Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Michael Kiely, aged 43, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Emerald Isle" [5]
  • Edmond Kiely, aged 38, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland"
  • Ellen Kiely, aged 11, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland"
  • Richard Kiely, aged 38, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Sumner"
  • James Kiely, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Nugget" [6]

New Zealand Kiely 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:

Kiely Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Michael Kiely, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Inchinnan" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 27th May 1852 [7]
  • Thomas Kiely, aged 22, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alumbagh" in 1875
  • Margaret Kiely, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875
  • Michael Kiely, aged 21, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1879
  • Miss Mary Kiely, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Florida" arriving in Invercargill, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd August 1884 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Kiely (post 1700) +

  • Daniel Alan Kiely, American independent film actor and screen writer
  • Thomas Kiely (1892-1980), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Molly Maud Kiely (b. 1969), American alternative cartoonist
  • Mark Kiely, American actor
  • Leo Patrick Kiely (1929-1984), American pitcher in Major League Baseball
  • William P. Kiely, American politician, Mayor of Santa Clara, California, 1953-54 [8]
  • Philip A. Kiely (b. 1874), American Democrat politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives, 1906-07; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1936, 1940, 1944 [8]
  • John P. Kiely, American Democrat politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Ansonia; elected 1932 [8]
  • John J. Kiely, American Republican politician, Postmaster at New York City, New York, 1925-34 (acting, 1925); Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1932 [8]
  • JoAnne M. Kiely, American Republican politician, Delegate to Connecticut State Constitutional Convention 5th District, 1965 [8]
  • ... (Another 16 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  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. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 17th January 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Emerald Isle 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/emeraldisle1854.shtml
  6. ^ South Australian Register. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1858. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nugget1858.shtml.
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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