Kilroy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Kilroy has seen many modifications since the time in which it was first devised. In Gaelic it appeared as Mac Giolla Rua, which means son of the red-haired youth.

Early Origins of the Kilroy family

The surname Kilroy was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they were the Chiefs of Clonderlaw, conjecturally descended from Tiobraid, son of Iral Glunmhar, King of Ulster. [1]

Early History of the Kilroy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kilroy research. Another 148 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1376, 1638 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Kilroy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kilroy Spelling Variations

Irish names were rarely spelled with much consistency during the Middle Ages. As the many spelling variations of the name Kilroy dating from that time attests: Gilroy, Kilroy, MacGilroy, MacElroy, MacGreevy, Greevy, MacGilrea, McGilroy, McElroy, McGreevy, McGilrea, MacIlrea, McIlrea, Magilroy, Magilrea, MacElry, McElry, MacIlree and many more.

Early Notables of the Kilroy family (pre 1700)

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

Kilroy Ranking

In the United States, the name Kilroy is the 15,461st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]


United States Kilroy migration to the United States +

The 19th century brought a massive reduction in Ireland's population. It seemed that during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s the Irish people had two options: starve or immigrate. Those that chose the later frequently headed for the United States, hopeful for land, work, and equality. Those determined for free land joined the migration west; while others stayed behind to live in urban centers and often work in factories. Still others began a transitory life in work camps, building the bridges, canals, railways, and highways so critical to the rapidly development of the growing industrial nation. Early passenger and immigration lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name Kilroy:

Kilroy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Kilroy, who arrived in America in 1811 [3]
  • Bridget Kilroy, aged 26, who landed in New York in 1854 [3]
  • Ellen Kilroy, aged 13, who arrived in New York in 1864 [3]
  • James Kilroy, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [3]

Canada Kilroy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kilroy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Honora Kilroy, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Elizabeth" from Galway, Ireland
  • Michael Kilroy, aged 18, a yeoman, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Elizabeth" from Galway, Ireland
  • Michael Kilroy, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Trafalgar" from Galway, Ireland
  • Mr. Denis Kilroy, aged 29 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Convenanter" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in September 1847 [4]

Australia Kilroy migration to Australia +

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

Kilroy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Bridget Kilroy, (b. 1784), aged 29, Irish house keeper who was convicted in County Meath, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. Peter Kilroy, (b. 1778), aged 52, Irish convict who was convicted in Roscommon, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Edward" on 17th October 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died 1830 aboard [6]
  • Kitty Kilroy, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bute" in 1839 [7]

New Zealand Kilroy 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:

Kilroy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Kilroy, aged 26, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dallam Tower" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Kilroy (post 1700) +

  • Mary Jo Kilroy (b. 1949), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 2004 [8]
  • John B. "Jim" Kilroy (1922-2016), American sailboat owner and racer in the 1950s to the 1980s
  • Francis Joseph "Bucko" Kilroy (1921-2007), American football player and executive with the New England Patriots
  • Matthew Aloysius "Matt" Kilroy (1866-1940), American Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher
  • William Kilroy, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Bozrah, 1899-1902 [8]
  • Robert Walter Kilroy, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Indiana 9th District, 1986 [8]
  • John B. Kilroy, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1964 [8]
  • Jane Callan Kilroy, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Maine Democratic State Committee, 1945; Secretary of Maine Democratic Party, 1945; Candidate for Presidential Elector for Maine, 1956 [8]
  • Frank Kilroy, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1928 [8]
  • James Kilroy (1890-1954), Irish Fianna Fáil politician and farmer
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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. 38)
  5. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 2nd January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/catherine
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th November 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/edward
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY BUTE 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839LadyBute.gif
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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