The original Gaelic form of MacNealy was Mac an Fhailghigh, which is derived from the word failgheach, which means poor man.
from ancient times.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacNealy research.Another 199 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1120, 1653, 1680 and 1697 are included under the topic Early MacNealy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations
for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name MacNealy were encountered in the archives: McNally, McAnully, McAnalley, McAnally and others.
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia
. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the MacNealy family came to North America quite early: Bernard, Biddy, Charles, George, Henry John, Michal, Patrick, Thomas and William McNally all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860; Daniel, Francis and Patrick McAnully all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.