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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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

The Irish surname McKelvey originally appeared in Gaelic as "Mac Fhiodhbhuidhe," which is probably derived from the word "fiodhbhadhach," referring to "a woodman."


A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name McKelvey include McEvoy, Evoy, McGilloway, McVeagh, McVeigh, McAvoy, McElwee, McElwy and many more.

First found in Wexford (Irish: Loch Garman), founded by Vikings as Waesfjord, and located in Southeastern Ireland, in the province of Leinster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McKelvey research. Another 241 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1100 and 1563 are included under the topic Early McKelvey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the McKelvey name:

McKelvey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James McKelvey, who arrived in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1767

McKelvey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William McKelvey, who arrived in America in 1802
  • David McKelvey, who was naturalized in South Carolina in 1805
  • Hugh McKelvey, who was naturalized in Allegheny Co. , Pennsylvania in 1807
  • Hugh McKelvey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1807
  • John McKelvey, aged 27, landed in New York in 1812

McKelvey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James McKelvey arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ernestina" in 1865
  • Mary A. McKelvey arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ernestina" in 1865
  • David McKelvey, aged 20, a ploughman, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878


  • J. J. McKelvey (b. 1980), American football wide receiver
  • Vincent Ellis McKelvey (1916-1987), American geologist
  • John Wellington McKelvey (1847-1944), American Major League Baseball player
  • Tara Shannon McKelvey, American journalist
  • Richard McKelvey (1944-2002), American political scientist
  • Andrew McKelvey (b. 1935), American founder, chairman, and CEO of TMP Worldwide, the world's largest seller of yellow page ads
  • Frank McKelvey (1895-1974), Irish painter from Belfast
  • Joe McKelvey (d. 1922), Irish Republican Army officer who was executed during the Irish Civil War
  • The Very Reverend Robert Samuel James Houston McKelvey OBE, QVRM (b. 1942), current Dean of Belfast
  • Joan G. McKelvey, Canadian judge of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench



  • The Voyage from Ireland by W. Conrad McKelvey.

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  1. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  11. ...

The McKelvey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McKelvey 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 9 November 2015 at 10:54.

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