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

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


  • 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
  • Tara Shannon McKelvey, American journalist
  • John Wellington McKelvey (1847-1944), American Major League Baseball player
  • Vincent Ellis McKelvey (1916-1987), American geologist
  • J. J. McKelvey (b. 1980), American football wide receiver
  • Joe McKelvey (d. 1922), Irish Republican Army officer who was executed during the Irish Civil War
  • Frank McKelvey (1895-1974), Irish painter from Belfast
  • William McKelvey (b. 1934), British politician, MP for Kilmarnock (1979-1983)
  • Patricia "Trisha" Frances McKelvey (b. 1942), former New Zealand cricketer



  • The Voyage from Ireland by W. Conrad McKelvey.

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  1. 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.
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  5. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  8. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  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 13 March 2015 at 14:14.

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