Show ContentsNealy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Nealy is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion." 1

"Of the very great antiquity of this distinguished name and family there can be no doubt." 2

Early Origins of the Nealy family

The surname Nealy was first found in County Tyrone (Irish: Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, and County Clare where O'Neill was chief of Clan Dalvy and of Tradree, a district in the barony of Inchiquinn. In the 10th century, a branch of this family went to Limerick to assist in the expulsion of the Danes.

After one victorious occasion they wore green boughs in their helmets and on their horses' heads signifying their victory.

Early History of the Nealy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nealy research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1530, 1550, 1559, 1567, 1612, 1616, 1664, 1689 and 1694 are included under the topic Early Nealy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nealy Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Nealy revealed spelling variations, including O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.

Early Notables of the Nealy family

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Sir Niall O'Neill who distinguished himself at the Battle of the Boyne; Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone (c.1480-1559) King of Tir Eogain; Shane O'Neill (c.1530-1567), Irish king of the O'Neill dynasty of Ulster; Hugh O'Neill (c. 1550-1616), Earl of Tyrone, also known as the Great Earl...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nealy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nealy Ranking

In the United States, the name Nealy is the 4,150th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. 3

United States Nealy migration to the United States +

Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Nealy:

Nealy Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Teague Nealy, who landed in Virginia in 1655 4
Nealy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Nealy, who arrived in America in 1782 4
Nealy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J Nealy, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 4

Canada Nealy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Nealy Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Nealy, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750

Australia Nealy migration to Australia +

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

Nealy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Ann Nealy, aged 36, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Standard" 5

Contemporary Notables of the name Nealy (post 1700) +

  • Mike Nealy, American sports executive, President, CEO and alternate governor of the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League (2010-)
  • Frances E. Nealy (1918-1997), American actress, best known for her starring role in Harold Robbins' 79 Park Avenue (1977)
  • Eddie Carl "Ed" Nealy (b. 1960), American retired NBA basketball player who played from 1982 to 1993
  • Barrick Nealy (b. 1983), American-born, form NFL and CFL football quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings (2006) and the Calgary Stampeders (2006-2010)
  • Erin Nealy Cox (b. 1970), American attorney, United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (2017-)

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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 Monday 18th December 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Standard 1854. Retrieved on Facebook