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O'Reiley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



The O'Reiley surname originally appeared in Gaelic as O Raghailligh, which means descendant of Raghallach.


Early Origins of the O'Reiley family


The surname O'Reiley was first found in County Cavan. They were known as the Princes of East Breffny, descended from Raghallaigh, Prince of Breffny in 981. They maintained their territory during the Anglo/ Norman invasion of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in 1172, but Sir John O'Reilly, Prince of Breffny surrendered the principality to Queen Elizabeth I thereby ensuring that his territories remained intact.

Early History of the O'Reiley family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Reiley research.
Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1598, 1669, 1630, 1695, 1689, 1640, 1703, 1689, 1646, 1691 and 1667 are included under the topic Early O'Reiley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Reiley 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 O'Reiley revealed spelling variations, including O'Reilly, O'Reilley, O'Reily, O'Rielly, O'Riely, O'Riley, O'Rilley, Reel and many more.

Early Notables of the O'Reiley family (pre 1700)


Notable amongst the family name at this time was Count John O'Reilly; Edmund O'Reilly (1598-1669), Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh; Hugh Reily (Reilly or O’Reilly) (c.1630-1695) Irish Member of Parliament for Cavan Borough in the Patriot Parliament of 1689; Philip Og O’Reilly (Gaelic was Phillip Óg O’Raghallaigh)(c.1640-1703), Irish...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Reiley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the O'Reiley family to the New World and Oceana


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 O'Reiley:

O'Reiley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James O'Reiley, who settled in New York in 1823

O'Reiley Family Crest Products



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