The O'Reilley surname originally appeared in Gaelic as O Raghailligh, which means descendant of Raghallach.
Early Origins of the O'Reilley family
The surname O'Reilley 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
, 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'Reilley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Reilley 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'Reilley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Reilley Spelling Variations
Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations
of the surname O'Reilley were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. O'Reilly, O'Reilley, O'Reily, O'Rielly, O'Riely, O'Riley, O'Rilley, Reel and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Reilley 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'Reilley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Reilley family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence
began, many Irish settlers took the side of England
, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland
at this time for North America and Australia
. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name O'Reilley or a variant listed above, including: the families who settled in Newfoundland - in St. John's, Tilton Harbour, Placientia, Tickle Bay, Tilt Cove, and many more, between 1805 and 1871; James O'Reiley settled in New York in 1823.
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