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

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

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


Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Reel dating from that time include O'Reilly, O'Reilley, O'Reily, O'Rielly, O'Riely, O'Riley, O'Rilley, Reel and many more.

First found in County Cavan, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reel research. Another 233 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1598, 1669, 1630, 1695, 1689, 1640, 1703, 1689, 1646 and 1691 are included under the topic Early Reel History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 123 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Reel or a variant listed above, including:

Reel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Simon Reel, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1729
  • Jonnas Reel, aged 38, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1742
  • Matthias Reel, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749
  • William Reel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1761

Reel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Reel, aged 27, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1832
  • Henry Reel, who arrived in Texas in 1835
  • James Reel, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • Daniel Reel, who arrived in Texas in 1835
  • Solomon Reel, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851


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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  4. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  11. ...

The Reel Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reel 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 6 December 2014 at 22:24.

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