Reiley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Reiley family

The surname 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 Reiley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our 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 Reiley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Reiley Spelling Variations

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Reiley were encountered in the archives: O'Reilly, O'Reilley, O'Reily, O'Rielly, O'Riely, O'Riley, O'Rilley, Reel and many more.

Early Notables of the 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 Reiley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Reiley Ranking

In the United States, the name Reiley is the 16,031st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]


United States Reiley 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 Reiley:

Reiley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Reiley, who landed in Virginia in 1715 [2]
  • Elizabeth Reiley, who landed in Virginia in 1723 [2]
  • Jeremiah Reiley, who landed in Virginia in 1723 [2]
  • Margaret Reiley, who landed in Virginia in 1723 [2]
  • Patrick Reiley, who landed in America in 1798 [2]
Reiley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jane Reiley, aged 35, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1812 [2]
  • Ellen Reiley, aged 30, who arrived in America in 1821 [2]
  • Philip Reiley, who arrived in America in 1828 [2]
  • Thomas Reiley, who landed in New York in 1836 [2]
  • Owen Reiley, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1837 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Reiley migration to Australia +

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

Reiley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Reiley, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 8th April 1821, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • John Reiley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Nicol" in 1840 [4]
  • Philip Reiley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Aboukir" in 1847 [5]
  • Thomas Reiley, aged 20, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Switzerland"

New Zealand Reiley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Reiley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Reiley, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Sevilla" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1859 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Reiley (post 1700) +

  • Robert J. Reiley AIA (1878-1961), American architect in New York
  • William M. Reiley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1860, 1864, 1876 [7]
  • Terence P. Reiley (1967-2000), American politician, Mayor of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, 1998-2000 [7]
  • T. De Witt Reiley, American politician, Mayor of New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1879-81 [7]
  • Mame Reiley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008; Member of Democratic National Committee from Virginia, 2004-08 [7]
  • John I. Blair Reiley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1900, 1916, 1924 [7]
  • John Reiley, American politician, Delegate to Ohio State Constitutional Convention from Hamilton County, 1802 [7]
  • Henry Baker Reiley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1944 [7]
  • Edward D. Reiley, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Hudson County, 1862 [7]
  • Abraham Lincoln Reiley (b. 1864), American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1920 [7]


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/countess-of-harcourt
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WILLIAM NICOL. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840WilliamNichol.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ABOUKIR 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Aboukir.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook