Ryley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Ryley family

The surname Ryley 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 Ryley family

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

Ryley 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 Ryley 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 Ryley 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 Ryley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Ryley migration to the United States +

In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Ryley family came to North America quite early:

Ryley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Ryley, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [1]
  • Anne Ryley, who landed in Virginia in 1653 [1]
  • Dina Ryley, who arrived in Maryland in 1662 [1]
  • Thomas Ryley, who arrived in Maryland in 1665 [1]
  • Richard Ryley, who landed in Maryland in 1668 [1]
Ryley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edmund Ryley, who landed in Virginia in 1712 [1]
  • Margaret Ryley, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [1]
Ryley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • David Ryley, who landed in America in 1811 [1]
  • Edward Ryley, aged 45, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Phillip Ryley, aged 19, who arrived in New York in 1849 [1]
  • Daniel Ryley, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]

Australia Ryley migration to Australia +

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

Ryley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Ryley, British Convict who was convicted in Portsmouth, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • Mr. Patrick Ryley, British Convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for life , transported aboard the "Commodore Hayes" in April 1823, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Thomas Ryley, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. John Ryley, Welsh convict who was convicted in Montgomery, Powys, Wales for life, transported aboard the "Chapman" on 12th April 1826, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Adam Ryley, English convict from Chester, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Ryley 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:

Ryley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ellen Ryley, (b. 1838), aged 28, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 5th January 1867 [7]
  • Mr. Ryley, American settler travelling from San Francisco aboard the ship "Dakota" arriving in Port Chalmers, South Island, New Zealand on 11th January 1873 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Ryley (post 1700) +

  • Samuel William Ryley (1759-1837), English actor and author, the son and only child of Samuel Romney, a wholesale grocer of St. James's Market, London
  • John Ryley (1774-1815), English mathematician, the eldest son of Samuel Ryley, a farmer and clothier, of Alcoates, near Pudsey, Yorkshire
  • Charles Reuben Ryley (1752-1798), or Riley, English painter, son of a trooper in the horse-guards, born in London, a student of the Royal Academy, where he obtained a gold medal in 1778 for a painting


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-cornwallis
  3. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 4th March 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/commodore-hayes)
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1826 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1826
  5. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 28th January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/chapman)
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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