Ceallach Mecklenburg Virginia -> Georgia Sept of the
O'Kelleys in America
O'Kelley or Kelley
Giolla Ceallaigh - Ua Ceallaigh O'Kelly - Kelly
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The O'Kelley Name

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Ui Ceallaigh of Eirinn
 Kelly Clan Association of Ireland

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Seeking Kelleys from Pike Co Arkansas

DNA -> Co Meath Ireland!

Long before I was born the identity of my immigrant ancestor who was said to have came to America before 1750 AD was disputed by the researchers of my family.  The purpose of this website is to give descendants the most common held views as to the identity of my ancestors and to share the limited documentation and research and encourage others to contact me and aid in correcting bad information.  From the testing of my DNA it seems likely that my ancestor may have came from around Old Castle Co Meath as an Irish Quaker convert.  In the 15th, 16th, and 17th century these O'Kellies were greatly reduced or murdered and scattered by the English who took their lands.  When the O'Kellies fought back, the English murdered any O'Kellie adults found at large and transported surviving O'Kellie children to Co Kerry and Co Sligo where they likely were adopted and given new surnames.  There is a growing body of DNA evidence and tradition stories that suggest that my line of O'Kelley were the O'Kellys of Bregia who before the coming of the English were one of the four Princes of Tara and they were seated just east of Tara in the Navan Upper Barony in Co Meath and Co Dublin.   It is said that the O'Kelly of Bregia were "distinct" or separate from but shared the same ancestors as the O'Kelly of Hy-Many something my DNA test results support.  From Ruth Barton Pullium of the line of Thomas O'Kelley comes a family tradition story handed down to her father from her grandmother  Selena O'Kelley who was the granddaughter of Thomas O'Kelley that our family came from  the O'Kelleys atTara in Co Meath and Ruth's family story can be supported by my closest DNA matches to two very unique surnames and the more common surname of Conley (O'Conolly) one of the other Four Tribes of Tara.  Of the rare and less common surnames, three share the name of the town of Easton just west of Dublin in the O'Kelley of Bregia country and the other  surname shares its name with the Royal Palace of Tailtean  or Talti (Talty) a place on the River Blackwater near modern day Teltown between Kells and Navan in Co Meath which was near the O'Kelly of Bregia Country.   Beginning in the mid 1500s several English Monarchs issued proclamations demanding the Irish drop their family names and take English Styled surnames after their occupations or the places they lived and I believe some O'Kellys did.  Before the coming of the English in 1172, Tailtean, pronouced as "Talti" was the place of the Irish styled "Olympics", it was the place where the princes of Ireland competed in games for the title of "Champion", honored their dead and formed marriage alliances so it was of great importance.  The O'Kelly of Bregia are said to descend from Aedh Slaine a 6th Century Monarch of Ireland and the last Chief was Congalach O'Kelly, lord of Bregia, who died A.D. 1292.  They are mentioned in an Irish Times Article reprinted in1889 California Newspaper Article and the Cambridge Press, Volume XXIV, Number 6, 11 May 1889The O'Kelley of Meath Pedigree is not as well known as the O'Kellys of Hy-Many mostly because unlike the Hy-Many line the O'Kelley of Meath didn't survive the English occupation, their line of kings were broken and no one was left to record their generations but maybe now DNA can restore some of their story.

I use to suspect that my immigrant ancestor may have been Giles Kelly who may have traveled down the River Barrow from Co Leix to Waterford where he either boarded or was transported by the ship St George and arrived in Maryland in 1677.  Once in America his descendants became protestant and migrated into Lancaster Co then to Prince George Co Virginia and into the portions that later became Brunswick Co Virginia and by the last half of 1700s  Giles Kelly's descendants were still living in Brunswick while my ancestors migrated to Mecklenburg Co which shares its eastern border with Brunswick Co.  There are marriage records that suggest that my ancestors interacted directly with Giles Kelly's descendants but it seems unlikely they were related as my ancestors changed their name from Kelly to O'Kelley after our revolution and none of the traceable Giles Kelly descendents changed their surnames.  My family has a long tradition that we descend from the "Old" Irish Kings so Ruth Barton Pullium isn't the only one of our family to tell a story of "prominence"  and this was likely the motivation for my ancestors to change their surname as to separate us from the "common" Giles Kelly descendants who live around my ancestors in Virginia.  More research has to be completed but I believe that most of our family mystery will be solved.  Please click on the Email Us link to aid our discovery.  I hope you enjoy your visit.  Click on my personal Coat of Arms to begin your journey back in time.    Rick O'Kelley, Webmaster

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Rick O'Kelley
14324 Briar Cr
Fayetteville, AR 72704
Chief Investigator   Much of the information found on this web site was provided to me by my Aunt Kathleen O’Kelley and originates from her independent research.  Some has it's source in the 1966 book by J Fred O'Kelly, titled "Some Descendants and Ancestral Kin of James Stamps O'Kelley and Lucy Woodruff England"; the 1969 book by Alethea Jane Macon, Four O’Kelley Sons and Some of their Descendants – Allied Families; Harold O'Kelley's 1985 book "Four Families Through Georgia", "The Life of Rev James O'Kelly" by W E MacClenny, some came from Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, on line books, US Census records, Newspapers, or other independent sources.   James O’Kelley and Anna Dean source documentation originates from five pages reported to have been created by Dr. Thomas Katlet O’Kelley, and the contents of some of those pages has been kindly shared by his great-great granddaughter, Judith (Knowles) Ries.  Judi is a published author of the book Ed O’Kelley: The Man Who Murdered Jesse James’ Murderer and A Patchwork of Memories, a Knowles/O’Kelley genealogy.  If you use any of Dr. O’Kelley’s data, please credit Judith Ries.  You may use any photograph or scan found on this website for non commercial purposes. 
Retired Chief Investigator
Washington Co Sheriff's Dept
Fayetteville, AR


This website has ran continuously on the Internet since 1 May 1997.  It is perhaps the oldest and most conclusive O'Kelley source on the net.


O'Kelleys in America
Webmaster:  Rick O'Kelley

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