Ceallach Tara Co Meath Ireland ->Mecklenburg Virginia -> Georgia Sept of
James O'Kelley in America
O'Kelley or Kelley
Giolla Ceallaigh - Ua Ceallaigh O'Kelly - Kelly
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Ui Ceallaigh of Eirinn
 Kelly Clan Association of Ireland
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." - Albert Einstein

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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.  My four year investigation concludes that my ancestor to come from The O'Kelleys of Tara, Co Meath Ireland was James O'Kelley who first married Anna Dean and after her death married Elizabeth Dean and he died at the Battle of Brandywine Sept 11 1777.   From the testing of my DNA it seems likely that my ancestor came from around Kells Co Meath influenced by the Irish Quakers at Oldcastle but there are two published sources that claim he was a Protestant Episcopal Minister and that is a likely explanation why so many English descended women married his sons.   He may have been the son of William Kelly a merchant in Kells who died in 1748 and William's death and an inheritance prompted my ancestor to set sail for America.  From Ruth Barton Pullium 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 at Tara in Co Meath and Ruth's family story can be supported by my closest DNA matches to two very unique surnames and  also supported by a close match to the more common surname of Conley (O'Conolly) also one of the other Four Tribes of Tara.  It is likely my ancestors were one of the Septs of the O'Kelly of Bregia pronouced "Brey" and they are found on the map due east of Tara Tara is the Irish seat of power, it is the coronation place of the Monarchs of Ireland.

Dr John O'Hart and others seems to think that all O'Kellys of Meath,  descend from Nail of Nine and are seated in the south at Naas along the Kildare border but I think just as most people incorrectly believe all O'Kellys descend from the O'Kellys of Hy-many, I believe the O'Kellys of Meath have all been incorrectly confused to all descend from Nail of Nine and my DNA and family tradition story indicate, I do not descend from Nail of Nine indicating that the O'Kelly of Tara had a different ancestor than the O'Kelly of Meath who O'Hart puts living at Naas Co Kildare .   DNA seems to be turning this on its ear as my family claims to come from Tara and I appear in Group 15B while the Naas Co Kildare O'Kellys appear in Group 16A and they too do not have Nail of Nine DNA markers.  The O'Dempseys are noted on my map only because they are my sons maternal grandfathers, the O'Dempseys are not related to the O'Kelley at Tara.

Ruth Barton Pullium isn't the only one of our family to tell a story of our family's "prominence"  and this was likely the motivation for my ancestors to use O'Kelley as to separate us from the "common" Kellys who live around my ancestors in Virginia.  My family tradition says we were always O'Kelley, we came from Ireland as O'Kelley, and we lived in Virginia as O'Kelley so it seems likely that we were recorded in the records as Kelley solely because those writing our names didn't know how to write it as O'Kelley.   Even in my lifetime, people have difficulty with this,  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 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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