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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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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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 Navan Co Meath.  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 where they likely were adopted and given new surnames.  There is a growing body of DNA evidence that indicate 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 north of modern day Navan Ireland in Co Meath but these O'Kellys were also  Chiefs of the O'Kelly Country at Athy in  Co of Kildare  and some researchers say they took their surname from Ceallach mac Ailello the Abbot of Kildare when he became the Abbot of Kells in the mid 800 AD.  It is said that the O'Kelly of Bregia were "distinct" or separate from but of the same blood line as the O'Kelly of Hy-Many.  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 this story can be supported by my recent DNA matches to the very unique surname of Talty which originates from Tailtean a place next to the O'Kelly of Bregia from where the Talty's came.  

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 and none of the traceable Giles Kelly descendents changed their surnames.  Our 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 this story of Irish royalty.   I think it likely our ancestors changing their surname from Kelly to O'Kelley to separate us from the "common" Kellys who live around them in Virginia who descended from Giles Kelly.  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 our family 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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