First Irish Born Protestant Anglican of my family
Tomas Ó Ceallaigh
 of Corvally Co Monaghan Ireland
Tomas was likely the son of
William Kelly Gentleman Dublin
 
 
Thomas O'Kelley or Tomas Ó Ceallaigh as his name would have appeared when he was likely born about 1555 AD in the Province of Meath somewhere east of Tara near the Irish Sea in Bregia and he was a descendent of the 141st Irish Monarch Aedh of Slaine Co Meath Ireland, every O'Kelley on this website has Irish Royal blood.  Because his descendant James O'Kelley came to America with his Irish surname intact and with the tradition story that we descend from the "old Irish High Kings" it seems likely he was also a descendant of the 172nd Irish Monarch Congall O'Kelley

In those days the counties didn't exist, they were just part of "Kingdoms" in Irish tradition and Earldoms in English tradition.  Monaghan was part of Kingdom of Airgíalla and Co Cavan part of the Kingdom of Breifne and Meath was its own province and also of the Nine Kingdom that descend from the Irish Monarch Aedh of Slaine and Meath included Bregia the great plain that extended from Tara east to the Irish Sea, Westmeath and parts of Co Cavan and Monaghan.  These were the places of my ancestors and Thomas O'Kelley was James O'Kelley's great, great, great Irish grandfather.  Co Monaghan was taken from the Earldom of Tyrone and shired in 1585 and settled by loyal English subjects by 1591.  Like other Gaelic Chiefs, Thomas likely felt he had little choice but abandoned his Irish Catholic faith surrender what ever lands he may have possessed in Co Meath or Louth and about 1585 become an Anglican Protestant and receiving lands as he appears in the Survey of County Monaghan in 1591 as "Thomas Kelly" a name forced upon him by the Engish, he is found in two places within the Parish of Tullycorbet Co Monaghan.  Queen Elizabeth believed the Gaelic surnames created disaffection of the English so to obtain free land she required the Irish Gentry to become Anglican and use an English styled surname.  Those were turbulent times in Ireland when if the English didn't kill you then your neighbors and family might.  Many of the Irish went back to being Catholic during the Nine Years War that soon followed but I have found no records to show that his descendents ever returned to the Catholic faith and his son William seem to become a devote protestant while his son Owen O'Kelley is found in a 1614 Pardon with many other Catholics.  Tullycorbet Parish sets north of Carrickmacross and south of Dough Parish both in Co Monaghan Ireland and these have become key locations for records about my early family.  Killnamaddy is located near Clones.  Corvally is 4 miles southwest of Drumbanagher Dough Parish which was a principal place for the McGonnells who DNA suggest to have broken off from the O'Kelleys in the 1400s. 

I believe this Thomas Kelly is my ancestor for a number of reasons but author and descendent Alethea Jane Macon claimed in her 1969 book that "Best Evidence" caused her to believe our ancestor to come from Ireland to America was Thomas O'Kelley but she fails to share her "best evidence" and I believe she based her belief on a misunderstood story handed down for 8 generations that identified Thomas O'Kelley as our first protestant Anglican Irish ancestor a man of great importance to so many of his protestant descendents so surely he was to be remembered. 

I don't yet know who Thomas O'Kelley married, her name may have been Elizabeth, she could even have even been an Elizabeth Deane hopefully there will be parish records and it seems certain that the William Kelley in Carrickmacross was his son.

Thomas O'Kelley "Gentleman" and my grandmother married in Ireland about 1560 and had the following children:

+2 ii. Owen O'Kelley born about 1587  
+3 iii. William O'Kelley or Liam Ó Ceallaigh was born about 1590 in Tullycorbet Parish in modern day Co Monaghan  
+4 iv. Daniel O'Kelley born about 1595