|Thanks to many..
My journey to discover my ancestors began in
my parents home in 1966 when I was only
12 and my father received his copy of
J Fred O'Kelly's book, "Some Descendents and Ancestral Kin
of James Stamps O'Kelley and Lucy Woodruff
England". I recall warm summer evenings visiting
Love Cemetery and the
Lucy my second great grandparents in a
cemetery only a mile from my childhood home and sometimes my
grandparents would come and they would
tell their grandsons about their paternal ancestors. By
the time I became a man, I was distracted by all the things that
capture a young man's attention but my parents had given their
sons a copy of the O'Kelley Coat of Arms so I was never that far
from my desire to know more. Over the decades the task to
collect data about our ancestors was taken on by several of my
aunts and in 1995 when I opened the first Internet business in
Northwest Arkansas my aunt Kathleen O'Kelley
came to visit my office and she asked me to host the first "Thomas
O'Kelley" genealogy website.
I had a lot on my plate in those days, running an Internet
business took a lot of my time and effort so from 1997 until
2010 the Thomas O'Kelley website mostly set dormant, it was
publicly available but rarely was any research or additions made
to it but that was about to change. In 2008 I near died
from a Brain Aneurysm and by 2010 I was nearly healed. I
had put off working on the Thomas O'Kelley website always
thinking there would be time when I retired, I nearly ran out of
time so I slowly turned my attention, but I knew nothing about
genealogy so I felt unqualified to mess with something my aunt
had put so much of her life into then it occurred to me. I
am a retired homicide investigator, if I am not qualified to
conduct a "cold case" investigation, then who is. I took
on the role but first I had to educate myself about the
genealogy process and the damage from my aneurysm make this more
difficult, but I slowly moved forward running into many brick
walls and like a maze, down many blocked alleys. I had my
DNA tested and began
to use the same methods that I used to solve murders and slowly
my investigation began to take shape and produce results but
only because many people opened up and provided me data that
wasn't available to J Fred O'Kelly,
Macon, and Harold Earnest
O'Kelley. They would have likely come to
different conclusions if they had access to what I have, so I am
not making their work invalid, I am just on the same journey and
I have traveled further down the road to the next place.
As more Irish records come on line, I am sure some of my work
will become invalid but I think the "nucleus" will remain true.
We are the O'Kelley of Bregia and we have our own unique
Coat of Arms.
The primary question now is who will take this on after I am
I want to thank those who aided me in my journey.
||For caring about our ancestors and buying
J Fred O'Kelly's book.
||For passing on what they knew and for encouaring
their grandsons to care about our ancestors. Most
families can't trace past their own grandparents, some
don't even know who their father was but my grandparents
could trace back to the ancestor who came from Ireland
in 1748, they gave me a huge start.
J Fred O'Kelly
||For taking the time to research and compile his 1966
book which created my interest in my ancestors.
Alethea Jane Macon
||Who in her 80s she took the time to research and
compile her book which is the cornerstone of all
O'Kelley Pedigrees. Macon's book is read even by
the native Irish who seek to know what became of their
American cousins. I especially thank Ms Macon
where on page 2 in her book she says "I
think it advisable to leave this work to some other
member of the family who, I hope will use this volume as
a nucleus for a real history of the interesting
O'Kelleys". I hope I did Ms Macon
justice because to challenge her work was like
challenging the bible, it wasn't something that came
Harold Earnest O'Kelley
||for his beautiful book, "Four Families Through
Georgia" and the research and hard work he did in
reporting his findings.
||My aunt Kathleen who passed the torch and encouraged
me to put her genealogy data about our family on the
Thomas O'Kelley website.
||Dave is an O'Kelley descendant via his mother, they descend
Thomas O'Kelley and Elizabeth Wyers.
Dave provided valuable information but more importantly
he provided great wisdom reminding me that data is only
one aspect of genealogy, it is how one interprets that
data that is critical.
||Judith is a descendent Benjamin
O'Kelley and Mary Williams and their great grandson
Dr Thomas K O'Kelley and she
possess the only know copy of our family pedigree
written before 1908 and in her great grandfather's hand.
This pedigree begins with James
O'Kelley and Anna Dean and while Judith shared this
information, I had to do a lot of work to prove it and I
an satisfied that it was written by
Dr Thomas K O'Kelley, it is the
oldest known pedigree and I believe 90% of it is likely
valid and of the 10% that I find questionable, none of
it is critical, it was likely just due to minor errors
when the information was passed from one generation to
Sandra Clare Thompson
||Sandra is a descendent of Francis and Delilah
O'Kelley and a grandniece of Effie
Kate O'Kelley who was one of
Alethea Jane Macon's major sources for her book
"Four O'Kelley Sons and their Descendents". Sandra
is also the daughter of Mary Evelyn
O'Kelley who wrote her college paper in the 1960s
identifying my ancestor as James O'Kelley and not
Thomas. This proved the before J Fred O'Kelly and
Alethea Jane Macon's books that it was well accepted
in the line of Benjamin and Francis that James O'Kelley
was the name of our ancestor and the belief that Thomas
was our ancestor's name came into being only because
Alethea Jane Macon said it was so in her book.
Sandra provided me the source for how the O'Kelley of Hy-many
Coat of Arms came to be associated with our family.
Ruth Barton Pullium
||She posted in Genforum in 2000 that her grandmother
Selena Avaline O'Kelley handed
down a story that we came from the O'Kelley at Tara Co
Meath Ireland. I had heard this story before but
dismissed it but with DNA results always pointing me to
Co Cavan and Co Monaghan this story took on new meaning.
||For putting all the old books on line and giving us
a great search engine.
This investigation was a challenge but all good puzzles are and
while I think my "case" has been solved, there are still
questions that in time will likely be answered, if not by me, by
the next generations who will follow me.
Many people contributed and many will continue to contribute.