Last name: Kelly

This interesting surname, with variant spellings Kelley and Kellie, has three distinct possible origins. Firstly, it is an Anglicized form of the great Old Gaelic name "O'Ceallaigh". The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal byname "Ceallach" meaning "strife" or "contention". The main (O')Kelly clan belonged to Ui Maine (mid Galway and South Roscommon), and the reigning chieftain, O'Ceallaigh (circa 1351), was a renowned patron of the arts. O'Kelly of Gallagh, whose claim to the designation chief of the name is officially recognised is entitled to be called the O'Kelly. The much lamented Grace Kelly of Monaco was of Irish stock. The surname may also be of English locational origin, from a place thus called in Devonshire, recorded as "Kelli" in the 1194 Pipe Rolls of that County, and named with the Welsh/Cornish "celli", grove. In 1521, the birth of Henry, son of William Kelly and Jane Trecarrell, was recorded in Kelly, Devonshire. Finally, the name may be of Scottish territorial origin from the lands of Kelly near Arbroath, Angus, named with the Gaelic element "coille", wood or grove. John de Kelly, noted in "Scottish Acts of Parliament" was abbot of Arbroath in 1373. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Warin de Kelly, which was dated 1194, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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Brittany Kelly

Hi! I was looking at college application essays when I stumbled across a question that asked me to write about the origin of my last name. I'm sixteen, and I have to say, I've never really given this any thought. My dad is half-Filipino and half-Irish. His dad was Irish and served in the U.S. Air Force (a long tradition in my family) and met my grandmother in the Philippines. I don't know anything about my Irish roots, because my grandfather died before my parents even met, and my parents never talk about the past or family history. So, learning all of this stuff about my name was pretty cool.

Natalie Kelly
Hi my last name is Kelly aswell I am name after my dad is name is lee Kelly and I have never meet him I wood love to meet him I don't no much about him and is family

David M. Kelly
I am David Michael Kelly, of Wyandotte, Michigan, USA. I am 17, and the first great-grandchild in a boatload of Kellys on my mom's side, as it is also her maiden name.
My Great-Grandpa, Michael Isadore Kelly is originally from Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. He married my great-grandma, Lillian Theresa Kelly (formerly a Lahey, of Main-A-Dieu, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada), and they had four kids:
In order:
Theresa Michele Kelly married to Robert "Cook" Wielgosz, both currently of Allen Park, Michigan.
My grandma that I live with, Mary Diane Kelly(married to Gary Sokoll) currently of Wyandotte, Michigan.
Thomas "Bernie" Bernard Kelly, currently of Kentucky.
and Richard Kelly, currently of Dorr, Michigan, who married as well. .

My great-grandparents currently live in the village of Port Hope, Michigan, having lived in Detroit since moving from Nova Scotia in 1965.

Kimesha Kelly
I am from Jamaica, so is my father and his father, unfortunately i dont know much about the rest of family before my grandfather. i heard there were 2 brothers with the last name Kelly from Ireland that came to jamaica, but got separated from each other. HELP!

Don Hamilton
My grandmother maiden name was Kelly, she was born in Washington County, Kentucky. Her fathers name was Edward Dominic Kelly, his father was Daniel Kelly, his father was John Kelly. Daniel came to America from Ireland in the early 1800s. Daniel's father John and his wife remained in Ireland and are buried there. I have not been able to find out, where in Ireland or anything else about John or his wife Margaret J Cotton Kelly.

Jamie Kelly
My dad is from Middlesbrough any one else?

Simon Kelly
My grandad was from Galway .and my dad was born in manchester.i want to vist galway

Jeremy Kelly
My Great Papy on my fathers sides last name was Brantley. When my Nonna married Ronald Kelly Senior her last name changed from Brantley to Kelly finding out that my nanny's mothers maiden name was Francis Godwin who was part of the great depression. My Papy was a part in the Veitnam War(which was really a conflict not concepted as a war officially) and World War 2. My mothers maiden name was Sonya Parks and her parents names were and still are Danny parks sr. and Judy Parks and Jusy's father was also in WW2 and her mother who is still alive was a nurse during that time. Judy's mothers parents were also a part of the great depression as well and both them and the Godwin family were alive during the jewish holocaust but were still under the origin following the paths of the Irish origin which had my name as Kelly. Knowing myself as a teenager that isnt that bright i got all this info from all these people in my family origin/history from anyone to my papy Brantley and my nanny. Big tree!

Donna Perfect
My 4x's Great Grandmother's name was Bridget Kelly. Her parents were Richard Kelly and Ellen or Catherine Dempsey from Cork County, Ireland. Bridget married John William Dempsey (records also show him as William John). Bridget and her family ported at Boston. I don't have much information on them. No brothers or sisters names. Bridget was born abt. 1836 or 1840.

James Kelly
Great to see a large list of great people! My grandfather landed in Montreal back in the early 1900's. His home farm in Ireland still stands and my uncle has visited it several times. We have relatives also in Pennsylvania. My uncle Peter Kelly (family first born here in Canada) is very successful owning industrial plants and real estate, as well as the inventor of some important things in their time to which I hear he has patents. Good luck to all you kellys and hopefully we will bump into each other one day :)

jackie kelly
i have just found this site by accident I'm so glad i did, i am very proud to be a Kelly my farther is Irish and came from slygo, im not sure of the correct way to spell that his name is Dominic Kelly he would be in his 70s now. i haven't seen him since i was a young child i know he moved to Yorkshire in the 60s n moved again to derbyshire in the early 70s, im very interested in any info of my farther or his family or even about that part of Ireland if anybody can help would be appreciated

Hi Jackie, This might help Dominic mother was a Fallon and Dominic has three brothers John born 1939,Patrick born 1935, Martin born 1931 and a sister May born 1932.

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Hi Jackie It looks like Mary Kate Fallon and John W Kelly were his mother and father. Census for Mary Kate Fallon 1911.

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Carolyn Kelly
I just luck up on this site. My father was George Kelly, Mother Frankie Lee Williams- Kelly both born in New Orleans, La. I don't know much about my father's family. He had a sister Name Margarite, and a brother known as Junior Kelly. My mother and father side of the family, all originated from some part of Louisiana. All of there children was born in La. Some spoke a little (broken) French. I've forgotten a lot over the years.

Michael Kelly
Greetings fellow Kelly Clan Members ! I am told that we may also have French origins (however possibly as a result of close relations between Ireland and France way back). The family name Killy in France (or similar spelling) also exists.

Amber kelly
Well my name is Amber Marie Kelly live in Chicago illinois I am 18 and i received my last name from my father who is from Kingston Jamaica his name is James Kelly. he has 9 children. Ann Marie Kelly- originally from Kingston Jamaica but she has been living in England since she was seven and she is now in her thirties. Johnathan Kelly who we found in 2010 of which we'd been looking for him for years he now lives in Chicago where most of us are . Nastassja hall- Kelly who is 28, veronica and Vernon Kelly who are twins both 28. Veronica is the author of "Don't Tell Your cousin" and "I Should've Told Her". Keenan Kelly 22, Ky'ree Kelly 20, and me Amber Kelly 18. We have another brother name washburn but i do not know his where abouts never met or talked with him. I grew up with Keenan ky'ree veronica Vernon and tassja and now johnathan is in my life and ann marie i talk to her. My father's dad is ragnald i believe that's how you spell it kelly from Kingston Jamaica. he lived in the Mountains in a mansion in Kingston Jamaica but just recently died over the summer. i never met him unfortunately. i have plenty of uncles and aunties of whom i don't know in Jamaica but the kellys who are here is my aunt joyce kelly, my cousin chantelle Kelly and cousin Michael kelly.

peter kelly
i am trying to my uncle William{willie} Kelly.he left dun laoghaire for Manchester in the 30's.i think his last address was desmond ave.dun laoghaire.his parents names were Peter and Mary Kelly.i am the only son of Willie's brother John {Jack}Kelly.i don't if Willie married.if so i would love to meet up with his family.regards Peter Kelly

Charles Mathis
I am looking for the kelly's that moved from Ireland to America and have toad as there inlaws my grandma on my mom's side can't remember much about her dad's family the only thing she told me was we are Irish

Evelyn Kelley
My 89 year old uncle provided his DNA for the Kelley/Kelly project. It seems we are not related to anyone. At one time I thought we might descend from John Kelley, who resided in North Carolina. It was said most of his sons came to Jefferson County, Mississippi, and one of them was a William Kelley. Now that we have done the DNA, I'm not sure we did descend from him, and if we don't, I have hit a brick wall; even with DNA.

Same here! Related to a Denis Kelley of Southern Ohio. Can't find hide nor hair of him!

Phillip Kelly
The John Kelley to whom you refer lived in Fairfield County SC. Several of his children did relocate to Jefferson County, Mississipi, Hinds, etc. I am in the DNA study no. 44088. My email is

Lisa Kelly
Wow, this is really pretty awesome. I , too am a Kelly. I would be very interested to see pictures of everyone on this site. I am certain we'd be totally amazed!

DaniElle Kelly
Wow this is great! My Great x7 grandmother came over on a convict ship, where she met her future husband, free settler Kelly. I'm going to assume he had moved to England and then on to Australia? Ah tis good to be Irish!

Brian Kelly
Hallo, I have no idea where I come from exactly but was told to be from Ireland.If anyone can help me find my great grandfathers origins, I would be forever grateful. It's really difficult not knowing.

margaret kelly
my kelly family originate from county kildare in ireland my grandmother was margaret kelly and she had few sisters called barbara and dinah not knowing anyone else. my mother was born in ireland also county kildare she was called elizabeth kerrigan,as my grandmother married thomas kerrigan.also from that part of irelandthen they moved to scotland

George L. Kelly
Interesting, I have Y-dna matches of 10 other male Kelly's listed on and would like to compare with any other Kelly that has taken dna tests. Have my Kelly ancestors back to 1751, Walter Kelly from Timahoe, Co Kildare to near Camden, SC. George L. Kelly;

My family is from various parts of Ireland. I am not sure the exact ties but our ancestor John Glackin came over in the early 1800's to MD/PA area. I believe the Kellys came to Phili area. My Pop Pop was 2nd gen in the US I think? My Mom Mom's maiden name is Silk and I also believe she was 2nd-3rd gen in US.

Mark Kelly
My wife Lorraine Kelly is a genealogist, she earns a living finding your ancestors. She can create a folder logging most of your ancestors. All you have to do is tell her the basic details like who your grand parents were and the their date of birth if you have it and she'll do the rest. If your interest please contact her at

Marlene M. (Kelly) Budde-Jangula
I am a Kelly from NE Iowa. My father was Joseph Francis Kelly and his father was Michael D. Kelly, both worked in the Post Office and Grandpa Kelly was also a teacher/principal. I have always been very proud to be Irish and celebrate every St. Patrick's Day. Ah, tis good to be Irish!!!!

Hello, I carry Kelly as my surname, but I am from the Caribbean. It was my grandmother's maiden name, and she was from the island of St Lucia. Anyone with caribbean roots ?

bianca kelly
This was a very informative article. I've always been interested in finding out about my ancestry, now I think ill do a little more digging.

My name is Diana Lynne Kelly, born 13/7/1951 in St Mary's Hopsital Paddington, London. My Mothers name as far as I know is Sheila Mary Kelly. Do any of you know of a Sheila Mary Kelly born in the early 1930's Please email me at! thanks xxx

Kay Kelly
I have always been proud of my Kelly...of course I am married now and have a different last name...but I came across this in search of my family's crest. I don't a whole lot about my family's past, but I know that i'm a Kelly and that's all that has ever mattered to me.

Lauren Kelly
Whoo-hoo proud to be a Kelly!

joe kelly
and so you should be lauren I am joseph kelly although my family moved from southern ireland to glasgow area many generations ago , there was much movement in between nations pre history the celtic race from spain moved to eire and then on to scotland the celtic kings of scotland were crowned in dunadd .dalriada being the old name for their scotland. this place traded with cornwall eire greece and is now reckoned egypt from before 500 bc dunadd was prob a world known port as it was one of the few places in europe ,which was then the known world that was not under roman rule so in this time its population must have exploded . This population lived at mostly in peace with a pictish (celtic) nation .and eventually broke the retreating romans defences to reclaim their lands of strathclyde. so strife is about right lol

Meghan Kelly
im trying to find out some of my ansestry but im stuck on wheather or not the kelly clan was a clan by itself or a clan that originated from the O'Kellys or some other clan that had to drop their prefix. Anybody know?

tracy emm
i think the Kelly clan was a part of another one i am from the kelly clan as my grandfather was from glasgow and all so the family came from Ireland ( slygo)

marsha if its scottish its still really will never be english as even the cornish version is celtic...the english aint celts they are german immigrants hence they are anglo saxons denoting their origins..the cornish were native britons related to fellow native britons the welsh and cousins to the irish.

Marsha Kelly
I always assumed my Kelly surname was Irish but now it appears I could be Scottish or English??

Sean Kelly
My dad comes straight out of the country, first one to come to America, he won't tell me much about "The old country", this is really good info

Johnathan Kelly
Kelly is Irish and Kelly Baronry in Scotland was settled by warriors from south mayo when they defeated native British tribe in that part of Scotland in circa 10 22