Ceallach Tara Co Meath Ireland ->Mecklenburg Virginia -> Georgia Sept of the
O'Kelleys in America
O'Kelley or Kelley
Giolla Ceallaigh - Ua Ceallaigh O'Kelly - Kelly
Ó Ceallaigh KilKelley

Kelley DNA Project
The O'Kelley Name

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Ui Ceallaigh of Eirinn
 Kelly Clan Association of Ireland

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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.  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 in 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.   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 atTara 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 said to descend from Aedh Slaine a 6th Century Monarch of Ireland and the last Chief was Congalach O'Kelly, lord of Bregia, who died A.D. 1292.  They are mentioned in an Irish Times Article reprinted in1889 California Newspaper Article and the Cambridge Press, Volume XXIV, Number 6, 11 May 1889The O'Kelley of Meath Pedigree is not as well known as the O'Kellys of Hy-Many mostly because the O'Kelley of Meath didn't survive the English occupation as s Sept, we were greatly reduced and after the death of Congalach O'Kelly, lord of Bregia (pronounced con-gal-ack), our line of kings were broken and no great families were left to record our generations but maybe now DNA can restore some of their story.  The O'Kelly of Bregia were said to be distantly related but distinct from the O'Kellys of Hy-Many and we came to use the Ui Ceallaigh (pronounced O'Kelley) surname maybe a full century before other lines.   My family has a tradition that we descend from the "Old" Irish Kings, that we spelled our name the way the old O'Kelleys did and their might be some truth as the O'Kelly of Bregia living around Dublin would have used an English spelling of their name well before the extra "e"s were removed.   Ruth Barton Pullium isn't the only one of our family to tell a story of "prominence"  and this was likely the motivation for my ancestors to change their surname as to separate us from the "common" Kelly descendants who live around my ancestors in Virginia.  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 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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