It is generally accepted that the most common surname in Ireland is Murphy, but that isn’t necessarily the case.
On www.ireland-genealogy.com, the name that appears the most is Kelly – so I have decided to give you a little information on this name.
The Irish for ‘Kelly’ is ó Ceallaigh, with the most common alternative spellings of this name as O’Kelly, O,Kelley, Kelley & Kellie.
So when researching your family history, remember to check all derivations of the name to make sure that you have not missed anything. This being said, of the hundreds records we have where the applicant’s surname is Kelly, only one uses an alternative! (O’Kelly).
Taking this one step further, I thought I would see where these Kellys were living in the middle of the 19th century.
There were Kelly’s nearly everywhere but no Kelly’s in Carlow or Laois (Queens) applied for a search of the 1841 or 1851 census to be done. The top 5 in the search were :
..and the prize for the county with the most Kelly’s applying to have a search made of the census goes to…………
There are a lot of famous Kelly’s out there also. I don’t think that there is such a thing as a list of the Top 10 famous people with the surname Kelly, but if there was, the Irish actor Frank Kelly who plays Father Jack in the hysterical TV series Father Ted would have to be in there. And who could forget the beautiful, elegant Grace Kelly or the incredibly handsome and talented Gene Kelly. I wonder how many “famous” Kelly’s could claim that they have Irish roots!
Next time I’ll give you some information on the 2nd most recurring name.
Can anyone guess what that might be?
If you’re the first person to guess correctly on our Facebook page I’ll do your surname also!
And I’ll give you one big clue; it is not “Murphy”…