Geneanet > Resources > Family Names > KELLY

Origin and popularity of the name KELLY

Origin

Kelly : 1: Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Ceallaigh or in some areas Mac Ceallaigh ‘descendant (or son) of Ceallach’ an ancient Irish personal name originally a byname meaning ‘bright-headed’ later understood as ‘frequenting churches’ (Irish ceall). There are several early Irish saints who bore this name. Kelly is now the most common of all surnames in Ireland.2: Scottish: habitational name from either the lands of Kelly near Arbroath (Angus) Kellie in Carnbee (Fife) or Kelly in Methlick (Aberdeenshire). Each of these placenames is from Pictish celli or Gaelic coille ‘wood’ + the placename forming suffix -in. Alternatively from the lands of Kelloe in the barony of Hume (Berwickshire) whose name is of uncertain origin.3: English: habitational name from Kelly (Devon). The placename probably derives from a British cognate of Cornish kelli ‘grove small wood’.

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Source : DAFN2 : Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, ©2022 by Patrick Hanks and Oxford University Press
FANBI : The Oxford Dictionary if Family Names in Britain and Ireland, ©2016, University of the West of England
FANBI : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain, ©2021, University of the West of England

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Last name frequency

Geographic distribution of the 141,554 individuals with the name KELLY on Geneanet.

 

Most found places for the name KELLY:

    This last name in the family trees

    See below the Geneanet members' family trees which contain the last name KELLY

    macloud
    (1,473 individuals)
    johnmorrisoniom
    (1,119 individuals)
    robfinn111
    (1,020 individuals)
    richard0911
    (994 individuals)

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    Variants of name KELLY

    KELLLY o'KELLY KELLIE KELLIJ