O'Reilly / Family History
ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives.
Many different spelling variations of the same name can be traced back to a single original root. Also, when a bearer of a name emigrated from Ireland it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books upon arrival at their new location. Some names have dozens of spelling variations. Some Surnames were also altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically, by their sound, and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another. This was especially so in Ireland where most Gaelic names were 'anglicized' at some stage.
Variants of the name O'Reilly
include Riley and O'Rahilly. This Irish sept had their territories in County Cavan, being the most powerful family in Breffny. They were kinsmen of the O'Conor Kings of Connacht, through Maolmordha, whose great grandson was Ragheallach from whom the O'Reillys took their name. Their Chief was head of Breffny-O'Reilly, and in the middle ages his influence extended into Meath and Westmeath. To this day they are still numerous in Breffny, heading as they do the County list both in Cavan and in Longford. In 1878 O'Reilly landlords possessed over 30,000 acres. Five O'Reillys have held the position of Archbishop of Armagh.The O'Reilly
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including O'Reilly