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The meaning of 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’. Some characteristic forenames: Irish Brendan, Kieran, Aileen, John Patrick, Siobhan, Liam, Brigid, Donovan, Eamon, Parnell, Aidan, Clancy.
Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.
How common is the last name Kelly in the United States?
Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname "Kelly" has seen a slight decline from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, Kelly ranked as the 69th most common surname, while in 2010, it dropped five spots to rank 74th. Despite its lower ranking, the actual count of individuals with the Kelly surname increased by 2.69%, from 260,385 in 2000 to 267,394 in 2010. However, when looking at proportion per 100,000 people, there was a decrease of -6.08, moving from 96.52 in 2000 to 90.65 in 2010.
|Proportion per 100k||96.52||90.65||-6.08%|
Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Kelly
The distribution of ethnic identity among those with the Kelly surname also saw changes between 2000 and 2010, according to data from the Decennial U.S. Census. In 2000, the largest percentage of Kellys were white, at 80.39%, but this decreased slightly by -2.86% to 78.09% in 2010. The second largest group identified as black, which increased slightly from 15.48% in 2000 to 16.22% in 2010. The percentage of Kellys identifying as Hispanic saw the greatest increase of 55.49%, moving from 1.73% in 2000 to 2.69% in 2010. There were also increases among those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and those identifying with two or more races, while the percentage of American Indian and Alaskan Native remained relatively stable.
|Two or More Races||1.35%||1.81%||34.07%|
|American Indian and Alaskan Native||0.55%||0.54%||-1.82%|
kelly ancestry composition
23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Kelly is British & Irish, which comprises 58.2% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (17.5%) and Eastern European (5.3%). Additional ancestries include Italian, Scandinavian, Spanish & Portuguese, Nigerian, and Ashkenazi Jewish.
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|British & Irish||58.2%|
|French & German||17.5%|
Possible origins of the surname kelly
Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.
Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Kelly have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.
|RECENT ANCESTRY Location||Percentage|
|Greater London, United Kingdom||85.70%|
|Glasgow City, United Kingdom||85.70%|
|Merseyside, United Kingdom||85.60%|
|Greater Manchester, United Kingdom||85.40%|
|West Midlands, United Kingdom||85.20%|
What kelly haplogroups can tell you
Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.
The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Kelly is R-S660, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-S660 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-L21 and R-CTS241, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Kelley, Murray, Neal, Hughes, Patterson, Connor, Kane, Mcdonald, Carroll, Conner.
The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Kelly surname are: H, T2b, H1. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.
Your paternal lineage may be linked to Niall of the Nine Hostages
The spread of haplogroup R-M222 in northern Ireland and Scotland was likely aided by men like Niall of the Nine Hostages. Perhaps more myth than man, Niall is said to have been a King of Tara in northwestern Ireland in the late 4th century C.E. His name comes from a tale of nine hostages that he held from the regions he ruled over. Though the legendary stories of his life may have been invented hundreds of years after he died, genetic evidence suggests that the Uí Néill dynasty, whose name means "descendants of Niall," did in fact trace back to just one man who likely bore haplogroup R-M222, a branch of R-M269.The Uí Néill ruled to various degrees as kings of Ireland from the 7th to the 11th century C.E. In the highly patriarchal society of medieval Ireland, their status allowed them to have outsized numbers of children and spread their paternal lineage each generation. In fact, researchers have estimated that between 2 and 3 million men with roots in north-west Ireland are paternal-line descendants of Niall.
Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette
Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.
What do people with the surname Kelly have in common?
Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.
Chocolate Ice Cream
Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.
"Kelly" Surname 41.0%
23andMe Users 41.3%
When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.
"Kelly" Surname 27.1%
23andMe Users 27.9%
Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.
"Kelly" Surname 20.4%
23andMe Users 21.1%
An allergic reaction to cats, characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and difficulty breathing.
"Kelly" Surname 39.7%
23andMe Users 36.7%