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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

(Ireland) (Variants: O Ceileachair, Keller) Sable, three acorns in pale, or, between two pales argent, a chief or. Source: Maclysaght.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Kelleher Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Meaning, Origin, Etymology
Kelleher is an anglicized spelling of the Irish surname derived from Ó Céileachair, meaning “descendant of Céileachar”; Céileachar is a personal name for “spouse-loving”, “companion dear”, or “lover of company”. Kelleher, and its variants Keliher, Kellaher etc., are the English versions of the Irish name O Ceileachair, from ceileachar, meaning “uxorious” “overly fond of one’s wife”,. The original Ceileachair from whom the family claim descent was a nephew of Brian Boru, and part of the famous Dal gCais tribal grouping. Although the family originated in Clare, homeland of the Dal gCais, they migrated south-east to Co. Cork in the fourteenth century and it is now in that county and the adjoining Co. Kerry that the surname is most frequently found. It is sometimes abbreviated to “Keller”, a name more usually associated with Germany, and in this form is recorded in Co. Cork. The first Ceileachair was the nephew of the famous Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, and the founder of the Clan O’Brien. He died in battle it is said, in the 10th century. The O’ Kellehers were in former times inhabitants of County Clare, but in the 14th century either voluntarily or under threat from other sources, they migrated mainly to County Cork, although with a branch in the adjoining County Kerry. Surprisingly given that the clan has one of the most ancient and honourable antecedents in Irish history, its numbers have certainly since the Middle Ages, remained quite small, estimated at about five thousand, and its prominence largely confined to County Cork where it is understood to have provided at least one Lord Mayor of the city, and a number of church men. A number of members of the clan did emigrate during the period of the infamous Potato Famine of 1846 – 1848. These included Julia Keller, aged thirty, and recorded as a labourer, with her two infant children Mary-Ann and John, who left for New York on the ship “Kalmazoo of Liverpool” on March 24th 1846, and Daniel Kelleher, aged twenty four, who left Queenstown, County Cork, on the ship “John-Ravenel”, also bound for New York, on April 20th 1847.

Spelling Variations
Kelleher, O’Kelleher, Kellehar, Kellegher

Early Marriage Records for Kelliher
Mgt. Kelliher married Patrick Sullivan September 10, 1826 in Roman Catholic, Killarney, Kerry, Ireland
Cornelius Kelliher married Margaret Horrigan November 15, 1851 in Abington, Lim, Ireland
Cathe. Kelliher married Andrew Bell April 21, 1836 in Saint John, Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Bartholomew Kelliher married Hanora Riordan February 7, 1837 in Roman Catholic, Dromtarriff, Cork, Ireland
John Kelliher married Brigid Cronin February 5, 1837 in Roman Catholic, Dromtarriff, Cork, Ireland
Hanora Kelliher married Philip Scully February 18, 1838 in Roman Catholic, Dromtarriff, Cork, Ireland
Julia Kelliher married Patrick Swiney February 10, 1839 in Roman Catholic, Dromtarriff, Cork, Ireland
Mary Kelliher married Patrick Field February 11, 1839 in Roman Catholic, Dromtarriff, Cork, Ireland
Cornelius Kelliher married Mary Walsh February 7, 1839 in Roman Catholic, Dromtarriff, Cork, Ireland
Michael Kelliher married Joanna Sullivan February 12, 1839 in Roman Catholic, Dromtarriff, Cork, Ireland
Daniel Kelliher married Mary Denahy September 23, 1840 in Roman Catholic, Dromtarriff, Cork, Ireland

Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Kelliher ranks 86,409th in popularity worldwide as of the 2014 Census and approximately 5,623 people carry the Kelliher surname worldwide. The name ranks particularly high in the following states: Massachusetts (864), Nevada (515), New York (181), California (152), Virginia (151), Illinois (148), Florida (133), Wisconsin (130), New Jersey (105), Connecticut (101), New Hampshire (97), Maryland (92), Colorado (67), Minnesota (61), Pennsylvania (58), Washington (53), Texas (51), Arizona (49), Rhode Island (49), Michigan (41), North Carolina (35), Alaska (33), Missouri (29), Nebraska (26), Maine (24), Georgia (20), Tennessee (20), Utah (16), Alabama (15), Indiana (15), South Carolina (13), Vermont (12), District of Columbia (11), Oklahoma (11), Oregon (11), Hawaii (8), South Dakota (7), Ohio (6), Wyoming (6), Arkansas (5), Kansas (5), Delaware (4), Idaho (2), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (2), Montana (2) and New Mexico (2). It ranks highest in the following countries: United States (3,440), Ireland (1,083), England (426), Australia (312), New Zealand (235), Canada (85), Scotland (10), Wales (9), Northern Ireland (5), Italy (2), Germany (2), United Arab (2), Kenya (1), Mexico (1), Morocco (1), Netherlands (1), Sierra Leone (1), Spain (1), Thailand (1), France (1), Fiji (1), China (1), Chile (1) and Brazil (1).

History, Genealogy & Ancestry
The Book of Irish Families, Great & Small by: Michael C. O’Laughlin
O’Kelleher (Irish Book of Arms plate 207) O Ceileachair, Kelliher, Keller
The O’Ceileachairs or O’Kellehers were originally of Co. Clare. Family members may trace their line back to a nephew of the last great high-king Brian Boru. The family name is still found in Clare, but the great majority of the name are found in Counties Cork and Kerry at the end of the last century. In fact, the majority of the name are found transplanted in Co. Cork in the 14th century. Spelled as Kelleher (with an ‘e’) there were 92 recorded births in Cork and Kerry. Spelled as Kelliher (with an ‘i’) the name is more widely distributed, and 24 births were recorded under that spelling in the 1890 index. Confusion may exist in the variant spelling of ‘Keller’ more properly a German surname. None the less, in Ireland, Keller can be a form of Kelleher. O’Hart says the O’Kellehers held lands from the 12th to the 16th centuries in Munster, but could not locate the family pedigree. “Donogh O’Kelleher, Bishop of Ossory, died in 1048 A.D.”, the foregoing seems to be the earliest reference seems to be the earliest reference to the name from O’Hart at any rate. Other early references are hard to find, if at all. From the same source we find that the Rev. Kelleher, of Glanworth, Co. cork, represented the senior branch of this sept. A younger branch of the family was represented by Alderman Keller, of Cork, during O’Harts time, thus showing the change from Kelleher to Keller at that point in time.

The Irish and Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell Came to Ireland: Or, A Supplement to Irish Pedigrees
85.-THE “KELLEHER” FAMILY. THE family of Kelleher or Keller, in Irish O’Ceileachair (“ceileach”: Irish, wise, prudent), derive their surname from Ceileachar, son of Donchuan, brother of Brian Boroimhe [Boru], the 175th Monarch of Ireland, who (see p. 108 of the Third Edition of our “IRISH PEDIGREEs,”) is No. 105 on the “O’Brien” (Kings of Thomond) pedigree. In the twelfth, and even so late as the sixteenth century, the O’Kellehers were possessed of lands in Munster; but the pedigree of the family is, we fear, lost. “Donogh O’Kelleher,” successor of St. Kieran of Saiger, i.e. Bishop of Ossory, died, A.D. 1048. The late Rev. — Kelleher, P.P. of Glanworth, county Cork, represented the senior branch of this Sept. A younger branch of the family is represented by Alderman Keller, of Cork.

Early American Immigration and New World Settlers

Kelleher Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Honoria, James, Joanna, John, and Mary Kelleher all, who settled in Boston in 1848
Dan Kelleher, aged 29, who arrived in New York, NY in 1849
Daniel Kelleher, aged 69, who landed in New York, NY in 1849
John Kelleher, aged 36, who arrived in New York, NY in 1849
Kitty Kelleher, aged 26, who landed in New York, NY in 1849

Kelleher Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Jeremiah Kelleher, aged 25, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig “Charity” from Kinsale, Ireland
Catherine Kelleher, aged 25, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig “Charity” from Kinsale, Ireland
David Kelleher, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig “Levant Star” from Cork, Ireland
Cornelius Kelleher, aged 28, a carpenter, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig “Levant Star” from Cork, Ireland
Mary Kelleher, aged 30, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque “Robert Watt” from Cork, Ireland

Kelleher Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
John Kelleher, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship “Stamboul”

Kelleher Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
John Kelleher, aged 29, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship “Bebington” in 1876
Catherine Kelleher, aged 23, a domestic servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship “Apelles” in 1878

Kelliher Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Cornelius Kelliher, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship “Glentanner”

Kelliher Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
James Kelliher, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship “Countess of Kintore” in 1875
Margaret Kelliher, aged 28, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship “Countess of Kintore” in 1875
Margaret Kelliher, aged 4, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship “Countess of Kintore” in 1875
Martin Kelliher, aged 1, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship “Countess of Kintore” in 1875
Maurice Kelliher, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship “Edwin Fox” in 1875

Notables
Bill Kelliher (b. 1971), American guitarist of heavy metal band Mastodon
Margaret Anderson Kelliher (b. 1968), American politician, 56th Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives (2007-2011), Minnesota House Minority Leader (2006-2007)
Walter J. Kelliher, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1964
Annie G. Kelliher, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1924
Richard Kelliher (1910-1963), Irish-born, Australian soldier awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII
Robert Joseph Kelleher (1913-2012), American tennis player and official, inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (2000)
Mick Kelleher (b. 1947), American Major League Baseball player
Herbert D. Kelleher (b. 1931), American co-founder, and Chairman Emeritus and former CEO of Southwest Airlines
John Patrick Kelleher (1893-1960), American Major League Baseball backup infielder
Tim Kelleher, American writer, actor, and director
Frank H. Kelleher, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1964
F. Michael Kelleher Jr., American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 15th District, 2000
Edward J. Kelleher, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 1st District, 1926
Daniel Jerome Kelleher, American Republican politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from New York County 7th District, 1909
Carrie Kelleher, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 30th District, 1998

Civil War Veterans
Andrew Kelliher, 2nd Regiment, California Infantry, Union, California
Andrew Kelliher, 25th Regiment, New York Cavalry, Union, New York
Corenlius Kelliher, 20th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Cornelius Kelliher, 9th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Daniel Kelliher, 124th Regiment, Indiana Infantry, Union, Indiana
Dennis Kelliher, 14th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Union, Illinois
James Kelliher, 18th Regiment, Connecticut Infantry, Union, Connecticut
James Kelliher, 140th Regiment, New York Infantry, Union, New York
Jeremiah Kelliher, 6th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Jerimiah Kelliher, 4th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Union, New Hampshire
Jerry Kelliher, 9th Regiment, Louisiana Infantry, Confederate, Louisiana
John Kelliher, 30th Regiment, Maine Infantry, Union, Maine
John Kelliher, 16th Regiment, Maine Infantry, Union, Maine
John Kelliher, 59th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
John Kelliher, 20th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
John Kelliher, 1st Regiment, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Union, Massachusetts
John Kelliher, 4th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
John F. Kelliher, 18th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Union, Illinois
John T. Kelliher, 11th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Maurice Kelliher, 7th Regiment, Michigan Cavalry, Union, Michigan
Michael Kelliher, 9th Regiment, Connecticut Infantry, Union, Connecticut
Michael Kelliher, 28th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Michael Kelliher, 2nd Regiment, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Union, Massachusetts
Michael Kelliher, 2nd Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry, Union, New Hampshire
Patrick Kelliher, 1st Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (Colquitt’s), Confederate, Arkansas
Patrick Kelliher, 9th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Patrick Kelliher, 88th Regiment, New York Infantry, Union, New York
Patrick Kelliher, 8th Regiment, US Infantry (Regular Army), Union, Union Regular Army
Paul Kelliher, 6th Regiment, Connecticut Infantry, Union, Connecticut
Richard Kelliher, 2nd Regiment, Maine Infantry, Union, Maine
Solomon Kelliher, 6th Regiment, Maine Infantry, Union, Maine
Terrence Kelliher, 22nd Battalion, Georgia Heavy Artillery, Confederate, Georgia
Thomas Kelliher, 151st Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Union, Illinois
Thomas Kelliher, 11th Regiment, Massachusetts, Union, Massachusetts
Thomas Kelliher, 17th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, Confederate, Virginia
Timothy Kelliher, 59th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Timothy Kelliher, 2nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Timothy Kelliher, 2nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
Timothy Kelliher, 1st Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Union, Michigan
William Kelliher, 124th Regiment, Indiana Infantry, Union, Indiana
William Kelliher, 9th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Union, Massachusetts
William Kelliher, 6th Regiment, US Infantry (Regular Army), Union, Union Regular Army

Kelleher Coat of Arms Meaning

See glossary for symbol meaning.

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