Saturday, August 9, 2014


What are the origins of the surname "Kilroy"?  According to, Kilroy is the anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac Giolla Ruaidh".  "Mac" means son of.  "Giolla" means servant or youth and "Ruaidh" means red-haired.  So basically, Mac Giolla Ruaidh means "son of red-haired youth".  Other equivalents of this surname are Mac Elroy, McElree, Gilroy and of course, Kilroy.

According to the "Kilroy Connection" by Hugh McGough, in the 1890 birth records the most people with the surname of Kilroy were found in County Mayo (47) followed by County Roscommons (with 34), County Galway (with 25) and County Cavan (with 19).

I read recently that you can tell which county/counties a person came from in Ireland by their surname.  Well, back to researching my Kilroy ancestors!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Until the middle of May of this year, the only Kilroy ancestors that I knew about were my 2nd great grandmother Ann Kilroy Chambers and her brother James Kilroy.  It is hard to build a family tree with only 2 people. I had hoped that one day I would find more Kilroys but it seemed like my research methods never yielded me any Kilroy results.  Then I received a message from a fellow member of one of my Irish Facebook groups, asking me if we were related.  I, of course, had zero idea if we were so I did the only thing I could think of -- email my cousin Betsy who has more information than me.  She answered "we probably are" and then sent me information on the Kilroy family.  

We can now trace our Kilroy family back to the patriarch Patrick Kilroy, who lived from 1730 to 1818.  Patrick was married to Honor McLoughlin (who lived from 1730 to 1790).  They had 6 children -- Edward, Peter, Patrick, James and 2 daughters.

James (and a spouse to be named later -- still looking for that information) were the parents of 6 children.  I am noticing a pattern here.  Their children were Patrick, Nora, Bridget, John, Peter and James.  The last child James and his wife Barbara Dever were the parents of my 2nd great grandmother Ann Kilroy Chambers.  

So, now, (thanks to Betsy) instead of 2 lonely Kilroy leaves, I have an actual Kilroy family tree.  I have lots more names for this tree and will talk about some of them in future posts.