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KEELY Family HistoryRecorded in a number of spellings including Kealy, Kealey, Keeley, Keely, Keiley, this is a surname of Irish or sometimes English, origins, and it is usually without a full genealogical study to decide which is which. If Irish, although often confused with the much more common Kelly, it in fact had a totally separate origin, being derived from the ancient medieval Gaelic name O' Caollaidhe, meaning the male descendant of the slim one! As to whom the 'slim one' was is unclear, but the majority of Gaelic surnames descend from a nickname for the original chief of the clan perhaps in the 13th century or earlier.
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