Newsletter No. 77

We invite you to join the clan and make and meet new friends, they might even be related. Our DNA project could help you there.

By joining you will learn and help keep the story of our remarkable ancestors alive. Our recorded history reaches as far back as the 4th century. Our Clan chief is a member of the Standing Council of Clann Chiefs and Chieftains of Ireland which is recognised by the Irish state and that’s something to be proud of.

So we are calling all Kellys, as did Tadhg Mor Ó Ceallaigh in 1014 when he called upon the O’Kelly clan to muster and fight the Viking invader. That’s part of our clan history – bet you didn’t know that. 

Go to our web site , select ‘join us’, fill in the application (and bob’s yer uncle) and start playing your part in keeping your clan history alive.  If you wish to pay by a method other than PayPal, contact Tina O’Kelly at

If you wish to find out more, phone 

Joe at + 353 86 8138552  or Mary at + 353 86 3296475

In this issue:

Letter from the Editor
Uachtaran, Joe (Cav) Kelly
Finding my Irish DNA – Gerald Kelley
Email sent to Aidan Kelly dated 27 August 2020
New Members
Contact Us
Subscriptions to Kelly Clans
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Letter from your Editor – Judy Kelly Fausch

Judy Kelly Fausch
Judy Kelly Fausch Editor

It seems we are corresponding again in a world of confusion in so many areas.  Our Kelly Clan is moving forward steadily but cautiously.  The notice on p.1 encourages new members, and was written by our new Uachtaran, Joe (Cav) Kelly.  He was recently voted in by the Council.  We welcome Joe and his enthusiasm for spreading the word about our group and his knowledge of and ability to share so much Clan history.  

We also owe a great deal of gratitude to our Chieftain, Bob O’Kelly, for his outstanding leadership and steady guidance of the organization during a time of great change and upheaval.  And he will continue to play an important role on the Council.

We don’t know what the near future brings, but we’re hopeful we can meet the challenges as we move forward.  Please feel free to share any ideas or comments you have with the Council members.  Your input is always welcome

Uachtaran, Joe (Cav) Kelly

Members – Thank you to all who have paid their membership fees.

New Members

Failte Ui Cheallaigh (O’Kelly Welcome) to these new members: 

John Kelly, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Thomas F Kelly

Mariah Kelly, Roscommon, IR

Paddy Naughton, Galway, IR

Daniel Curley, Roscommon, IR

Mariah Kelly, Roscommon, IR

Brian Kelly, Dublin, IR

Brian Kelly, Dublin, IR

Bridget Kelly, Northampton, UK

Gerry Kelly, Co. Offaly, IR

Contact us with comments, questions, information to share.

Contact Us

Council Members

Count Robert O’Kelly -  Chieftain -

Joe (Cav) Kelly - Uachtaran -

Countess Tina O’Kelly - Treasurer/ Cisteoir -

Michele O Kelly Browne - Secretary/ Runai -

Mary Kelly - Asst Secretary/Runai -

Aidan Kelly - Coordinator, DNA Study -

Judy Kelly Fausch - Newsletter Editor -

Council Members

[Editor’s Note:  In corresponding with Gerald Kelley regarding this article about the search for his ancestors, he commented that: ”The key for anyone looking into DNA and the Kelly group is the large number of members in the group and the leadership guiding the program.  DNA is a numbers driven endeavor.  The larger the group the sooner you will realize success.”  I think this is a strength of our DNA study led by Aidan Kelly and Raymond Kelly.]

Finding my Irish DNA – Gerald Kelley

My story began like many others.  My parents rarely said anything about our family history.  In their defense, perhaps one must consider the dynamics of just having come out of the Great Depression and WWII and it was more about looking forward than back.  On the other hand, we (I have three brothers) didn’t ask many questions, especially about family history.  So the basic question of where the Kelleys came from was left at that – somewhere in Ireland.

My grandfather Timothy Kelley (1862-1939) died 4 years before I was born.  His wife, my grandmother Mary Mae, lived with us for some time before moving to a town twenty miles away.  Like all grandmothers, she could bake, and as a teenager, my interests were more about cookies and cakes.  She died in 1964 when I was 21 and I never learnt much about my grandfather’s family history from her – she may not have known much about it, either.  At this point, I was aware of 3 generations:  Timothy Kelly (1862-1939), John Kelley (1913-1979) and Me (1943.)

In 1961, I left my home town for college and then left college to join the Air Force.  After that, I went to work for Boeing.  Many years later, I finally finished college and after that, I eventually retired from Boeing in 2000.

My first exposure to any paper records of my family history was after my father, John M Kelly, died in 1979, aged 65.  These included the baptismal certificate of my grandfather Timothy Kelly (1862-1939.)  Noted on that certificate were additional names:  James Kelly/Catharine Dyer Kelly and Timothy Kelly/Ellen Mehan Kelly.  The only name I knew on this certificate was my grandfather, Timothy Kelly (the third son of James Kelly.)  I didn’t know the others, but I soon learned that James (1840-1939) was my great-grandfather and Timothy Kelly (1838-?) was his brother; both born in Illinois.  I now had 4 generations:  James (1840-1923,) Timothy Kelly (1862-1939,) John Kelly (1913-1979) and Me (1943-.)

Armed with this information, I wrote to my dad’s first cousin Grace Kelly (my dad’s uncle’s daughter.)  When I was growing up, she lived in the next town north of us (Elgin, Illinois – home to the Elgin watch factory.)  I can remember her visiting our house a few times and I considered Grace could be a possible source of more information about our shared family history.  However, my timing was off-the-mark.  She passed away in the spring of 1980, a few months before the letter reached her address.  As it turned out, a young man I had never met before wrote and told me of her passing; but he was not able to offer up any additional family information.  I set the letter aside with the intent of following up on it, but several house moves later, the letter was misplaced.

Grace never married.  She had one brother, Wiliam T. Kelly (1888-1961) and he had one son, Wesley (1923-?)  (Wesley would be my second cousin.)  Grace and William were my father’s first cousins – all the grandchildren of James (1840-1923.)  I knew about Grace but my dad never mentioned William, and I had never heard of him until I started my family research. He died in 1961, the year I graduated from high school, and is buried only ten miles from where I grew up.  They are listed in the 1940 census as living in Wyoming:  William, aged 51, his wife Florence, aged 40 and Wesley, aged 17.

With no answers on the horizon, I started looking through the Mormon records and material at the local library.  I looked on and off for several years but only got serious after I retired in 2000.  By that time, so much more was being made available online; and Citrus County, Florida, where I was then living, had a genealogy group.  I finally decided to join because they regularly brought in speakers to give guidance to amateur researchers like me.  With this, plus the local Mormon library, I finally had some tools to work with.

I soon learned where my Kellys were buried and confirmed the names of James’ children and his father, my great-great-grandfather, William M. Kelly.  The census records show he was born in 1802 in Ireland and died in Illinois in 1879.  I now had 5 generations:  William Kelly (1809-1879,) James (1840-1923,) Timothy Kelly (1862-1939,) John Kelley (1913-1979) and Me (1943-.)

William’s tombstone recorded both helpful information and troublesome information.  The helpful information was that he was born in Sligo County, Ireland.  For me, that was a big home run.  The troublesome information was the townland or parish was called Asliey.  Or, at least, that is how it looked like it was spelt – but Asliey didn’t seem to exist.  I asked around:  “Did anyone know about a place called Asliey?”  It turned out to be a complete mystery.  No one knew of any such place and the mystery went on for years.

In December 2012, I ordered a Y-chromosome DNA kit from FTDNA.  After my cheek scrape was taken and returned, my results for the 37-marker test were posted in March 2013.  Soon after that, I got an email from Aidan Kelly, welcoming me to the Hy-Many Kelly group.  He pointed out that the results from my 37-marker test showed I was a strong match with the Hy-Many Kellys.  That, too, was a big home run.

Persistent and diligent as they are, I kept getting emails from two of the Kelly DNA project administrators:  Raymond Kelly and Aidan Kelly.  I had no clue who they were, and little did I know that eventually I’d meet them both in person.  They continued to explain what my results seem to indicate and they coaxed me to take the 67-marker test in April 2013.  That test confirmed everything and helped to show my relationship to the rest of the Hy-Many Kellys.  Although I admit to having a healthy dose of skepticism about the extent to which these genetic tests would help my research, I must now admit that the results opened doors beyond my expectations.  Based on my results showing that I descended from the Hy-Many Kellys, I was now privy to a wealth of relevant history and pedigree charts that documented the Kelly line back to 420 AD (the time of Maine Mor.)  I very much doubt I would have got that far without the DNA test – in fact, I know I would not have.

In addition, I was made aware of an active Kelly Clan.  They convene every two years in Ireland for a gathering, and the next one was being planned for May 2015 in Westport, County Mayo.  With just a bit of coaxing, I decided to attend and to bring with me the next two generations (my daughter Kristine and my grandson Hunter.)

Serendipitously, the mystery surrounding “Asliey,” County Sligo, was solved only days before I flew to Ireland.  There were eleven people from all different parts of the globe working on an answer – two of them professionals.  A better reading of the headstone came from one of the amateurs using some crafty photo-shop work on the digital image of the tombstone.  By adjusting the color-balance, Michael Kelly (Kit 323714) from Pennsylvania (another Hy-Many Kelly I have become acquainted with through DNA testing) was able to get a better resolution on the letters.  The word now looked like “Askey” and not “Asliey.”  The penny dropped soon thereafter.  The word “Askey” was a variation of the word “Easkey.”  That fitted with there being a place called Easkey in County Sligo.  Phonetically, “Askey” is close to “Easkey” and I was sure that was it.  Presumably, the “E” went missing when the stonemason was instructed to prepare the headstone and over time the inscription had weathered so that it was incorrectly transcribed as “Asliey.”  This revelation was my next home-run.

I attended the Clan Gathering with my daughter and grandson to meet Kellys from a range of different lines and places, including a bunch of Hy-Many Kellys.  This was my second visit to Ireland, but this time I had far more purpose and direction.  The Clan Gathering was a big success.  Fortunately, the Gathering was held in Westport, County Mayo, and afterwards I headed to Easkey, County Sligo, about an hour and a half’s drive north, to see where it was that my great-grandfather William was born over 200 years ago.

The drive was interesting.  From Westport, we cut through Lough Conn, stopping for a Guinness in a fairly typical country pub at Pontoon.  There was a bit more to that stopover.  In April 2015, Aidan Kelly had promised to buy me a drink if I joined the next run of DNA testing called the BIG-Y.  I succumbed to that offer, having decided that the BIG-Y may give me more information about my exact Hy-Many line – more on that test later.  Because it was a Sunday morning, I was driving, and I was still a bit tired from all the travel, I declined the Guinness, or at least reserved my rights to let the offer stand until the next most convenient opportunity.  We sat at the pub for awhile and out came the scraps of paper that let me share some of the dates and names of my Kelly line.  Meanwhile, Kristine, Hunter and Aidan’s sister, Erin, shared some lunch and their amazement at the social interactions going on from a bunch of the locals that seemed not to notice us much as they enjoyed their own Sunday morning family gathering at the pub.  This also gave me more time to conjure up the expectation that I was now only 60 minutes from Easkey and about to return to the last known address of my Irish Kellys.  This would be a first for the USA branch of my family, assuming, of course, I could continue to follow Aidan’s driving safely (LOL.)  He may say “erratic but arguably efficient.”  I would say “very interesting flicker work.”  Again, that’s another story – perhaps he was not used to the European car!

Arriving in Easkey was eerie.  Overcast, windy and rainy.  We got dead-ended in the car park of the St. James Church (RC) but from there we returned to the main road and then headed instinctively to O’Dowd’s Castle.  A prominent feature built in 1207, we half-hid behind it and watched the power of the sea pound the pier, imagining Hunter out there surfing Sligo’s 2-3 metre waves with a 3mm thick wetsuit and a hoodie – a big contrast to surfing in Florida.  Perhaps Hunter can return some other day.  Passing by, walking dogs, we struck up conversation with a local who had moved to Easkey from Cornwall a few years ago to be closer to the surf; a nice fellow who was wearing a back brace, compliments of a nasty wipe-out a few days before.  He didn’t seem too worried about it and was happy to take a group photograph.

I stayed in Easkey overnight.  I walked the streets with my daughter and grandson and met with some local historians.  Further information on the Kellys of Easkey was in short supply, but I felt like I had come a long way and was thrilled to have made it this far.  Knowing how my Kellys came to live in Easkey, when they probably originated from East Galway/West Roscommon like the rest of the Hy-Many Kellys, would have to wait.  The most likely answer was that after the confiscation of land during Elizabethan times (mid 1550-1600,) the Cromwellian Settlement (1650s,) my side’s loss at the Battle of Aughrim (1691) and the advent and strengthening of the penal laws (1700s,) many Catholic families moved further west to escape the attention of such an oppressive regime.  Easkey is about as far west as you can go, so perhaps that explains it.  I don’t know when my Kellys arrived in Easkey, but of course, they continued their westward migration and arrived in the USA around 1840.  I guess my Kellys may have been in Easkey for up to a couple of hundred years (1640 – 1840.)

Before we left Ireland, we met Aidan again in Dublin.  This provided an opportunity to meet another Hy-Many Kelly who did not attend the Clan Gathering this time.  That was Joseph Patrick Kelly (but he gets called “Cav” in recognition of the time he spent in military service.)  He has put a lot of time and effort into commemorating the Battle of Aughrim from a Kelly point of view, and that site is well worth visiting, particularly as it is slap bang in the middle of Hy-Many Kelly country.  Cav took us to his ancestral Kelly Home, which is a place called Kellyville – about two hours out of Dublin.  While at Kellyville, we had the pleasure of experiencing an Irish summer hail storm and seeing the local sights and spots of interest – many with a Kelly flavor.  On the way back, Aidan was good to his word and I managed to claw back that Guinness.  Stopping at one of Cav’s favorite rest spots, (a 200-year-old pub that looked about 200 years old!) we drank to a great meeting, a great Clan Gathering, a great adventure and a positive DNA connection for me, Aidan, Erin, Kristine and Hunter.  It was truly an extraordinary return to Ireland for me and without DNA, most of this would not have happened. 

The next surprise was receiving my BIG-Y results soon after I returned from Ireland.  That was quicker than expected because it was only one month after I ordered the upgrade (results received 23 May 2015.)  The BIG-Y yields a lot of data, and I was happy to call upon some support to get a meaningful interpretation.  Fortunately, there are many enthusiasts to help.  I am the first Hy-Many Kelly to receive their BIG-Y data and therefore, I now have to wait for the others to get their results so that we can make a meaningful comparison.  Early indicators are that my results are consistent with the Hy-Many Kellys being a divergent line of the DF49/Z2961 haplo-group (results displayed on the web [kit 265425-]).

Consistent with general expectations, my BIG-Y revealed about 10 mutations over the last 1500 years.  This was deduced by comparing my BIG-Y results with the Full Genomes results for Douglas Trainor (kit number 159039.)  He belongs to the more distantly related Madden/Trainor Group that diverged from the Kellys around 600 AD.  When more Hy-Many Kelly BIG-Y results are available, I am told that it will be the difference in these last 10 mutations that will differentiate the various Hy-Many Kelly families and possibly allow me to discover my exact Hy-Many Kelly line.  With that information, I may find my place in the Hy-Many Kelly pedigree chart published in 1843 in John O’Donovan’s book of the Hy-Many.  On that basis, I may now have about 50 generations to respect!

DNA has greatly helped my quest to understand my Kelly family history.  There seems to be a bit more information coming, but I am very happy knowing what I now know about my Kelly line.

[Editor’s Note:  Below is more information on the search involving a more famous (infamous?) member of the Kelly Clan – Ned Kelly and his family.  First, there is a copy of an email Aidan Kelly received from someone looking for direction on ways to verify information that may or not be pertinent to this search.  (The sender’s name is blanked out since we do not have permission to use this in the newsletter.)  This is followed by a report by Aidan showing the status of this search at present.]

Email sent to Aidan Kelly dated 27 August 2020:

My name is (blank) and I have just read your article regarding Ned Kelly’s DNA.

I have recently been contacted by an elderly relative who has lived a secluded life on a sheep farm outside of Albury and, without going into detail in this email, he believes there is a strong possibility he is a direct descendant of Ned Kelly’s.  Whilst absolute evidence may be lacking I have no doubt in his recollection and stories that we are starting to document.

I am curious to learn more from him but would also like to understand what options there are from a DNA perspective if this was pursued.

I would appreciate any advice or steer me in a right direction.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Second Bulletin by Aidan Kelly ( 8 October 2019.


Introduction and summary 

The first bulletin was issued in 10 January 2017 and set out the task at hand, here is a summary of the work two years later. 

  1. We now have a good summary of Red’s Irish origins from paper records; this has always been a bit sketchy but the main point is that this goes back to Moyglass / Fethard Tipperary but no further as there is no known other association of Red’s family with any of the great families of Tipperary or southern Ireland generally. 
  2. In 2018 we have tested 10 people who on the basis of their own family history or location believe they may have an association with Red Kelly’s paternal line. 
  3. The question is: was Red Kelly a Celt or something else such as a Fir Bolg, Viking or Anglo-Irish? If he was a Celt was he a Boru, a Ui-Maine, a Niall, a Colla, an Ely Carroll, a southern Irish Type III or Type IV etc. – or some other brand of Kelly? 
  4. We have also asked a few relevant luminaries to join in, for example, Lionel Murphy’s son as his Murphy line comes from Tipperary (Ned and Lionel, Lionel and Ned), Paul Kelly the singer as his family is from Clare, Leo Kennedy the dead policeman’s grandson as his family is from southern Ireland and other controversial Australian-Irish politicians such as Paul Keating (County Clare) and Brian Burke (County Galway). Just in case they are related to Red. 
  5. Note there that is already a yDNA study going on to sample the deceased remains of Sir Redmond Barry’s family line in County Cork – may be Redmond and Ned’s yDNA would make a good story about some of the history of Ireland? 

Summary of recent research 

What brand of Irishman were Red and Ned? In March 2017 a newspaper article about the Kelly Clan’s hunt for Red and Ned Kelly’s paternal line yDNA sparked a burst of family history research and genetic genealogy to try and confirm Red’s genetic origin and who is related to his family – particularly his famous son Ned. 

In 2015 the VIFM forensic team sampled Ned Kelly’s mtDNA from bones found in a Pentridge Jail burial plot and this was matched with the mtDNA profile of one of his known maternal relatives. The mtDNA grouping was confirmed but the bones did not yield any usable yDNA so the mystery of which Irish tribe Red belonged to remains. 

That was a bit of a pity because to determine what brand of Irishman Red was requires confirmation of his paternal line yDNA. Finding genuine paternal line yDNA presents some obvious difficulties because neither Red nor Ned have any known living male to male relatives so a sample of the paternal yDNA line is not that easy to get. The choices are to find a genuine living male relative or to sample from deceased remains. 

The list of possible sources 

Here is a list of the theoretical sources of Red Kelly’s paternal line yDNA. 

  1. Red’s grandfather John Kelly (and any of his brothers) probably all of Ireland or the USA; 
  2. Red’s father Thomas and Thomas’ brother Patrick who came to Australia; 
  3. Red and his 4 brothers; 3 came to Australia in 1856 on Maldon Edward, James and Daniel with Thomas staying in Ireland; 
  4. Red’s sons, we know there was Ned, James and Dan and there may have been more but none of any of them are known to have had children; 
  5. Red’s brothers’ sons but we don’t think there were any sons born in Australia but there may have been in Ireland; 
  6. The sons of Ned, Jim and Dan or any unknown brothers but we don’t think any of them had children in the first place. 

Relevant sources and dates of people who may be sources 

Red’s Grandfather: John (b1779-m1799-d1830?) 

Red’s Father’s generation: Thomas (b1800-m1819-d1840?) had at least one brother called Patrick 

Red and his brothers’ generation: John “Red” Kelly (b1820-s1841-m1850-d1866) and his 4 brothers Edward, Thomas, James, Daniel and two sisters (Edward b1822, Thomas b1825, Mary b1828, Anne b1831, James b1835, Daniel b1839). 

Red’s sons: Ned (b1854-d1880) Jim (b1859-d1941), Dan (b1861-d1880) 

Red’s father was Thomas Kelly and he and his brother Patrick were born in Tipperary and their father John Kelly was born in Tipperary too. Thomas and Patrick may have had more brothers and their father John, that is Red’s grandfather, may have had brothers too. Red himself had 4 brothers (Edward, Thomas, James and Daniel). We know that 4 of the 5 brothers Red, Edward, James and Daniel came to Australia in 1857 and that they are all buried in Australia in known graves. Brother Thomas appears to have stayed in Ireland. There is a record from the 1980s of a Phillip Kelly from Moyglass in Tipperary who is said to have been the last surviving Irish male relative of Red’s Kelly family – maybe Phillip descended from Red’s brother Thomas – however, Phillip is no longer alive and this link was never proven absolutely. There were also reports of a Mrs Fleming (nee Kelly) of Tipperary who was said to have been of Red’s lot too – but she too is now deceased and she would never have been able to provide a sample of the paternal side yDNA for this study. 

Back in Australia, we know Red had children but apparently none of his sons had children and there are no records of Red’s brothers having children either (Edward, James and Daniel). There is always a chance that one of the male line has direct descendants that were not otherwise recorded or known about – including Red. We do know that Red and his brothers Edward, James and Daniel all died in Victoria and are buried there and that Thomas is probably buried in Ireland. Therefore, there is some prospect that a sample of deceased remains could be obtained to determine the paternal line of the yDNA at some stage – oddly enough this has been done before and for none other than the remains of the Judge Redmond Barry’s family. 

The idea of sampling the remains of one of Red Kelly’s dead relatives has been raised with members of the Kelly family in Victoria. While not rejected outright this was not considered to be the preferred approach right now. Exhuming bodies is a tricky subject, especially given that the family have only recently re-buried Ned. However, the 2017 newspaper article generated a lot of interest from people in Ireland and Australia who think for some reason or other that they may share Red’s paternal line yDNA. In 2018 The Kelly Clan DNA Project Team led by Aidan Kelly invited all of them to have their yDNA tested to see what brand of Kelly they are in the hope that it may highlight a single type of paternal yDNA. This was considered to be a first step in understanding what brand of Kelly Red and Ned may be. 

The results were mixed and inconclusive. Admittedly yDNA samples alone were never going to determine the question because there is nothing known of Red’s yDNA to make a comparison. There was a slim chance that if there was more than one relative of Red in the mix that there would be an obvious overlap in the results of an otherwise diverse bunch of testers that would give us some chance that they were of Red’s line – but no pattern such was revealed in the 2018 results that would even suggest what brand of Kelly yDNA was Red. However, the results did not show that the Kelly surname was a broad yDNA diversity and that to solve the question of Red’s yDNA is likely to require sampling from Red’s deceased remains or one of his direct male relatives if one can be found.

(Editor’s apology:  This picture from the Summer 2020 Kelly Clan Newsletter No. 76 mistakenly identified Clare Kelly [2nd from left in the back row] as Tom Kelly’s daughter.  She is actually Joe A Kelly’s daughter. ).


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