J Fred O'Kelly 
author of
"Some Descendants and Ancestral Kin
 James Stamps O'Kelley and Lucy Woodruff England"  Printed 1966

This is the book that I was familiar with in my youth, I first read my parent's book when I was about 14 years of age.  It was my first experience with a printed reference to my family as James Stamps O'Kelley and Lucy England were my great, great grandparents, their grave sites are located about two miles from my childhood home and I had been to their graves with my parents more than once.  They are buried in Love Cemetery next to my father's grandparents and they lived just west of my childhood home in Alma Crawford Co Arkansas.  J Fred mentions Alethea Jane Macon in his book and he is mentioned in hers so they shared some research. The reader may notice that J Fred O'Kelly used a single "e" spelling and that is because when his ancestors moved from Northwest Arkansas well before he was born, they dropped the second "e" probably due to the influence of higher education.  Because his book does not bear the required by law Copyright notice, it is legally in the public domain and I have released a scaned copy as to keep his work alive and available to interested persons.  You may download a copy of J Fred O'Kelly's 1966 book here but if you use it to provide to others, please credit J Fred O'Kelly as the author and source. 

J Fred O'Kelly does have a few errors in his book but in his defense to discover such errors were very difficult and expensive in the time he printed his book.  I can search much of our nation's archives with a click of a computer mouse so I have an advantage.  On page 42 J Fred reports that Charles and Benjamin served in our Revolutionary War as Kelley but according to their records in our nation's archives indicate they both served as "Kelly" but it really doesn't matter because neither could sign their name so they actually used a mark as their name.  J Fred O'Kelly however presents a great deal of fact including how our Ancestors lived as a Kelley but returned the O to their name when they moved from Virginia to Georgia and it likely was the grandchildren who restored the "O", I suspect none of the first born descendants of our ancestor every used the O'Kelley name in their lifetime.  He also touches briefly on the difficulties of the Irish in their homelands when they tired to use the O or Mac before their surnames, i can not stress that this was no trifle matte, the English killed some Irish who refused to stopped using their Irish names, this was very serious business.  J Fred O'Kelly may have desired to spare descendants the full knowledge as to how difficult life truly was for our Irish Ancestors, how our ancestor's day to day struggle to obtain food and avoid being murder by the English probably was his motivation to leave their homeland and start new in America.  The 2006 movie titled "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" is a very good example just how deadly the confrontation with the British and Irish could be even as late as the twentieth century.

Unlike Alethea Jane Macon who tells her readers in her 1969 book that the "best evidence" indicates our ancestor was named Thomas O'Kelley, J Fred O'Kelly  in his 1966 book appears neutral about my ancestor's first name as he states he is "generally believed to be Thomas but others believe his name was James", J Fred O'Kelly provides no opinion.  I think this gives us the earliest truth that before the books of Alethea Jane Macon and Harold O'Kelley there were no conclusions about the name of my ancestor who came from Ireland, researchers just didn't know but after Alethea Jane Macon 1969 book a great many descendants, perhaps a majority of descendants have accepted Ms Macon's statement as valid and without any proof being presented. 

J Fred O'Kelly also tells his readers on page 44 of his book that "Mrs. Carl C Walker, Conyers Ga, a descendant of Francis and Delilah has an old family bible which contains proof that Charles and Francis Kelley of Mecklenburg Co Va were the same men as Charles and Francis O'Kelley of Oglethorpe Co Ga."  That bible has been located in the possession of Mrs. Walker's son and it appears the evidence J Fred O'Kelly refers was the bible gives the marriage information for Francis O'Kelley and Delilah Crowder which is the same given names and date as the Mecklenburg VA marriage record for Francis Kelley and Delilah Crowder thus providing reasonable proof that the Mecklenburg Co Virginia Francis Kelley was the Oglethorpe Co Georgia Francis O'Kelley.  I suspect because Francis and Charles are living in the same place in Oglethorpe Co Georgia that is also pretty good evidence to believe that Charles Kelley who appears in several Mecklenburg records is the same Charles O'Kelley who later lived in Oglethorpe Co Georgia.

I have been unsuccessful in establishing contact with any of J Fred O'Kelly's descendants to learn if any of his research still exists, if it does I would recommend it be scanned and placed into digital form and shared with other O'Kelley Researchers.  I would be glad to host it on this website because I think J Fred O'Kelly's work was a very important body of work that he would want to continue to new generations yet to come.  Webmaster:  Rick O'Kelley