The Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many
 by Dr John O'Donovan  published 1843

Comment by Rick O'Kelley 01/2014

For many years I have been aware of and have read Dr. John O'Dovovan's 1843 book about the O'Kelley regional kings or Chiefs of Ui Maine (Hy-Many) Ireland.  Because author W E MacClenny in his 1910 book about Rev James makes a claim that he descended from the O'Kellys of Hy-Many, and Alethea Jane Macon in her 1969 book echoes this claim most all my family believed we descended from these O'Kelleys and that belief goes back more than 100 years. Imagine my surprise when I completed DNA testing in August of 2010 and learned that while I am related, that relationship occurred maybe 600 years before the O'Kelly surname came into use.  My DNA results indicate that me and the current chief of the name, the current living descendent share a common male O'Kelley Ancestor in the past 1500 to 2000 years ago providing genetic proof that my line descended from the same ancestors as those listed in Dr. O'Donovan's book but this book has nothing to do with my ancestors. Since 2010 my DNA matches and family tradition stories indicate that James O'Kelley, my ancestor to come from Ireland to Virginia about 1748 AD, came from the O'Kelley's of Tara, and we are the descendants of the O'Kelley of Bregia who were said to descend from the Irish Monarch Aedh Slane and before the coming of the English were said to be equal in wealth, power, and greatness to the O'Kellys of Hy-Many. I doubts that the descent from the Irish Monarch Aedh Slane is correct but I think the rest is true, even the spelled of my last name support this.  My grandmother use to say we descended from the "old O'Kelleys" who were Irish Kings and we spell our name with the double "e" because that is how the "old O'Kelleys" spelled it and she may have been right as the O'Kelley of Bregia would have lived among the English for a very long time and would have used an English spelling well before the printing press when all words and names had extra "e"s.  I believe the spelling of our name, our family tradition story of coming from the O'Kelleys of Tara, arriving in America in 1748 as protestant marrying descendents of America founding families and members of our family being ministers of the English church are proof that we descended from what was left of the Gentry line of the O'Kelley of Bregia who have been mostly forgotten in Ireland.   If we had remained in Ireland with wealth and property we too might have had a book written about us as Dr O'Donovan wrote about the O'Kelly's of Ui Maine or Hy-Many our distant cousins.

Here are some additional pages to aid the understanding.

Chart from the back of the book broken into three scans or full image

Perhaps one of the most interesting facts found in this book is the explanation as to how some of the Irish Gaelic Gentry O'Kelleys came to be protestant.  While I haven't yet found the document, it seems certain that the O'Kelleys of Tara followed the same path to becoming Protestant and like the English.  Beginning on page 18 and ending on page 20 we have: 

In the reign of Elizabeth it consisted only of five baronies, as appears from a curious document to be found among the " Inrolments tempore Elizabeths," in the Auditor General's Office, Dublin, dated 6th August, 1585. From this Document the Editor is tempted to present the reader with the following extract, which throws a curious light on the state of Hy-Many in the reign of Queen Elizabeth:

" Agreement between the Irish chieftains and inhabitants of Imany, called the O'Kellie's country, on both sides of the river of Suck, in Connaught, and the Queen's Majesty, viz. Hugh O'Kelly of Lisecalhone, otherwise called O'kelly, Teige Mac William O'Kelly, of Mullaghmore, and Connor Oge O'Kelly, of Killianee, competitors for the name of Tanestshippe of O'kelly ;

Connor ne Garroghe O'Kelly, of Gallaghef, and Shane ne Move O'Kelly, of the Criaghe, Generosus ; William O'Mannine, of Mynlogheb, otherwise called O'mannine ; Moriartagh O'Concannon, of Kiltullagh, otherwise called O'conCannon ; Shane O'Naghten, of Moynure1, otherwise called O'naghten ; Edmond Mac Kcoghe, of Owenaghk, otherwise called Mac Keoghe ; Donogh O'Murry, of Ballymurry1, otherwise called O'murry ; Covaghe O'Fallone, of the Milltowne", otherwise called O'Fallone ; and Connor Mac Geraghte, otherwise called Mac Gerraghte".

" The territory of Imany, called O'Kelly's country, is divided into five principal barronyes, that is to wytte, Athlone, Killconnell, Teaquine, Killyane, and Maycarnane, all which contain 665 1/2 quarters of land, each at 120 acres.

" It is agreed by all the forenamed parties that the captainshippe and tanistshippe of the said country, heretofore used by the said O'Kellies, and all ellections and Irish customary division of lands shall be utterly abolished and extinct for ever: that Hugh, otherwise called O'kelly, shall possess these four quarters of land, viz. Lisennoke, Ferranbreaghe, Lysdallen, and Moydowe, now in his possession, and which arc situated in Eraght-O'Murry and Mac Edmond's country, in the barony of Athlone, with a chief rent out of various other lands within the said country, which amount in the whole to 56 19.S. 6d. during his natural life, and after his death the said lands to be freed and discharged of the aforesaid rents.

" That Teige Mac William O'Kelly shall have and possess the quarters of Mullaghmore, Corncgallaghe, Carrownesire, and Carrowncboe. And Connor Oge O'Kelly shall have four quarters in and about the town of Killiane, but upon this special condition, which they bind themselves to, that they and their heirs shall henceforth behave themselves like good subjects ; shall put no ymposition or chardge upon the inhabyters of the lands, and shall bring uppc their children after the English fashions, and in the use of the Englishe tounge."