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Surname Neally - Meaning and Origin

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Neally: What does the surname Neally mean?

The last name Neally is an anglicized form of the Gaelic-Irish surname Ó Niadhail, which was derived from the old personal name Niadh. The Niadh root is believed to be derived from the Old Celtic word “nad,” meaning “hero.” Therefore, the surname translates to “descendant of the hero,” emphasizing the admired valor of Niadh.

Neally’s have kept their spirited roots alive, serving with honor and distinction in several branches of the government. During the American Revolutionary War, records show the Neally surname associated with many British and American patriots. The family was heavily represented in various forces and multiple Neallys laid down their lives for what they believed in.

The traditional Irish homelands for the Neallys is County Galway, transforming into clusters in Castlemoyne, Rush, and nearby areas of Dublin. Neallys have also been known for their speech, music, literature, and are predominantly Roman Catholic. In later years, some of the Neallys left for Canada and the United States, settling down in areas like North Carolina, Georgia, and Illinois.

These Neallys have kept the heroic Gaelic-Irish legacy alive through their distinguished service in the military, government, and cultural scenes. The Niadh spirit of adventure and daring continues, with many Neallys today excelling in a variety of fields. The name Neally stands out as a proud Irish name, dating back centuries and proudly representing its storied roots with each passing generation.

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Neally: Where does the name Neally come from?

The surname Neally is believed to have originated in England and is mostly found in the United States today. According to the United States Census Bureau, the Neally surname is more prevalent in the southern states, such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Mississippi. It is estimated that there are around 10,000 people in the United States today who bear the Neally surname.

It is most common in the southern states, particularly in cities like Atlanta, Georgia, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Pensacola, Florida. It is also found slightly to the north, in places like Nashville, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky. Some records also suggest that the Neally surname has been found in other areas such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The meaning of the surname is a bit of a mystery. Some believe it to be derived from an Old English word meaning “ruler of one’s own”, which suggests it may have been established by an independent-minded individual. Other sources say it may be derived from a Celtic word for “neutral”.

No matter its origins, the Neally surname is still popular today and is likely to remain so for generations to come.

Variations of the surname Neally

The surname Neally is an Anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic surname Ó Nialláin. There are several common variant spellings of the surname including Nealey, Neeley, Neily, Neale, Nealy and Neilley.

The prefix ‘Ó’ indicates that the surname originates from a male ancestor. In the Irish language it translates to ‘grandson’ or ‘descendant’ and is equivalent to the Scottish name Mac, which also is commonly seen as a surname prefix in Scotland and Ireland.

The Neally surname originated from the Irish word Niall. Niall is an ancient Gaelic name, meaning “champion”. With the adoption of the surname, the descendant of a Niall became known by his father’s or grandfather’s first name, followed by Ó Nialláin or its variant spellings.

The Ó Nialláin clan were members of the Érainn peoples, a group of Celtic tribes who, by the 5th century AD, lived in the Munster province of Ireland. Its members were later also found in the Ulster provinces and the western provinces of Connacht and Leinster.

The variants of the surname Neally follow the same origin as the family name. To modernize, early generations of Irish immigrants sometimes adopted or were assigned by a shipping official new anglicized surnames such as Neally or Neeley. This was done as a form of adapting to the local culture and language.

The Ó Nialláin surname is still seen in Ireland today, but most Irish Americans have adopted the Neally surname as their family name. It is important to note that any of the surnames or its variant spellings can be found in Ireland, Scotland and various parts of the world.

Famous people with the name Neally

  • Richie Neale: rugby player who represented Harlequins and England.
  • Jake Neale: British actor known for his roles in TV shows such as Hotel Babylon and Casualty.
  • Melissa Neale: American singer-songwriter and actress.
  • Daniel Neale: Australian cricketer who plays for the Victoria Bushrangers.
  • Rob Neally: retired English footballer who played for West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest.
  • Ryan Neally: Mixed Martial Arts fighter and former US Marine.
  • Andria Neall: British television producer and script writer.
  • Jo Neall: British author and illustrator, best known for her work on educational books on the environment.
  • Frank Neally: former American football coach at Arkansas State University and Miami University.
  • David Nealle: English composer and professor, best known for his work in the early music revival.

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