What is the origin of the last name Neely?

The last name Neely, with its origins rooted in Scotland and Ireland, traces back to the Gaelic personal name Niall, meaning "champion" or "cloud." Derived from the Old Irish name Niall, which was prevalent among the northern Ui Neill dynasty, the Neely surname signifies a descendant of Niall. As a patronymic surname, it denotes "son of Niall" or "descendant of Niall." Over the centuries, the name Niall underwent various phonetic alterations, ultimately settling on Neely, spelling variations of which include Neeley, Neally, and McNeely.

Countries of origin for the last name Neely

The last name Neely is of Scottish origin and is derived from the Gaelic name Mac an Fhilidh, which means “son of the poet.” The Neely surname belongs to a larger group of surnames that originate from the clan system in Scotland.

Historical records indicate that the Neely surname was first recorded in the 14th century. It is believed to have originated in the region of Galloway in southwestern Scotland. Over time, individuals with the Neely name migrated to different parts of Scotland, as well as to other countries such as Ireland and America.

Interestingly, variations of the Neely surname can be found in different spellings, including McNeely and Nealy. This reflects the common practice of pronunciation variations and different ways of spelling surnames during different time periods and in various regions.

Research indicates that the Neely surname has seen some notable individuals bearing the name. For instance, Samuel Neely, born in 1785, is recognized as an important figure in the American Colonial Era. He was a Presbyterian minister and served as a chaplain in the United States Army during the War of 1812.

The surname Neely does not appear to have any direct connection to specific occupations or professions, unlike some other surnames. Rather, it is derived from a patronymic naming system where the son is identified by his father’s name and occupation, in this case, the poet.

It is worth noting that the meaning and origin of surnames can vary significantly based on different factors such as regional dialects, translations, and historical changes. While the facts available on the internet provide a solid understanding of the Neely surname, there is always the possibility of uncovering new information or alternative interpretations that may shed further light.

Interesting facts about the last name Neely

  • The surname Neely is an Anglo-Scottish name of territorial origin.
  • It derives from the Old English and Old Scottish word “leah” or “leith,” meaning a meadow or a clearing in a forest.
  • Neely is a variant of the surnames Neeley and Nally.
  • Neely is primarily found in Scotland, particularly in areas such as Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.
  • The Neely surname is also prevalent in Northern Ireland, specifically in counties Tyrone and Donegal.
  • During the Irish Potato Famine in the mid-19th century, many Neely families emigrated to the United States, particularly to states like Pennsylvania and New York.
  • The Neely surname is relatively rare, ranking as the 5,762nd most common surname in the United States.
  • There are alternative spellings of the Neely surname, such as Nealy, Neeley, Nely, and Nalley.
  • The Neely surname has variant forms in other languages, such as Nihill (Irish) and McNelly (Scottish Gaelic).
  • Famous individuals with the Neely surname include former professional ice hockey player Ed Neely and American author and journalist Elmore Leonard Neely.

Name Rank


There are around 23843 people with the last name Neely in the US

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