Quigley Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Quigley Meaning
Quigley is the anglicized form of the 12th century Gaelic O’Coigligh. O’Coigligh meant “‘descendant
of Coigleach,” a nickname for an untidy person or possibly
someone with long, flowing hair.

Quigley Resources on

Select Quigley Ancestry 

Ireland.  One Quigley sept were a branch of the Ii Fiachra clan of county Mayo which dispersed sometime in the 16th century. A possibly related sept was the Quigleys of Inishowen in Donegal. The name in fact is mainly to be found in Donegal and Derry and to some extent in Monaghan and Fermanagh where the Quigleys were the erenaghs at Clontivrin in Clones. 

Father James Quigley, a United Irishman executed by the English in 1798, was born in county Armagh from what was seen as “a respectable Northern farmer class.” His family had come from Derry. It was said that his great grandfather had been the maker of the Catholic barricading boom at Culmore fort during the seige of Derry town in 1689.

England and Scotland.
Quigleys crossed the Irish Sea in the 19th century in search of
jobs. John Quigley from Monaghan, for instance, came to the Govan
area of Glasgow in the 1870’s to work in the shipbuilding there.

America. Many Quigleys
came to

In fact the Quigleys were among the first Scots and Irish settlers
Cumberland valley in the 1730’s (as traced in Bella Swope’s 1905 book History of the McKinney-Brady-Quigley
). James Quigley had settled there in frontier
land in what is today Hopewell township. He built his wilderness
home of logs close to the banks of Conodoguinet creek. A bridge
later built there caused the location of the Quigley homestead on
Conodoguinet creek to be later called Quigley’s Bridge which was where
later generations of Quigleys grew up.

Other Quigleys in Pennsylvania were:

  • James Quigley, born in Pennsylvania in 1777, who moved to Barren
    Kentucky after the Revolutionary War was over.
  • while one Quigley family
    history began with Phillip Quigley who around 1790 immigrated to
    Philadelphia and Bucks county, an area where other Quigleys had already
    settled (a Quigley ran the ferry service which operated across the
    Delaware river).
  • John Quigley who was a forgeman at the local ironworks in
    Richmond township, Berks county in the early 1800’s.
  • and Michael
    of German
    parentage who was one of
    the founders of Beech Creek in central Pennsylvania after settling
    there in 1814.

Elsewhere. Andrew
Quigley, escaping the famine in his native Tyrone, reached New
York in 1849 and then headed west, enticed by the California gold
rush. However, he met Mormons on the way and ended up in Salt
Lake valley.

William Quigley came out to Australia from county Antrim as an assisted
immigrant on the Devonport in 1868.
In Sydney he got a job as coachman to a
wealthy industrialist and married his daughter Margaret in 1870. They bought themselves a fine estate at Awaba
Park on Macquarie Lake in 1878.
Unfortunately a year later William, while riding home, was
thrown from
his horse, fracturing his skull and was found dead on the roadside


Quigley Miscellany

Quigleys at Inishowen in Donegal.  The Quigleys
were at one time numerous on the Inishowen peninsula in county
Donegal, reportedly the fifth most popular surname in the area.
Quigley family has traced itself back to Robert Quigley who was born in
Buncrana in 1801.  Another Quigley family,
recorded in Clonmany in the 1820’s, may have subsequently emigrated to

Quigley’s Point (Rinn Ui Choigligh) is a
village in Donegal on the eastern shores of Inishowen overlooking Lough

Father James Quigley.  Father James
Quigley (sometimes Coigley) was ordained as a Catholic priest in Armagh in
1785. A United Irishmen, he worked at improving Catholic and
relations.  He traveled often to England
and Paris where he was involved with a group called the United Britons.

traveling to France, he narrowly
escaped capture and execution by the French Revolutionaries.  He was, however, apprehended by the English
four other United Irishmen, one of them being Arthur O’Connor,
a leader of the rebels of Leinster.  Upon his arrest, the English authorities
discovered a letter by the United Britons, addressed to the French
Revolutionary Government calling for an invasion of England, hidden in
Quigley’s garments.

permission for a Catholic priest.  His
jailers delivered a ‘Castle-Catholic’ reverend, one loyal to the
British Crown.  They
ordered him to refuse the last sacraments to Quigley unless the rebel
would give details concerning the United Irishmen.
Father Quigley would not talk and the visiting
priest left with no sacraments dispensed.
Quigley was hanged on Penenden Heath in Maidstone
on June 7, 1798.

Quigleys in Monaghan and Fermanagh.  The small
town and parish of Clones spans western Monaghan and county Fermanagh
in what
is now Northern Ireland.  The
Quigleys were at
one time the erenaghs at Clontivrin in Clones.
But there has been no substantial recent Quigley presence in the

family history began in the
early 19th century with Michael and Jane Quigley of nearby Roslea in
Fermanagh.  Their son John, born around
1825, was recorded as the head of a Quigley family there in the 1901
and 1911
censuses.  Seamus Quigley is now a star
turn with the Roslea Shamrocks and two of his brothers also play for
this Gaelic
football team.

Robert Quigley of Quigley’s Bridge.  From infancy
Robert the son was the companion of his father James Quigley.  Born fourteen years after his parents had
on a wild tract of land along Condoguinet Creek in Pennsylvania, he
learned to wield the axe, fell the forest trees, and follow his father
with the
plow.  In the summer he harvested the
grain, ranked the wood in stacks for winter use, cleared the land of
brush and
stubble, and built fences, bridges, and laid out roads.

His boyhood days were also days of
peril.  Year after year he heard of
blood-thirsty advances in the valley, hundreds falling beneath the blow
of the
tomahawk, and learned with infant lips to raise the cry of danger, and
with the
eye of infancy to pick the trail of the Indian.

His encounters with the Indians and practice in the shooting of
made him a skilled marksman.  During the
Revolutionary War many a redcoat fell beneath his unfaltering aim and

was a large, powerfully built
man.  Among the early generations of the
family, blue eyes, brown hair, and strong vigorous constitutions
predominated.  A mixture of red hair and
eyes was noticeable in some of his children and is seen in descendants
the present day.

Captain Aaron Quigley in the Revolutionary War.  The
Pennsylvania Gazette
recorded this incident on June 5, 1782 during the Revolutionary War.

Quigley, in a small boat, with three men, left Elizabethtown on
evening, the 22nd May. and, after landing on Staten Island and carrying
boat across it (near four miles) about two the next morning, in sight
of a 20
gun ship and a fort on the island, boarded and took a brig, lying at
bound to Halifax, laden with salt, pepper, tobacco, china, queenware,
&c.  After securing three people (all
on board) and cutting her cable, they brought her off and conducted her
Egg Harbor.  This prize is said to be
worth near four thousand pounds.”

Captain Aaron Quigley came from a Quigley family which had settled in
Burlington, New Jersey in the 1730’s.
Philip Quigley, described as a stave-getter (converting timber
into barrel staves), had married Mary
there in 1733.

The Quigleys of Beech Creek.  Johann Michael
Quickel and his wife Fronica had come to Pennsylvania from Germany in
1736.  They took the Irish name Quigley in
maybe because of the existing Quigley presence in Pennsylvania.  However, the name often came out Quigle or

Their son Michael was born in
Lancaster county in 1777.  He married
a local girl, Mary Clark, and settled in Bald Eagle township in what
was to become Clinton
county.  In 1814 he built a grist mill
which his son Cline took over after Michael’s death in 1839.  The small town that sprung up around the
grist mill was first called Quigley Mills and then in 1850 became Beech
Creek.  As a result, Michael Quigley is
usually credited with being the founder of Beech Creek.

Possibly related to Michael were John and
Nicholas Quigley, likely father and son tailors in the area in the
1800’s.  By the 1870’s there were
numerous Quigleys in the town, enough to provide five players to the
baseball team.  However, few Quigleys
have remained there.


Quigley Names

  • Father James Quigley, born in Armagh, was a United Irishman executed by the English in 1798.
  • James Quigley, Canadian born, served as the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago from 1903 to 1915.
  • Eddie Quigley was an English footballer who was transferred in 1949 from Sheffield Wednesday to Preston at the then English record transfer fee of £26,500.

Select Quigley Numbers Today

  • 5,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 10,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)


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