Scully Surname Genealogy

The Irish surname Scully is an
anglicized version of the Old Gaelic patronym O’Scolaidhe.  This name was derived
from either s
colaide, meaning “town crier,” or from scolaire meaning “student.

Scully Resources on

Scully Ancestry

IrelandThe Scullys were originally
a Leinster sept first found in Westmeath.  The first recorded
spelling of
family name was O’ Scolaidhe, dated
around 1100 in the Ancient Records of

However, at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion in 1172, they
had their lands confiscated and they were driven south and west into
Munster.  A branch of the family did
manage to retain its lands near Dublin until 1256 when the property of
O’Scully passed into church hands.

The four main counties where they went,
according to Griffith’s
in the mid-19th century, were:

  • Offaly
  • Laois (15%)
  • Tipperary (11%)
  • and Cork (17%).

One Scully branch settled at Lorrha in north
Tipperary where they became erenaghs of the church at St. Ruan.  It was no doubt an offshoot which gave its
name to Ballyscully, a place on the other side of the Shannon. Another branch settled near Cashel in south
Tipperary in the 17th century. 
This family gave their name to Scully’s Cross, an
memorial near the Rock of Cashel where the Scullys had the privilege of

The most notable Scully family in Tipperary was
descended from two Scully brothers, Darby and Roger, who arrived there
Offaly in the 1660’s after the Restoration of Charles II.

Based in their family
home at Kilfeacle, they became major Catholic landowners in the area.  A later Darby Scully who died in 1807 was
described as “a
man of the purest integrity
and most unblemished character.”  He
like others in his family was buried by the Rock of Cashel.

James Scully founded
the Bank of Tipperary in the early 1800’s.
His son Denis was a political writer and Catholic advocate and
son Vincent a well-known Irish politician and writer.
Another son William became a big landowner in
the American Midwest.  However, Denis’s eldest son James Scully was murdered in
1843, probably by a tenant he had

England.  Scullys left Ireland for
England because
there were jobs there.  Their main
destinations were Liverpool and other towns in Lancashire, followed by

James Scully from Dublin came to London as a young man in 1925 and
work as a laborer.  At the outbreak of
war he joined the Pioneer Corps.  In 1941
he was awarded the George Cross for
the valor he
displayed in Liverpool
in rescuing people from a bomb-damaged building.

in Liverpool had generally got submerged in the
working-class culture there.  Scully
was an early work from the 1970’s
of the writer Alan Bleasdale.  Scully
here was a 15 year-old Scouser named Franny
Scully who dreamt of becoming a football striker for Liverpool.

America.  Some early
Scullys may not have been Scullys.  John
and Denis Sullivan left Cork for America in 1803 and, for some reason,
the Scully surname.  The two brothers
settled in Pennsylvania, John farming in Allegheny county and Denis
himself in iron and glassworks in Pittsburgh.

  • John’s
    grandson John became President of the Diamond National Bank and
    his great grandson Cornelius was mayor of Pittsburgh from 1938 to 1946.
  • while
    Denis’s great grand-daughter Margaret
    a published poet, local historian, and an active participant in many
    organizations during the 1930’s. 

was without doubt a
Scully.  Indeed he came from the Scully
landowners in Tipperary.  In 1850 he set
off for the Midwest with the objective of buying land there.  From his base in Logan county, Illinois, he
ended up by 1900 owning more than 200,000 acres in Illinois, Kansas,
and Nebraska.

Although William himself was generally an absentee landlord (he
never became a US citizen), his descendants – his son Michael and
Peter – based themselves in Illinois and were noted for their

Scullys who came were escaping the potato famine in Ireland, such as:

  • James and Catherine Scully who came with
    their six children in 1852.  They settled
    in Brooklyn.
  • Martin and Jane Scully from Laois who arrived with their
    children in 1854.  They made their home
    in Middletown, Connecticut.
  • while Patrick and
    Julia Scully arrived in South Amboy, New Jersey sometime in the 1860’s.  Their son Thomas, who lived all his life
    there, rose to be the mayor of South Amboy and a US Congressman.

Canada.  Denys Scully left Tipperary for Canada in 1899, making his home in Calgary in the West.

South Africa.  John Scully from Cashel in Tipperary brought
his family to South Africa in 1867 and they
settled on a farm near King William’s Town.
Their son William tried his luck in the goldfields, but without
success.  In
1876 he began a long career with the civil service in Cape
Colony.  During this time he made his
mark as a writer. He
is one of South Africa’s best-known authors, if little
known outside
South Africa.

Australia and New ZealandPatrick Scully from Kilkenny came to Victoria with his
family on the Matoaka in 1854 as assisted
passengers.  They made their home in
the Galway emigrants to South Island, New Zealand was William Scully who made the
journey to Otago in 1861.  He and his wife
Annie started their farm on
the Southland plains near Invercargill.

Scully Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Scully Names

Darby and Roger Scully were the progenitors
of the Scully landowning family in Tipperary.

became the largest private landowner in the
American West, owning more than 200,000 acres in Illinois, Kansas,
and Nebraska by the year 1900.
, Professor at Yale University, has been called “the most
architecture teacher ever.“  He died in
2017 at the age of ninety-seven.
was the broadcaster for the Dodgers baseball team, first in
and then in Los Angeles, for a record sixty-seven years between 1950
and 2016.

John Sculley
is an American businessman and high-tech entrepreneur who
has held
senior positions in Pepsi-Cola and in Apple.
Dana Scully
was the fictional heroine of
the American TV series
about the supernatural which was called The X-Files
and ran in the 1990’s

Select Scullys Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 4,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 7,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)



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