Select Scully Surname Genealogy

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

Select Scully Resources on The Internet

Select Scully Ancestry

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

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 William O'Scully passed into church hands.

The four main counties where they went, according to Griffith’s Valuation in the mid-19th century, were:
  • Offaly (13%)
  • Laois (15%)
  • Tipperary (11%)
  • and Cork (17%).
TipperaryOne 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 ecclesiastical memorial near the Rock of Cashel where the Scullys had the privilege of interment.

The most notable Scully family in Tipperary was descended from two Scully brothers, Darby and Roger, who arrived there from 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 Denis’s 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 evicted.

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

James Scully from Dublin came to London as a young man in 1925 and found 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.

Scullys 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, adopted the Scully surname.  The two brothers settled in Pennsylvania, John farming in Allegheny county and Denis involving 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 was a published poet, local historian, and an active participant in many Pittsburgh organizations during the 1930’s. 
William Scully 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, Missouri and Nebraska.

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

Other 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 four 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.
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 Zealand. 
Patrick Scully from Kilkenny came to Victoria with his family on the Matoaka in 1854 as assisted passengers.  They made their home in Muckleford.   Among 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 Invercargil.

Select Scully Miscellany

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

Select Scully Names

Darby and Roger Scully were the progenitors of the Scully landowning family in Tipperary.
William Scully
became the largest private landowner in the American West, owning more than 200,000 acres in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska by the year 1900.
Vincent Scully
, Professor at Yale University, has been called “the most influential architecture teacher ever.“  He died in 2017 at the age of ninety-seven.
Vin Scully
was the broadcaster for the Dodgers baseball team, first in Brooklyn 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)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page