Can't remember where I found this but I hope it is helpful to those wanting to know where the Scully surname started.
ORIGINS OF THE SCULLY NAME
The Irish surname 'Scully' is the Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic name O'Scolaidhe. This name ultimately derived from an Old Irish meaning, literally, "a student". Hence, the name is of nickname origin, deriving from a personal characteristic of the original bearer. During the Middle Ages, nicknames were very popular in Ireland; they were terms of affection and endearment, and the name 'Scolaidhe' was usually given to one who was a student or who was noted for having great academic ability.
The family name Scully was first found in county Westmeath and Leinster where they had been seated as early as the twelfth century but were driven out during the Anglo-Norman invasion of Strongbow in 1172 and their lands were confiscated and they were driven in to counties Tipperary and Cork (Province of Munster). Despite this some of the name are still numerous in Leinster.
On leaving Delvin (County Westmeath) the most significant family of this name in medieval Ireland settled in Lorrha, in the southern county of Tipperary where they became erenaghs of the church of St. Ruan. Erenaghs were powerful lay lords whose familes held church titles and property from generation to generation.
It was no doubt an offshoot of these which gave its name to Ballyscully, a place on the other side of the Shannon. Another branch of the Scully sept settled near Cashel in South Tipperary in the seventeenth century. This family gave their name to Scully's Cross which is a magnificent ecclesiastical memorial near the Rock of Cashel where the Scullys have the privilege of interment.
A branch of the Scully family retained its lands in County Dublin up to 1256 when the property of William O'Scully passed in to ecclesiastical possession.
Scully is used sometimes in north Connacht as a synonym of Scullion or Scullin (O'Scollain (emphesis on the a)). Scullin is now rare, but Scullion is fairly numerous in north east Ulster. The O'Scullions were erenaghs of Ballyscullion in the deanery of Rathlowry, diocese of Derry.
The name Scully occurred in many references, but from time to time the surname was spelt Scully, Scally, O'Scully, Sculley, Skully, Skulley and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. It was not uncommon to find a person's name spelt several different ways during his or her lifetime, firstly when he or she was baptised, another when that person was married, and yet another appearing on the death certificate.
The best known Scullys were Tipperary men. James Scully was the proprietor of Scully's Bank of Tipperary, one of the few private banks to weather the financial crises of 1820 and 1825. These crises occured when the British and Irish currencies were combined following a controversial Act of Parliament and numerous small banks were forced out of business. It is of interest to record that this very reputable institution, Scully's Bank of Tipperary, was acquired by John Sadlier of scandalous and notorious memory.
Denis Scully (1773-1830), political writer and Catholic advocate, and his son Vincent Scully (1810-1871), well-known Irish politicians and author, were of the same Kilfeacle family. James Scully (b. 1865), American poet, was born in county Cork. Vincent Scully (b. 1900), Canadian cabinet minister, was born and educated in Ireland.
In North America some of the first migrants which could be considered kinsmen of the sept Scully and of the same family were Peter, John, Martin and William Sculley arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870.
I have Scully in my Kendrick line that came from Ireland after 1845 and first settled in Hamilton Co., OH before going on to Pike Co., IL. His name is Samuel George Kendrick and his mother who died in Ireland was Isabell/Isabella Scully. Her husband was Samuel Kendrick and his second wife was Easter A. ???? and they are my Great Great Grandparents.
Edith (Kendrick) Brock-Gomez
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