What's In a Name
By Tom Vallely
I have spent most of my life being told that the name Vallely
was Irish but with few details. In 1996 I went on the internet and discovered
that there are thousands of Vallely persons scattered throughout the world, all
thinking they had the most unusual name in the universe.
There is no longer any
doubt that the name is from Ireland. I am, however, left with the lingering
The quest for answers continues.
- Is the name of Irish origin?
- Exactly which
Vallely came to the U.S. on what ship and when?
Over the years I have received some intriguing emails regarding the
Scottish-Irish connection and the Vallely name, hinting at some startling
revelations. Unfortunately the follow ups never occurred. If you
have information please share it.
Dan Vallely's Legend
Vallely, a police officer in New York State, provided me with a letter about
his family origins. It was written in 1990. The writer tells his daughter that
he can go back only as far as his grandfather, Patrick William Vallely who came
from County Armagh with his brother James. James was born in 1855 and joined the
New York City P.D. in 1876. Patrick was also probably on NYPD until he
established P.W. Vallely Inc. an office furniture business in the Wall Street
District (operated until about 1950 or 60).
Vallely in Ireland was a survivor of a ship of the Spanish Armada wrecked by the
hurricane on the coast. Father claimed he was an Admiral. Mother claimed that
according to the record he was found on the beach tenaciously clutching a deck
mop. (My Uncle Joe, with his long face and dark eyes could have stepped from a
Valesquez painting). There were two Vallely clans: the Red and the Black. We
never knew the connotation of the colors.
Tom's note: My DNA testing
refutes that legend and the related links below casts doubt on the theory.
Tom Vallely's Legend
My family legend is that two brothers left Ireland during
the potato famine. On arriving in New York City one brother stayed and the other
went to Pennsylvania and Alabama (my Great-Grandfather Hugh). That is about it
for my family legend-no mention of when or what ship or names. I have never
identified a ship with two brothers on board. I was looking for ships out
of Ireland. It now appears that my ancestor left Scotland for the United
States and without a brother.
Patrick Vallely's Legend
Patrick Vallely emailed me from Tuam, County Galway to tell
me his family legend. Three sons of a Vallely family left Armagh. One went to
America, one went to Europe and one to the south of Ireland (Patrick's family).