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Riley Family History

Riley Name Meaning

English (Lancashire and Yorkshire): habitational name chiefly from High Ryley in Accrington (Lancashire) and Riley in Kirkburton which was in the manor of Wakefield (Yorkshire). In some cases the name may derive from Riley Farm in Eyam (Derbyshire) Royley in Royton (Lancashire) or Rylah in Scarcliffe (Derbyshire). The placenames all come from Old English rȳge ‘rye’ + lēah ‘woodland clearing’. Irish: from Ó Raghailligh ‘descendant of Raghailleach’ Old Irish Roghallach. This is the name of a chieftain family in Cavan related to the O'Rourkes. In Anglicized form it has also been confused with Ó Raithile found in Munster usually Anglicized as O'Rahilly or Rahilly . See O'Reilly .

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Ridley, Ripley, Risley, Iley, Wiley, Ryley, Brimley, Rilea, Reiley

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Where is the Riley family from?

You can see how Riley families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Riley family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Riley families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 339 Riley families living in New York. This was about 22% of all the recorded Riley's in USA. New York had the highest population of Riley families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Riley surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Riley ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Housewife were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Riley. 16% of Riley men worked as a Laborer and 6% of Riley women worked as a Housewife. Some less common occupations for Americans named Riley were Truck Driver and Teacher. .

View Census Data for Riley | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1940

  • Laborer
    16%
  • Farmer
    13%
  • Salesman
    5%
  • Truck Driver
    4%

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Housewife
    6%
  • Maid
    6%
  • Housekeeper
    6%
  • Teacher
    6%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Riley family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1 million census records available for the last name Riley. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Riley census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 99,000 immigration records available for the last name Riley. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 167,000 military records available for the last name Riley. For the veterans among your Riley ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Riley lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Riley life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Riley in 1940 was 32, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Riley

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