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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Dannelly family come from? When did the Dannelly family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Dannelly family history?

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Dannelly originally appeared in Gaelic as O Donnghaile, derived from the words "donn," which means brown, and "gal," which means valor.

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Many spelling variations of the surname Dannelly can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include Donnely, Donnelly, Donelly, O'Donnelly, O'Donelly, Donnolly, Donnally, Donolly, Donnilly, Donnelie, Donneley, O'Donnally and many more.

First found in County Donegal. Later, the sept expanded eastward and became based at Ballydonnelly in the county of Tyrone. The name continues to be common in this area of Ireland today. The name is believed to be directly descended from King Niall of the Nine Hostages, the great Irish general/king who died by the River Seine in France about 365 A.D., after soundly defeating the Romans and being instrumental in their return to the south. Niall made King Arthur's exploits seem rather small by comparison. The Donnelly chief was always elected Chief Marshall of the O'Neill forces and their exploits have filled the pages of Irish history compiled by the Four Masters. They are a part of the great Clann Eoghan(Owen). They claim to be seventeenth in descent from the great King Niall, and their territories were at Ballydonnelly in County Tyrone.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dannelly research. Another 221 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1641, 1650 and 1716 are included under the topic Early Dannelly History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 39 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dannelly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Dannelly name:

Dannelly Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Peter Dannelly, aged 31, who emigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1904
  • Patrick Dannelly, aged 20, who landed in America from New Derry, Ireland, in 1908
  • Hugh Dannelly, aged 37, who landed in America, in 1912
  • Edward Dannelly, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States, in 1922
  • John Dannelly, aged 44, who emigrated to America, in 1923

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  • Brian Dannelly, German-born, American Gen Art Film Festival winning film director and screenwriter
  • Charlie Smith Dannelly (b. 1995), American politician, Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly
  • William "Bill" Dannelly, American former Wilcox County probate judge, eponym of the William "Bill" Dannelly Reservoir, Wilcox County, Alabama


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  1. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  2. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  9. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  10. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 16 October 2013 at 17:04.

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