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

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish

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

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name O'connor originally appeared in Gaelic as O Conchobhair, derived from the personal name Conchobhar.

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Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name O'connor revealed many variations, including Connor, Conner, Conor, Connors, O'Connor, Connores, Conner, Connar, Connars, O'Connar, O'Conner, Connair, Connairs, Connaire, Connaires, Cawner, Cawners, Caunnor, Cauner, Cauners and many more.

First found in Connacht. There were six different septs of this famous name scattered throughout Ireland, of which four continue to boast many members. However, the most important O'Connors were those of Connacht, divided into three main branches: O'Conor Don; O'Conor Roe; and O'Conor Sligo. The Connacht O'Connors were direct descendants of Conchobhar, King of Connacht, who died in 971 AD. Furthermore, this family produced the last two High Kings of Ireland: Turlough O'Connor (1088-1156) and Roderick O'Connor (1116-1196). It was the invasion of Leinster by Roderick O'Conner on behalf of the Prince of West Brefney that caused the King of Leinster, Dermod MacMorough, to flee to England for aid. This resulted in the Strongbow Invasion of 1168, the beginning of English domination over Ireland. Despite remaining stubbornly Catholic, the O'Connor family continued to maintain their elite position among the Irish nobility throughout the entire period of British dominance.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'connor research. Another 363 words(26 lines of text) covering the years 1002, 1641, 1652, 1710, 1791, 1838, 1906, 1763 and 1852 are included under the topic Early O'connor History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 111 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'connor Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name O'connor:

O'connor Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Charles O'Connor, who arrived in Dominica in 1774

O'connor Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Arthur O'Connor who arrived in Philadelphia in 1804

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  • Michael O'Connor (1810-1872), American Catholic bishop
  • Patrick Edward O'Connor (1820-1871), American pioneer, Civil war soldier for the Confederate side
  • Carroll O'Connor (1922-2001), American Emmy Award-winning television and stage actor
  • Sandra Day O'Connor (b. 1930), American lawyer, who became the first woman justice in the U.S. Supreme Court and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • David O'Connor (b. 1962), American equestrian rider who won a Gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games
  • Karen O'Connor (b. 1958), award-winning American equestrian rider
  • Edwin O'Connor (1918-1968), American radio personality, journalist, and novelist who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1962
  • Colonel, USMC, RET. Bryan D. O'Connor (b. 1946), NASA Astronaut with over 386 hours in space
  • Donald David Dixon Ronald O'Connor (1925-2003), American dancer, singer, and actor, best remembered for his co-starring role as Gene Kelly's friend in Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  • William Scott O'Connor (1883-1939), American Olympic sliver medalist for fencing at the 1904 games

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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  10. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
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This page was last modified on 21 July 2014 at 10:28.

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