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

Where did the Irish Donahue family come from? What is the Irish Donahue family crest and coat of arms? When did the Donahue family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Donahue family history?

The many Irish surnames in use today have long rich histories behind them. The name Donahue originally appeared in Gaelic as O Donnchadha, which means son of Donnchadh or son of Donagh.


Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Donahue are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include Donoghue, Donaghoe, Donaho, Donahoe, Donough, Donahue, Donahow, Doneghoe, Donehue, Donighue, Donohoe,Donahugh, Donohough, Donohow, Donohue, Donaughue, O'Donoghue, Dunphy, Donaghie, Donaghy and many more.

First found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donahue research. Another 210 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1640, 1811, 1812, and 1893 are included under the topic Early Donahue History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 28 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donahue Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Irish families boarded ships bound for North America in the middle of 19th century to escape the conditions of poverty and racial discrimination at that time. Although these immigrants often arrived in a destitute state, they went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. An inquiry into many immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants to North America bearing the Donahue family name:

Donahue Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Philip Donahue, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Donahue Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Donahue, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1837
  • William Donahue, who arrived in Indiana in 1852
  • Patrick Donahue, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1853
  • Bridt Donahue, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Pat Donahue, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1854


  • Elinor Donahue (b. 1937), American actress who achieved stardom for her role as the elder daughter, Betty, on the television family series Father Knows Best
  • Phillip John "Phil" Donahue (b. 1935), American media personality, writer, and film producer best known as the creator and host of The Phil Donahue Show
  • Ann Donahue (b. 1955), American television writer, best known for her work on the CSI franchises
  • Arthur Gerald "Art" Donahue (1913-1942), American fighter pilot and ace who flew for the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain, recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Cornelius "Lame Johnny" Donahue (1850-1878), American Old West outlaw, rustler and horse thief
  • Heather Donahue (b. 1974), American actress
  • John Leo Donahue (b. 1944), American politician, Louisiana politician and philanthropist
  • Jed Donahue (b. 1960), American Sports Radio
  • Jerry Donahue (b. 1946), American guitarist
  • John Augustus "Jiggs" Donahue (1879-1913), American Major League Baseball player



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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  2. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  3. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  7. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  10. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  11. ...

The Donahue Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Donahue Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 September 2014 at 13:55.

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