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

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

Many variations of the name Donlan have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as O Domhnallain, derived from the personal name of Domhallan, Lord of Clan Breasail, from whom the sept claims descent.

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The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Donlan were encountered in the archives: Donellan, Donnellan, Donnelan, Donelan, Donnellin, Donellin and many more.

First found in Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donlan research. Another 139 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1588, 1665, 1660, 1649 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Donlan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 89 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donlan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Donlan:

Donlan Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • James Donlan, who landed in Virginia in 1769-1770

Donlan Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Martin Donlan, aged 32, arrived in New York, NY in 1847
  • Patrick Donlan, aged 60, arrived in New York, NY in 1847

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  • Gretchen Donlan (b. 1993), American pair skater
  • James Donlan (1888-1938), American actor from San Francisco who appeared in 107 films between 1929 and 1939
  • Stuart Donlan (b. 1978), English former professional rugby league footballer
  • Steve Donlan, English professional rugby league footballer
  • Kenneth Donlan (1927-1994), British newspaper editor who worked for the Daily Mail for 25 years


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Omni violentia major
Motto Translation: Too strong for any violence.

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  1. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  2. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  3. 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).
  4. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Donlan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Donlan 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 26 February 2014 at 13:44.

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