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

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

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Neal is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion."


A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name O'Neal include O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.

First found in County Tyrone (Irish: Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, and County Clare where O'Neill was chief of Clan Dalvy and of Tradree, a district in the barony of Inchiquinn. In the 10th century, a branch of this family went to Limerick to assist in the expulsion of the Danes. After one victorious occasion they wore green boughs in their helmets and on their horses' heads signifying their victory.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Neal research. Another 215 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1559, 1530, 1567, 1550, 1616, 1612, 1664, 1694, 1689 and 1689 are included under the topic Early O'Neal History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 205 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Neal Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name O'Neal to North America:

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

  • Owen O'Neal settled in Virginia in 1751

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

  • Arthur O'Neal, aged 55, who settled in America, in 1894
  • Claude O'Neal, aged 22, who emigrated to the United States, in 1896

O'Neal Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Dudley S. O'Neal, aged 18, who landed in America from Barbados, in 1903
  • Edward O'Neal, aged 47, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Charles H. O'Neal, aged 42, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Bernard O'Neal, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Ella O'Neal, aged 1, who landed in America, in 1912


  • Dave O'Neal (b. 1937), American politician, former Lieutenant Governor of Illinois
  • Maston E. O'Neal Jr. (1907-1990), American politician
  • Charles O'Neal (1904-1996), American film and television screenwriter
  • Ron O'Neal (1937-2004), American actor, director and screenwriter
  • Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal (b. 1972), American retired basketball player
  • Randall Jeffrey O'Neal (b. 1960), retired American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Charles Patrick Ryan O'Neal (b. 1941), American Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated actor
  • Tatum Beatrice O'Neal (b. 1963), American actress, youngest person to receive an Academy Award at the age of 10
  • Jermaine Lee O'Neal (b. 1978), American professional basketball player
  • Patrice Malcolm O'Neal (1969-2011), American stand-up comedian, radio personality, and actor



  • O'Neal by Thelma O'Neal Beasley.

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  1. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  2. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  3. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The O'Neal Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The O'Neal 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 8 August 2014 at 11:35.

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