The ancestors of the Donelson family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. Their surname comes from a powerful ruler. The name Donald
is derived from the Gaelic name Domhnull,
and the Celtic name Dubnovalos,
all of which mean "world ruler" or "world-mighty". The name ranks second only to John
in its popularity as a personal name
Early Origins of the Donelson family
The surname Donelson was first found in Galloway
(Gaelic: Gall-ghaidhealaibh), an area of southwestern Scotland
, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway
, that formerly consisted of the counties of Wigtown
(West Galloway) and Kirkcudbright (East Galloway), where they held a family seat
from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest
and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Early History of the Donelson family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donelson research.Another 302 words (22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donelson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Donelson Spelling Variations
Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations
in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, Donelson has been spelled Donald, Donaldson, Doneld, Donnald, Donnaldson and others.
Early Notables of the Donelson family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Donelson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Donelson family to Ireland
Some of the Donelson family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 189 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Donelson family to the New World and Oceana
Settlers from Scotland
put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence
. As Clan
societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Donelson were among those contributors: Alexander Donald who settled in Georgia in 1775; Cornelius Donald settled in Maryland in 1776; Mary Donald settled in Pennsylvania in 1773; along with David, and Nash.
Contemporary Notables of the name Donelson (post 1700)
- Lewis Donelson (1918-2018), American centenarian, attorney, co-founder of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
- John Donelson (1718-1785), American explorer and adventurer and co-founder of Nashville
- Daniel Smith Donelson (1801-1863), Tennessee politician and a Confederate general during the American Civil War
- Andrew Jackson Donelson (1799-1871), American diplomat and candidate for Vice President in 1856
- Donelson Caffery (1835-1906), American politician from the state of Louisiana
The Donelson Motto
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: Per mare, per terras
Motto Translation: By sea, by land.