O'day Surname History

All Irish surnames have a unique and often romantic meaning. The name O'day originally appeared in Gaelic as O Deaghaidh or O Diaghaidh.

Early Origins of the O'day family

The surname O'day was first found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where O'Dea was chief of Dysart-O'Dea, now the parish of Dysart, barony of Inchiquin, one of the original chiefs and clans of ancient Thomond. Today Dysert O'Dea Castle still stands near Corofin, County Clare with its Romanesque Doorway and High Cross and was the site of the Battle of Dysert O'Dea in 1318. It was here that the Irish chieftain Conor O'Dea, chief of the Cineal Fearmaic and ally of Murtough O'Brien, stood his ground only to be defeated by the invading forces from Scotland.

Important Dates for the O'day family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'day research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1318 and 1434 are included under the topic Early O'day History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'day Spelling Variations

Scribes and church officials, lacking today's standardized spelling rules, recorded names by how they were pronounced. This imprecise guide often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname O'day are preserved in documents of the family history. The various spellings of the name that were found include Day, Dea, O'Dea and others.

Early Notables of the O'day family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Most Rev. Thomas O'Dea; and Cornelius O'Dea (d. 1434), Archdeacon of Killaloe and later Bishop of Limerick. Three items of his have survived over the centuries: his Mitre, Crozier and a manuscript now entitled "The Black Book of Limerick." Today, they are all kept in Limerick's Hunt Museum. "According to a legend Bishop Cornelius O'Dea went to Dublin to attend a synod of bishops without his...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'day Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'day migration to the United States

In the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of Irish families fled an Ireland that was forcibly held through by England through its imperialistic policies. A large portion of these families crossed the Atlantic to the shores of North America. The fate of these families depended on when they immigrated and the political allegiances they showed after they arrived. Settlers that arrived before the American War of Independence may have moved north to Canada at the war's conclusion as United Empire Loyalists. Such Loyalists were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Those that fought for the revolution occasionally gained the land that the fleeing Loyalist vacated. After this period, free land and an agrarian lifestyle were not so easy to come by in the East. So when seemingly innumerable Irish immigrants arrived during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s, free land for all was out of the question. These settlers were instead put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Whenever they came, Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name O'day or a variant listed above, including:

O'day Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James O'Day, who settled in America, in 1892
  • Danial O'Day, aged 22, who landed in America, in 1893
  • Alice O'Day, aged 26, who landed in America, in 1895
  • Daniel O'Day, aged 50, who settled in America, in 1896
  • Fanny O'Day, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States, in 1896
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
O'day Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • George O'Day, aged 26, who landed in America from Tullycrine Co. Clare, in 1905
  • John O'Day, aged 7, who immigrated to the United States, in 1905
  • Geraldine O'Day, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • Edward F. O'Day, aged 24, who settled in America, in 1908
  • David C O'Day, aged 50, who landed in America, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

O'day migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'day Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Dennis O'Day, aged 40, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Trafalgar" from Liverpool, England

O'day migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

O'day Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth O'Day, aged 21, a housemaid, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Douglas" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name O'day (post 1700)

  • Daniel O'Day, one of northwestern Pennsylvania's earliest independent refiners to be brought into John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company
  • Nell O'Day (1909-1989), American equestrian and B-movie actress of the 1930s and 1940s
  • Pat O'Day (b. 1934), American Pacific Northwest broadcaster and promoter
  • Marcus Driver O'Day (1897-1961), American physicist, eponym of the O'Day lunar crater
  • Molly O'Day (1911-1998), born Suzanne Dobson Noonan, an American film actress, known for The Patent Leather Kid (1927), Sea Devils (1931) and Chloe, Love Is Calling You (1934); she has a Star on the Walk of Fame
  • Caroline Love Goodwin O'Day (1875-1943), American politician, the third woman, and first woman Democrat, elected to Congress from New York
  • Darren O'Day (b. 1982), American Major League Baseball relief pitcher for the Texas Rangers
  • Alan O'Day (1940-2013), American singer-songwriter, best known for writing and singing "Undercover Angel," an American No. 1 hit in 1977
  • Hank O'Day (1862-1935), American right-handed pitcher, umpire and manager in Major League Baseball
  • George O'Day (1923-1987), American sailor, Olympic champion and boat designer
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
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