Donachy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The forbears of the name Donachy are thought to be of the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The name indicates that the first bearer lived on the lands of Stewart of Atholl. Anciently, they were known as Clan Donnachaidh, coming from the Gaelic name Donnachadh Reamhar, or Duncan the Stout, one of the Celtic Earls of Atholl. Most of the Clan took on the name Robertson, which comes from the personal name of 15th century Clan chief Robert Riach.

Early Origins of the Donachy family

The surname Donachy was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Donachy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donachy research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1600 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Donachy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Donachy 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, Donachy has been spelled Robertson, Conachie, Conaghy, Conacher, Conaghy, Conchie, Donnachie, Donachie and many more.

Early Notables of the Donachy family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Donachy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Donachy family to Ireland

Some of the Donachy family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Donachy migration to the United States +

Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The Donachy were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

Donachy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Cath and James Donachy, who landed in America in 1805
  • Catherine and James Donachy, who landed in America in 1805
  • Cath Donachy, who arrived in America in 1805 [1]
  • Jos Donachy, who landed in America in 1805 [1]

New Zealand Donachy 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:

Donachy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Nixon Donachy, (b. 1834), aged 27, British carpenter travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 10th February 1862 [2]


The Donachy 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: Virtutis gloria merces
Motto Translation: Glory is the reward of valour.


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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