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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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

The many Irish surnames in use today have long rich histories behind them. The name Donahue originally appeared in Gaelic as O Donnchadha, which means son of Donnchadh or son of Donagh.


Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Donahue are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include Donoghue, Donaghoe, Donaho, Donahoe, Donough, Donahue, Donahow, Doneghoe, Donehue, Donighue, Donohoe,Donahugh, Donohough, Donohow, Donohue, Donaughue, O'Donoghue, Dunphy, Donaghie, Donaghy and many more.

First found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donahue research. Another 210 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1640, 1811, 1812, and 1893 are included under the topic Early Donahue History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donahue Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Irish families boarded ships bound for North America in the middle of 19th century to escape the conditions of poverty and racial discrimination at that time. Although these immigrants often arrived in a destitute state, they went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. An inquiry into many immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants to North America bearing the Donahue family name:

Donahue Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Philip Donahue, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Donahue Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Robert Donahue, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1837
  • William Donahue, who arrived in Indiana in 1852
  • Patrick Donahue, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1853
  • Bridt Donahue, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Pat Donahue, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1854

Donahue Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Edmond Donahue, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1821
  • John Donahue, aged 22, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast

Donahue Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Margaret Donahue, aged 17, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Elgin"
  • Mary Donahue, aged 19, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Elgin"
  • Denis Donahue, aged 35, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Gloucester"
  • Mary Donahue, aged 20, a seamstress, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry"
  • Mary Donahue, aged 20, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Europa"

Donahue Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Cornelius Donahue, aged 21, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hudson" in 1879


  • Miss Sarah Donahue (d. 1915), American 2nd Class passenger from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Jed Donahue (b. 1960), American sports radio announcer
  • Troy Donahue (1936-2001), born Merle Johnson, Jr., American actor
  • Thomas R. Donahue (b. 1928), American organized labor activist
  • Terry Donahue (b. 1944), American college football coach, inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame (2000)
  • Sam Donahue (1918-1974), American saxophonist, best known for his work with Gene Krupa, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and others
  • Francis Rostell "Red" Donahue (1873-1913), American Major League Baseball player
  • Pat Donahue, American baseball player
  • Joseph Donahue (b. 1954), American poet
  • Mike Donahue (1871-1960), American athlete and football coach



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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  3. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  4. 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).
  5. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  11. ...

The Donahue Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Donahue 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 19 August 2015 at 18:14.

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