An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
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, or MacDhomhnuill, 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 in Scotland.
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.
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.
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.
More information is included under the topic Early Donelson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
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.
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.
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.
The Donelson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Donelson 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 28 October 2014 at 15:02.