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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Many variations of the name Donlan have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as O Domhnallain, derived from the personal name of Domhallan, Lord of Clan Breasail, from whom the sept claims descent.


The surname Donlan was first found in Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Donlan were encountered in the archives: Donellan, Donnellan, Donnelan, Donelan, Donnellin, Donellin and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donlan research. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1588, 1665, 1660, 1649 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Donlan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Prominent amongst the family at this time was Reverend Nehemiah Donellan (d. 1609), Archbishop of Tuam, who translated the New Testament into Irish; and Sir James Donnellan...

Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donlan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North Ameri ca. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Donlan:

Donlan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Donlan, who landed in Virginia in 1769-1770

Donlan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Martin Donlan, aged 32, arrived in New York, NY in 1847
  • Patrick Donlan, aged 60, arrived in New York, NY in 1847

Donlan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Donlan, aged 24, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"

  • James Donlan (1888-1938), American actor from San Francisco who appeared in 107 films between 1929 and 1939
  • Gretchen Donlan (b. 1993), American pair skater
  • Kenneth Donlan (1927-1994), British newspaper editor who worked for the Daily Mail for 25 years
  • Steve Donlan, English professional rugby league footballer
  • Stuart Donlan (b. 1978), English former professional rugby league footballer

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: Omni violentia major
Motto Translation: Too strong for any violence.


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    Other References

    1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    2. 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.
    3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
    6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    8. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
    9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    11. ...

    The Donlan Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Donlan 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 2 April 2016 at 16:54.

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