Donleavy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish surname Donleavy originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Duinnshleibh, derived from the words "dun," meaning "fortress," or perhaps "donn," which means "brown," and "sliabh," which means "mountain."

Early Origins of the Donleavy family

The surname Donleavy was first found in Ulidia, in northern Ireland, where they were said to have descended from the Princes of Ulidia, who were in turn descended from the Heremon line of Irish Kings; the modern name for Ulidia, is Ulster. The "Four Masters" list that in 1199, a Rory O'Dunsleve joined the English (Norman soldiers) at Meath and plundered the monastery of Saint Peter and Paul in Armagh. In the 12th century during the Anglo/ Norman invasion of Ireland, the Dunleavys migrated to Tir Connell now known as Donegal and became hereditary physicians to the distinguished O'Donnells.

Early History of the Donleavy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donleavy research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1644, 1694, 1761, 1694, 1728 and 1746 are included under the topic Early Donleavy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Donleavy Spelling Variations

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name Donleavy family name. Variations found include Dunleavy, Dunlevie, Dunlevy, Dunlivie, McDunleavy, Donleavy and many more.

Early Notables of the Donleavy family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Father Christopher Dunlevy, a Franciscan monk, who was martyred in 1644. Reverend Andrew Donlevy (1694- c.1761), was an Irish ecclesiastic, born about 1694, and received his early education in or...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donleavy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Donleavy migration to the United States +

To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. 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 Donleavy or a variant listed above, including:

Donleavy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Donleavy, who settled in Philadelphia in 1832

Contemporary Notables of the name Donleavy (post 1700) +

  • James Patrick Donleavy (1926-2017), American novelist and playwright, best-known work is the novel The Ginger Man


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