Show ContentsDonlevy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish surname Donlevy 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 Donlevy family

The surname Donlevy 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 Donlevy family

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

Donlevy Spelling Variations

Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the Donlevy family name include Dunleavy, Dunlevie, Dunlevy, Dunlivie, McDunleavy, Donleavy and many more.

Early Notables of the Donlevy family

Notable amongst the family name at this time was

  • Reverend Andrew Donlevy (1694- c.1761), was an Irish ecclesiastic, born about 1694, and received his early education in or near Ballymote, Sligo. He rose to become the Superior of the Irish College in...


United States Donlevy migration to the United States +

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 America. 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 Donlevy:

Donlevy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Gregory Donlevy, who landed in New York, NY in 1798 [1]
Donlevy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Walter Donlevy, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1813
  • Francis William Donlevy, who was naturalized in South Carolina in 1816

Contemporary Notables of the name Donlevy (post 1700) +

  • Tim Donlevy, American special effects specialist, known for his work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) and Avatar (2009)
  • Waldo Brian Donlevy (1901-1972), American Academy Award nominated actor, known for playing tough guy characters from the 1930s to the 1960s


  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)


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