Donnell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

This family was originally Mac Domhnaill in Gaelic, meaning 'son of Domhnall' and as such a patronymic name. The family claim descent from Colla Uais, the 121st Monarch of Ireland, a younger brother of Colla da Chrioch.

Early Origins of the Donnell family

The surname Donnell was first found in County Clare where MacDonell and O'Easkin were chiefs of the territories of Corca Baisgin or Baiscind, now the barony of Moyarta. However, according to John O'Hart, in his reference Irish Pedigrees, Hart agrees with Connellan's Annals of the Four Masters in that many of the tribe " Clan Colla" traveled from Ulster where they were the Earls of Antrim to settle in Scotland where they retained the name MacDonnell but were generally called MacDonalds who became the Lord of the Isles. Edward MacLysaght disagrees with O'Hart and believes the migration went he other way, in other words the MacDonalds came to Ireland in the 13th century to become the MacDonnells in Antrim. As both authorities were Chief Heralds of Ireland, and noted authors, we put both scenarios here for the reader to decide the family's origin.

Early History of the Donnell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donnell research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1505, 1890, 1505, 1590, 1636, 1615, 1699, 1609, 1683, 1691 and 1754 are included under the topic Early Donnell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Donnell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: McDonnell, Hoddonell, O'Donnal, Otonell, MacDonnell, Donneill, McDonel, McDonell, McDonneil, Hodonell, McDonnel, McDoneill, Odonell, Odonel, Donnelson, Donnell, Donnel, O'Donnall, Donell and many more.

Early Notables of the Donnell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Somhairle Buidhe Mac Domhnaill (Somerled of the yellow hair, son of Donnell, Anglicized Sorley Boy McDonnell) (c. 1505 - 1590), Irish prince or flaith and chief; Randal Macsorley MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim (died 1636); and his son, Alexander MacDonnell, 3rd Earl of Antrim (1615-1699), a Roman Catholic...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donnell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Donnell migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Donnell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Donnell, who landed in New England in 1652 [1]
  • Margarett Donnell, who landed in Virginia in 1658 [1]
  • Samuel Donnell, who landed in New England in 1692 [1]
  • Wager Donnell, who arrived in Virginia in 1697 [1]
Donnell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Donnell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [1]
  • Terrence Donnell, who landed in New York in 1789 [1]
  • Thomas Donnell, who arrived in Mississippi in 1798 [1]
Donnell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Donnell, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1801 [1]
  • Monassas Donnell, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806 [1]
  • Elizabeth Donnell, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [1]
  • Dennis Donnell, aged 26, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Andrew Donnell, aged 22, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Donnell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Donnell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Donnell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1831
  • Neal Donnell, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833
  • Anne Donnell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1833
  • Lydia Donnell, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834
  • Elline Donnell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1836
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Donnell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Donnell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Donnell, a currier, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Edward Donnell, a blacksmith, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. William Donnell, (b. 1819), aged 22, Irish farm labourer from Donegal, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [2]
  • Mrs. Rosanna Donnell, (b. 1819), aged 22, Irish farm servant from Donegal, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [3]
  • Miss Mar Donnell, (b. 1823), aged 18, Irish farm servant from County Derry, Ireland departing on 8th July 1841 from Greenock, Scotland aboard the ship "New York Packet" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 23rd October 1841 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Donnell migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Donnell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Philip Donnell, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864 [5]
  • Mary Donnell, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864 [5]
  • Margaret Donnell, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864 [5]
  • Joseph Donnell, aged 22, a ploughman, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Siberia" in 1870
  • Mr. Joseph Donnell, (b. 1847), aged 22, Irish ploughman, from County Tyrone travelling from London aboard the ship "Siberia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st February 1870 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Donnell (post 1700) +

  • Jean Marie "Jeff" Donnell (1921-1988), American actress, comedy and dramatist, she adopted the nickname "Jeff" after the character in her favorite comic strip, Mutt and Jeff, more recently known for her role as Aunt May Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)
  • Larry Donnell (b. 1988), American NFL football tight end for the New York Giants (2012-)
  • Richard Spaight Donnell (1820-1867), American politician, Congressional Representative from North Carolina, grandson of founding father Richard Dobbs Spaight
  • Colin Donnell (b. 1982), American actor best known for his roles as Billy Crocker in Anything Goes and the leading role of Tommy Merlyn in the television series Arrow
  • Ensign Earl Roe Donnell (1918-1942), American seaman killed in action while serving in Scouting Squadron 6 aboard the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6), eponym of the USS Donnell (DE-56), a Buckley-class destroyer escort
  • John Randolph Donnell (1912-2004), American oilman, banker and philanthropist, 1958 recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award and awarded the Bronze Wolf by the World Organization of the Scout Movement
  • James C. Donnell (1854-1927), Irish-born, American industrialist, President of The Ohio Oil Company (1911-1927)
  • Harry Ellingwood Donnell (1867-1959), American Beaux-Arts architect
  • Forrest C. Donnell (1884-1980), United States Senator, 40th Governor of Missouri (1945-1951)
  • Alison Donnell, British academic, Professor of Modern Literatures in English and Head of School of Literature and Languages at the University of Reading
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Francis Donnell, British Corporal, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was wounded in action [7]


The Donnell Motto +

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: His vinces
Motto Translation: With these you will conquer.


  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)
  2. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=193
  3. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=194
  4. ^ Ship Voyages to New South Wales (Retrieved 18th November 2020). Retrieved from http://indexes.records.nsw.gov.au/ebook/list.aspx?Page=NRS5316/4_4782/New%20York%20Packet_23%20Oct%201841/4_478200095.jpg&No=236
  5. ^ Archives New Zealand Micro 5019. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Alfred. Retrieved from http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ourstuff/Alfred1864.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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