Donnolly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Donnolly originally appeared in Gaelic as O Donnghaile, derived from the words "donn," which means "brown," and "gal," which means "valor."

Early Origins of the Donnolly family

The surname Donnolly was first found in County Donegal. Later, the sept expanded eastward and became based at Ballydonnelly in the county of Tyrone. The name continues to be common in this area of Ireland today.

The name is believed to be directly descended from King Niall of the Nine Hostages, the great Irish general/king who died by the River Seine in France about 365 A.D., after soundly defeating the Romans and being instrumental in their return to the south. Niall made King Arthur's exploits seem rather small by comparison.

The Donnelly chief was always elected Chief Marshall of the O'Neill forces and their exploits have filled the pages of Irish history compiled by the Four Masters. They are a part of the great Clann Eoghan(Owen).

They claim to be seventeenth in descent from the great King Niall, and their territories were at Ballydonnelly in County Tyrone.

Early History of the Donnolly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donnolly research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1641, 1650, 1716, 1786, 1816, 1825, 1826 and 1836 are included under the topic Early Donnolly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Donnolly Spelling Variations

Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Donnolly family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Donnely, Donnelly, Donelly, O'Donnelly, O'Donelly, Donnolly, Donnally, Donolly, Donnilly, Donnelie, Donneley, O'Donnally and many more.

Early Notables of the Donnolly family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Patrick Donnelly (1650-1716), an Irish Roman Catholic Bishop, known as The Bard of Armagh, born in Desertcreaght, Cookstown, County Tyrone. John Feltham Danneley, "born at Oakingham in 1786, was the second son of a lay-clerk of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. At fifteen years of age he studied thorough bass under Samuel Webbe, and the pianoforte first under Charles Knyvett and afterwards under Charles Neate. He resided...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donnolly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Donnolly migration to the United States +

During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Donnolly family in North America:

Donnolly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Simon Donnolly, aged 22, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804 [1]

Canada Donnolly migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Donnolly Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Niel Donnolly, aged 30, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Kitty Donnolly, aged 40, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast, Ireland
  • James Donnolly, aged 53, a pensioner, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Daniel Donnolly, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • Kitty Donnolly, aged 24, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Donnolly migration to Australia +

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

Donnolly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Anne Donnolly, (b. 1785), aged 33, Irish servant who was convicted in Monaghan, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" on 26th July 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • Mrs. Catherine Donnolly, (b. 1803), aged 34, Irish house servant who was convicted in Kilkenny, Ireland for 7 years for vagrancy, transported aboard the "Diamond" on 29th November 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Daniel Donnolly, aged 28, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Admiral Boxer"
  • Mr. Peter Donnolly, (Anderson, Thomas), British Convict who was convicted in Dorchester, Dorset, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Corona" on 13th October 1866, arriving in Western Australia, Australia [4]


  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elizabeth
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 1st July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Diamond
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/corona


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