The Irish surname MacDonleavy 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 MacDonleavy family
The surname MacDonleavy 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 MacDonleavy family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacDonleavy research.Another 147 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1644, 1694, 1761, 1728 and 1746 are included under the topic Early MacDonleavy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacDonleavy Spelling Variations
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 MacDonleavy were encountered in the archives: Dunleavy, Dunlevie, Dunlevy, Dunlivie, McDunleavy, Donleavy and many more.
Early Notables of the MacDonleavy family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was Father Christopher Dunlevy, a Franciscan monk, who was martyred in 1644; and Reverend Andrew Donlevy (1694- c.1761), the Superior... Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacDonleavy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacDonleavy family to the New World and Oceana
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia
. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the MacDonleavy family came to North America quite early: Gregory Donlevy, who was naturalized in New York, NY in 1798; Walter Donlevy, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1813; Francis William Donlevy, who was naturalized in South Carolina in 1816.