from around the year 1200 until the 18th century. It is from this language that we found the first references to the name MacDowney as O Dúnadhaigh. The name is essentially derived from the word dún which means fort.
The surname MacDowney was first found in the twelfth century.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacDowney research.Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1420 is included under the topic Early MacDowney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations
of the surname MacDowney were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. O'Downey, Dawney, MacDowney, MacEldowney, Muldowney and many more.
The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families
for the distant shores of North America and Australia
. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England
. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence
. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland
at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the MacDowney family relocated to North American shores quite early: James Downey who went to Pennsylvania in 1711; Brian Dawney arrived in Virginia in 1722; Elizabeth Downey went to Philadelphia in 1745; William Downey settled in New York in 1777.