MacDownie History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Gaelic, otherwise known as Early Modern Irish, was used in Ireland from around the year 1200 until the 18th century. It is from this language that we found the first references to the name MacDownie as O Dúnadhaigh. The name is essentially derived from the word dún which means fort.

Early Origins of the MacDownie family

The surname MacDownie was first found in the twelfth century.

Early History of the MacDownie family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacDownie research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1420 is included under the topic Early MacDownie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacDownie Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name MacDownie revealed spelling variations, including O'Downey, Dawney, MacDowney, MacEldowney, Muldowney and many more.

Early Notables of the MacDownie family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was the O'Dunadhaigh sept found in Luchair, the old name of a region that lay on the borders of...
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacDownie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacDownie family

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 MacDownie family came to North America 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.



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