MacKevitt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The original Gaelic versions of today's Irish names demonstrate a proud, ancient past. The original Gaelic form of the name MacKevitt is O Dochartaigh, from the word "dochartach," which means hurtful or obstructive and in this case, it would be termed as a nickname.
Early Origins of the MacKevitt family
The surname MacKevitt was first found in at Inishowen, in the barony of Raphoe, in County Donegal, where they were a large and influential sept, and were kin to the O'Donnells.
They were one of the principal Irish clans to resist the Norman invasion of 1170 and were known as the Lords of Innishowen directly descended from the distinguished Irish General King Niall of the Nine Hostages, who was descended from the Heremon line of Irish Kings.
The MacDevitts, who exist in large numbers in Inishowen, are descended from David O'Doherty, a chief of Cinel Conaill who was killed in 1208. Some members of the MacDevitt branch migrated to the territory of Oriel, now counties Louth, Monaghan, and south Down. There the "D" was aspirated creating the early Anglicization MacCaveat, and then the variation MacKevitt.
Expanding their territory, they came to rule the peninsula of Inishowen in the 14th century. However, the poorly-timed and disastrous rebellion against the English crown led by Sir Cahir O'Dougherty in 1608, drastically reduced the power of the once powerful sept.
"The O'Doghertys were a powerful Sept in County Donegal, and were located in Inishowen Barony, of which O'Dogherty was Lord. The Doghertys or Dohertys are numerously represented there at the present time." 
Early History of the MacKevitt family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacKevitt research. Another 61 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1783, 1587, 1608, 1608, 1677 and 1755 are included under the topic Early MacKevitt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacKevitt Spelling Variations
Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name MacKevitt dating from that time include Dockeray, Dockerty, Dockharty, Dogherty, Dougharty, Dougherty, Doherty, Doherety, Dohertey, Docherty, Docharty, MacDevitt and many more.
Early Notables of the MacKevitt family (pre 1700)
Notable among the family name at this time was Sir Cahir O'Dougherty (1587-1608), leader of the rebellion in 1608, the last Gaelic Lord of Inishowen. Angered by the confiscation of his lands for the Plantation of Ulster, he sacked and burned the town of Derry and killed the Governor, Sir George Paulet. He had quarreled with Paulet for some time and some claim that Paulet had assaulted him. The real reason for the...
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacKevitt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacKevitt family
A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name MacKevitt or a variant listed above: Bridget Dogherty who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1849; Alexander, Charles, Cornelius, Daniel, Edward, Francis, George, James, John, Patrick, Thomas, Doherty, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
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The MacKevitt 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: Ar Ndutcas
Motto Translation: Our heritage
- ^ Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print