McDonnell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

This family was originally Mac Domhnaill in Gaelic, meaning 'son of Domhnall' and as such a patronymic name. The family claim descent from Colla Uais, the 121st Monarch of Ireland, a younger brother of Colla da Chrioch.

Early Origins of the McDonnell family

The surname McDonnell was first found in County Clare where MacDonell and O'Easkin were chiefs of the territories of Corca Baisgin or Baiscind, now the barony of Moyarta. However, according to John O'Hart, in his reference Irish Pedigrees, Hart agrees with Connellan's Annals of the Four Masters in that many of the tribe " Clan Colla" traveled from Ulster where they were the Earls of Antrim to settle in Scotland where they retained the name MacDonnell but were generally called MacDonalds who became the Lord of the Isles. Edward MacLysaght disagrees with O'Hart and believes the migration went he other way, in other words the MacDonalds came to Ireland in the 13th century to become the MacDonnells in Antrim. As both authorities were Chief Heralds of Ireland, and noted authors, we put both scenarios here for the reader to decide the family's origin.

Early History of the McDonnell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDonnell research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1505, 1890, 1505, 1590, 1636, 1615, 1699, 1609, 1683, 1691 and 1754 are included under the topic Early McDonnell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McDonnell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: McDonnell, Hoddonell, O'Donnal, Otonell, MacDonnell, Donneill, McDonel, McDonell, McDonneil, Hodonell, McDonnel, McDoneill, Odonell, Odonel, Donnelson, Donnell, Donnel, O'Donnall, Donell and many more.

Early Notables of the McDonnell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Somhairle Buidhe Mac Domhnaill (Somerled of the yellow hair, son of Donnell, Anglicized Sorley Boy McDonnell) (c. 1505 - 1590), Irish prince or flaith and chief; Randal Macsorley MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim (died 1636); and his son, Alexander MacDonnell, 3rd Earl of Antrim (1615-1699), a Roman Catholic...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McDonnell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McDonnell World Ranking

In the United States, the name McDonnell is the 3,058th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [1] However, in Australia, the name McDonnell is ranked the 725th most popular surname with an estimated 5,358 people with that name. [2] And in the United Kingdom, the name McDonnell is the 964th popular surname with an estimated 7,234 people with that name. [3]


United States McDonnell migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McDonnell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward McDonnell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [4]
  • Roger McDonnell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [4]
McDonnell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William McDonnell, who landed in New York in 1801 [4]
  • Patk McDonnell, aged 20, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803 [4]
  • James Joseph McDonnell, aged 40, who landed in New York in 1805 [4]
  • James McDonnell, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1807 [4]
  • Joel McDonnell, who landed in Connecticut in 1812 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McDonnell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McDonnell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Finnan McDonnell U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [5]
  • Mr. Randy McDonnell U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [5]
McDonnell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Rod McDonnell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Anth McDonnell, aged 23, who arrived in Canada in 1811
  • Anthony McDonnell, aged 23, who landed in Red River, Canada in 1811
  • Anthy McDonnell, aged 23, who arrived in Canada in 1811
  • Jeannet McDonnell, who arrived in Canada in 1815
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McDonnell migration to Australia +

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

McDonnell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Catherine Mcdonnell, (McDonald), (b. 1793), aged 20, Irish servant who was convicted in County Tyrone, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Eneas Mcdonnell, (Mcdonald), (b. 1791), aged 23, Irish labourer who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Canada" on 5th December 1814, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Mathew Mcdonnell, (b. 1794), aged 24, Irish convict who was convicted in Limerick, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Earl St Vincent" on 9th August 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. James Mcdonnell, (b. 1778), aged 42, Irish servant who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years for felony, transported aboard the "Dorothy" on 5th May 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. Patrick Mcdonnell, (b. 1816), aged 22, Irish labourer who was convicted in Antrim, Ireland for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 11th May 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McDonnell migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McDonnell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas McDonnell, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1829 aboard the ship Lady Flora
  • James McDONNELL, who landed in Rangitikei, New Zealand in 1840
  • Samuel McDONNELL, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Nimrod
  • Thomas McDonnell, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Jane" in 1841
  • George McDonnell, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Jane" in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McDonnell (post 1700) +

  • John McDonnell (1938-2021), American head coach for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks track team
  • Patrick McDonnell (b. 1956), American creator of the daily comic strip Mutts, recipient of the Caldecott Honor medal in 2012
  • Mary McDonnell (b. 1952), American film, stage, and television actress
  • James Smith "Jim" McDonnell (1899-1980), American aircraft manufacturer and pioneer in space technology, founder of The McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in 1939
  • Alexander Randal Mark McDonnell FRSA (1935-2021), 9th Earl of Antrim a Northern Irish peer, son of The 8th Earl of Antrim
  • Sir Alexander McDonnell (1794-1875), 1st Baronet, an Irish civil servant, commissioner of national education in Ireland
  • Stephen McDonnell (b. 1992), Irish footballer who plays for Dundalk
  • Alexander McDonnell (1798-1835), Irish chess master, unofficial 1835 World Champion
  • Alasdair McDonnell (b. 1949), Northern Irish politician, deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party
  • Donald McDonnell (1933-2021), Australian boxer who competed in the men's featherweight event at the 1952 Summer Olympics
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Michael Joseph McDonnell, British Butcher from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [11]
Hillsborough disaster
  • Peter McDonnell (1968-1989), English bricklayer who was attending the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, Yorkshire when the stand allocated area became overcrowded and 96 people were crushed in what became known as the Hillsborough disaster and he died from his injuries [12]
Monongah Mine
  • Mr. Patsy McDonnell (b. 1889), Scottish coal miner who was at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [13]
RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Kate Mcdonnell, Irish 2nd Class passenger residing in New York, New York, USA visiting Ireland, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [14]


The McDonnell 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: His vinces
Motto Translation: With these you will conquer.


Suggested Readings for the name McDonnell +

  • Golden Clan: the Murrays, the McDonnells, and Irish American Aristocracy by John Corry.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  3. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 2nd January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/catherine
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-st-vincent
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dorothy
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/clyde
  11. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  12. ^ Hillsborough Victims (retreived 21st March 2021). Retreived from https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/15/remembering-96-victims-hillsborough-disaster-30-years-9206566/
  13. ^ Monongah Mining Disaster retrieved on 8th August 2021. (Retrieved fromhttps://usminedisasters.miningquiz.com/saxsewell/monongah.htm).
  14. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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