McDowney 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 McDowney as O Dúnadhaigh. The name is essentially derived from the word dún which means fort.

Early Origins of the McDowney family

The surname McDowney was first found in the twelfth century.

Early History of the McDowney family

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

McDowney Spelling Variations

People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname McDowney that are preserved in archival documents are O'Downey, Dawney, MacDowney, MacEldowney, Muldowney and many more.

Early Notables of the McDowney 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 McDowney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the McDowney family

A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the McDowney name: 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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