McDownie 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 McDownie as O Dúnadhaigh. The name is essentially derived from the word dún which means fort.
Early Origins of the McDownie family
The surname McDownie was first found in the twelfth century.
Early History of the McDownie family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDownie research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1420 is included under the topic Early McDownie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McDownie Spelling Variations
Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname McDownie 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.
Early Notables of the McDownie 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 McDownie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McDownie family
To escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, thousands of Irish left their homeland in the 19th century. These migrants typically settled in communities throughout the East Coast of North America, but also joined the wagon trains moving out to the Midwest. Ironically, when the American War of Independence began, many Irish settlers took the side of England, and at the war's conclusion moved north to Canada. These United Empire Loyalists, were granted land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula. Other Irish immigrants settled in Newfoundland, the Ottawa Valley, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, however, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America and Australia. Many of those numbers, however, did not live through the long sea passage. These Irish settlers to North America were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. Irish settlers made an inestimable contribution to the building of the New World. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name McDownie or a variant listed above, including: 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.