The old Gaelic name used by the O'Brein family in Ireland
was O Briain, which means descendant of Brian.
Early Origins of the O'Brein family
The surname O'Brein was first found in Thomond
, a territory comprised of most of County Clare
with adjacent parts of counties Limerick
. Prior to the 10th century, the sept was a Dalcassian Clan
known as the Ui Toirdealbhaigh and achieved prominence with the rise of their eponymous ancestor, Brian Boru (941-1014), to the High Kingship of Ireland
. Brian Boru, by far the most outstanding figure of this family, is widely acknowledged as the greatest of all the ancient Kings of Ireland
and is best remembered for driving the Norsemen out of Ireland
at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.
Early History of the O'Brein family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Brein research.Another 373 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1551, 1369, 1400, 1577, 1663, 1690, 1614, 1674, 1642, 1678, 1640, 1692, 1699, 1771, 1600, 1651, 1642, 1717, 1692 and 1714 are included under the topic Early O'Brein History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Brein Spelling Variations
Irish names recorded during the Middle Ages are characterized by many spelling variations
. This preponderance of variations for common names can be explained by the fact that the scribes and church officials that kept records during that period individually decided how to capture one's name. These recorders primarily based their decisions on how the name was pronounced or what it meant. Research into the name O'Brein revealed many variations, including O'Brien, OBrine, O'Brion, O'Bryan, O'Bryen, McBrien, McBrine, Brian, Briand, Briant, Brine, Brines, Briens and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Brein family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was Brian Sreamhach MacMathghamhna O'Brien, king of the Irish region of Thomond
(1369-1400); Daniel O'Brien (1577-1663), member of the Supreme Council of Catholic Confederates; Daniel O'Brien (d. 1690), founder of the Irish Brigade known as Clare's Dragoons; Murrough McDermod O'Brien, 1st Earl of... Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Brein Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Brein family to the New World and Oceana
Under the rule of England
, land ownership in Ireland
changed dramatically, and many native Irish families
found themselves renting out land to farm from absentee owners. This was one of the prime reasons that immigration to North America began in the late 18th century: Irish farmers dreamed of owning their own parcel of land to work for themselves. At this point, the immigrants were at least of modest means for the passage across the Atlantic was often quite dear. In the 1840s the Great Potato Famine
created an exodus of people of quite different means. These people were most often destitute: they either sold anything they had to gain a passage or they were sponsored by philanthropic societies. Many of these immigrants were sick from disease and starvation: as a result many did not survive the long transatlantic journey. Although those settlers that did survive were often despised and discriminated against by people already established in these nations, they were critical to rapid development of the powerful industrial nations of the United States and the country that would later become known as Canada. An examination of immigration and passenger lists shows many persons bearing the name of O'Brein or one of its variants: Archibald O'Brian settled in Virginia in 1773.
The O'Brein 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: Lamh laidir an Uachtar
Motto Translation: The strong hand from above.