The surname is one of the Anglo-Norman names that arrived in Ireland
in the wake of the 12th century invasion by Richard "Strongbow" de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke. The surname O'Dillon belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Originally, these place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. The name of the O'Dillon family comes from the name of the town of Lyon in central France. In France, the name may also have been a nickname
for a fierce or brave warrior, as derived from the Old French word "lion," which meant "lion." The Irish Gaelic form of the surname O'Dillon is Diolún.
Early Origins of the O'Dillon family
The surname O'Dillon was first found in at Drumrany in County Westmeath
(Irish: An Iarmhí) in the Irish Midlands, province of Leinster
, where they were the Barons of Drumrany. The Dillon family is descended from Sir Henry de Leon, a member of a noble Breton
family who came to Ireland
in 1185, in the service of the Earl of Morton, who later became King John. For de Leon's service, King John granted him MacCarrons territory, part of Annaly, and other vast possessions, including a castle at Dunimon.
Early History of the O'Dillon family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Dillon research.Another 367 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1572, 1794, 1624, 1610, 1629, 1629, 1630, 1615, 1672, 1674, 1682, 1691, 1642, 1642, 1605, 1649, 1652, 1633, 1685, 1627, 1689, 1715 and 1713 are included under the topic Early O'Dillon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Dillon Spelling Variations
Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name O'Dillon revealed many spelling variations
including Dillon, Delion, Dilune, Dilon, Dylon, Dillan, Dillen and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Dillon family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was Theobald Dillon, 1st Viscount Dillon (died 1624), was an Irish military commander and adventurer who claimed descent from the Anglo-Norman Henry le Dillon; Lucas Dillon, 2nd Viscount Dillon (1610-1629); Theobald Dillon, 3rd Viscount Dillon (1629-1630); Thomas Dillon, 4th Viscount Dillon (1615-1672); Thomas... Another 118 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Dillon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Dillon family to the New World and Oceana
experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape the horrific conditions. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families
. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name O'Dillon: William Dillon who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1796; John Dillon settled in St. John's in 1814; Moses Dillon settled in Harbour Grace in 1814.
The O'Dillon 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: Dum spiro spero
Motto Translation: While I have breath I hope.