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O'Doharty History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



The original Gaelic versions of today's Irish names demonstrate a proud, ancient past. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Doharty is O Dochartaigh, from the word "dochartach," which means hurtful or obstructive and in this case, it would be termed as a nickname.

Early Origins of the O'Doharty family


The surname O'Doharty was first found in at Inishowen, in the barony of Raphoe, in County Donegal, where they were a large and influential sept, and were kin to the O'Donnells.

They were one of the principal Irish clans to resist the Norman invasion of 1170 and were known as the Lords of Innishowen directly descended from the distinguished Irish General King Niall of the Nine Hostages, who was descended from the Heremon line of Irish Kings.

The MacDevitts, who exist in large numbers in Inishowen, are descended from David O'Doherty, a chief of Cinel Conaill who was killed in 1208. Some members of the MacDevitt branch migrated to the territory of Oriel, now counties Louth, Monaghan, and south Down. There the "D" was aspirated creating the early Anglicization MacCaveat, and then the variation MacKevitt.

Expanding their territory, they came to rule the peninsula of Inishowen in the 14th century. However, the poorly-timed and disastrous rebellion against the English crown led by Sir Cahir O'Dougherty in 1608, drastically reduced the power of the once powerful sept.


Early History of the O'Doharty family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Doharty research.
Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1783, 1587, 1608 and 1608 are included under the topic Early O'Doharty History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Doharty Spelling Variations


Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the O'Doharty family name include Dockeray, Dockerty, Dockharty, Dogherty, Dougharty, Dougherty, Doherty, Doherety, Dohertey, Docherty, Docharty, MacDevitt and many more.

Early Notables of the O'Doharty family (pre 1700)


Notable among the family name at this time was Sir Cahir O'Dougherty (1587-1608), leader of the rebellion in 1608, the last Gaelic Lord of Inishowen. Angered by the confiscation of his lands for the Plantation of Ulster, he sacked and burned the town of Derry and killed the Governor, Sir George...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Doharty Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the O'Doharty family to the New World and Oceana


Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name O'Doharty to North America: Bridget Dogherty who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1849; Alexander, Charles, Cornelius, Daniel, Edward, Francis, George, James, John, Patrick, Thomas, Doherty, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.

The O'Doharty 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: Ar Ndutcas
Motto Translation: Our heritage


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