Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name O'Donely originally appeared in Gaelic as O Donnghaile, derived from the words "donn," which means brown, and "gal," which means valor.
Early Origins of the O'Donely family
The surname O'Donely was first found in County Donegal
. Later, the sept expanded eastward and became based at Ballydonnelly in the county of Tyrone
. The name continues to be common in this area of Ireland
today. The name is believed to be directly descended from King Niall of the Nine Hostages, the great Irish general/king who died by the River Seine in France about 365 A.D., after soundly defeating the Romans
and being instrumental in their return to the south. Niall made King Arthur's exploits seem rather small by comparison. The Donnelly chief was always elected Chief Marshall of the O'Neill forces and their exploits have filled the pages of Irish history compiled by the Four Masters. They are a part of the great Clann Eoghan(Owen). They claim to be seventeenth in descent from the great King Niall, and their territories were at Ballydonnelly in County Tyrone.
Early History of the O'Donely family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Donely research.Another 221 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1641, 1650 and 1716 are included under the topic Early O'Donely History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Donely Spelling Variations
Many spelling variations
of the surname O'Donely can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include Donnely, Donnelly, Donelly, O'Donnelly, O'Donelly, Donnolly, Donnally, Donolly, Donnilly, Donnelie, Donneley, O'Donnally and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Donely family (pre 1700)
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Donely Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Donely family to the New World and Oceana
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 O'Donely name: Catherine and Hugh Donnelly who settled in New York in 1803; Hugh Donnelly settled in Belfast, Maine in 1820; Bryan, Peter and Thomas Donnelly landed in America in 1763.