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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish O'Donnell family come from? What is the Irish O'Donnell family crest and coat of arms? When did the O'Donnell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the O'Donnell family history?

The original Gaelic form of O'Donnell was O'Domhnaill, which means descendant of Domhnall or descendant of Donal(l.) The name is derived from the Irish words "domhan" (the world) and "all" (mighty): son of Colga, a quo O'Domhnaill. [1] The surname claims descendancy from the Heremon Kings of Ireland. [1]

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Pronunciation, rather than spelling, guided scribes and church officials when recording names during the Middle Ages. This practice often resulted in one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname O'Donnell are preserved in these old documents. The various spellings of the name that were found include O Donnell, O'Donald, O'Donle, O'Donall, O'Donnell and others.

First found in County Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) part of the province of Connacht, located on the west coast of the Island, where records show this distinguished Irish Clann were directly descended from Connell, son of King Niall of the Nine Hostages who died in 371. Today the most numerous listing of the name can be found in Tirconaill (Donegal), but there are two other branches that are significant, those in Corcabaskin in West Clare, and those of the Ui Maine (Hy Many) in County Galway. [2] All descend from the same ancestor name Domhnall (English: Donal) and are O Domhnaill (Irish Gaelic.) The Donegal "promedominance only dates from the thirteenth century; prior to that they were located in the comparatively restricted area around Kilmacrenan, County Donegal." [2]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Donnell research. Another 135 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1571, 1602, 1601, 1602, 1575 and 1608 are included under the topic Early O'Donnell History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 149 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Donnell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'Donnell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Richard O'Donnell settled in Bay de Verde, Newfoundland in 1802
  • Edward O'Donnell settled in Isle Valen, Newfoundland and died there in 1828
  • Biddy O'Donnell, aged 17, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Britannia" from Sligo
  • Neil O'Donnell, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Trial" in 1833
  • Nancy O'Donnell, aged 18, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833


O'Donnell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Maria O'Donnell, aged 19, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina"
  • Maurice O'Donnell, aged 24, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett"
  • Catherine O'Donnell, aged 23, a dairy maid, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "David Malcolm"
  • Bridget O'Donnell, aged 22, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Emerald Isle"
  • Ellen O'Donnell, aged 20, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Emerald Isle"


O'Donnell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Catherine O'Donnell arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863
  • Philip O'Donnell, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864
  • Mary O'Donnell, aged 30, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864
  • Margaret O'Donnell, aged 3, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864
  • James O'Donnell arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865


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  • Chris O'Donnell (b. 1970), American film actor
  • Roseann "Rosie" O'Donnell (b. 1962), American multiple Daytime Emmy Award winning and Emmy Award winning actress and talk show host
  • Edward Joseph O'Donnell (1932-2009), American Bishop Emeritus of Lafayette
  • Martin "Marty" O'Donnell (b. 1955), American composer known for his work the video games Myth, Oni, and Halo
  • Neil Kennedy O'Donnell (b. 1966), former American NFL football quarterback
  • Mr. Patrick O'Donnell, American 2nd Class passenger from Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Don Leopoldo O'Donnell (1809-1867), Spanish general and statesman, Prime Minister of Spain (1856) whose heritage lay with the Irish O'Donnells of Tyrconnel
  • Daniel O'Donnell, Irish contemporary singer
  • Patrick Denis O'Donnell (1922-2005), Irish military historian
  • Stephen O'Donnell (b. 1986), Irish professional footballer

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  • O'Donnell-Miller and Associated Families by Dorothy Miller O'Donnell.
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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  2. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  3. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  4. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  10. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  11. ...

The O'Donnell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The O'Donnell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 22 May 2015 at 12:42.

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