O'Donolly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name O'Donolly 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'Donolly family
The surname O'Donolly 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'Donolly family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Donolly research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1641, 1650, 1716, 1786, 1816, 1825, 1826 and 1836 are included under the topic Early O'Donolly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Donolly Spelling Variations
The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name O'Donolly revealed spelling variations, including Donnely, Donnelly, Donelly, O'Donnelly, O'Donelly, Donnolly, Donnally, Donolly, Donnilly, Donnelie, Donneley, O'Donnally and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Donolly family
Notable among the family name at this time was Patrick Donnelly (1650-1716), an Irish Roman Catholic Bishop, known as The Bard of Armagh, born in Desertcreaght, Cookstown, County Tyrone.
John Feltham Danneley, "born at Oakingham in 1786, was the second son of a lay-clerk of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. At fifteen years of age he studied thorough bass under Samuel Webbe, and the pianoforte first under Charles Knyvett and afterwards under Charles Neate. He resided...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Donolly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Donolly family
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'Donolly 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.