O'Dowd History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The original Gaelic form of O'Dowd was O Dubhda. The first portion of the name comes from the word dubh, which means black or dark complexioned. 
Early Origins of the O'Dowd family
The surname O'Dowd was first found in County Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo) located on the West coast of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Connacht. King Niall, brother of Fiachra and descended from Daithi, was one of the last pagan Kings of Ireland. For centuries they were the leading sept of northern Ui Fiachrach. Their territory comprised the baronies of Erris and Tirawley in the county of Mayo and Tireagh in Sligo.  They were the traditional Princes of Hy-Fiachra in Connaught. 
Early History of the O'Dowd family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Dowd research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1354, 1579, 1813, 1891, 1579, 1579, 1656, 1706 and 1656 are included under the topic Early O'Dowd History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Dowd Spelling Variations
Many spelling variations of the surname O'Dowd 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 Dowd, Duddy, Doody, O'Dowd, Dowdy, Dowdie, Doudy, Doudie, Doudd, Doodie and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Dowd family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was Father John O'Duada (d. 1579) one of many Irish Franciscan martyrs when he was tortured and hanged in 1579; and Samuel Doody (1656-1706), an early English botanist...
Migration of the O'Dowd 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'Dowd name: the Dowd family who arrived in Virginia as early as 1656. Thomas Dowd began the family trek. Most of the family, however, landed following the Potato Famine and settled in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts in the late 19th century..