Show ContentsO'Durnan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The original Gaelic form of the Irish name O'Durnan was O Duirnin or O Dornian, possibly derived from the word "dorn," which means "fist." [1]

Early Origins of the O'Durnan family

The surname O'Durnan was first found in County Antrim (Irish: Aontroim) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland. The name is also specific to "Ballydurnian in County Antrim, but Durnian is the more usual form in west Ulster." [2]

Early History of the O'Durnan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Durnan research. Another 164 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1596 and 1700 are included under the topic Early O'Durnan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Durnan Spelling Variations

Scribes and church officials, lacking today's standardized spelling rules, recorded names by how they were pronounced. This imprecise guide often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname O'Durnan are preserved in documents of the family history. The various spellings of the name that were found include Durnan, Durnane, Durneen, Durnin, Durnain, Dornan, Dornain and many more.

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

More information is included under the topic Early O'Durnan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the O'Durnan family

Ireland saw an enormous decrease in its population in the 19th century due to immigration and death. This pattern of immigration began slowly in the late 18th century and gradually grew throughout the early portion of the 19th century. However, a dramatic increase in the country's immigration numbers occurred when the Great Potato Famine struck in the 1840s. The early immigrants to North America were primarily destined to be farmers tending to their own plot of land, those that came later initially settled within pre-established urban centers. These urban immigrants provided the cheap labor that the fast developing United States and soon to be Canada required. Regardless of their new lifestyle in North America, the Irish immigrants to the United States and Canada made invaluable contributions to their newly adopted societies. An investigation of immigrant and passenger lists revealed many O'Durnans: Nicholas Durnan who settled in Virginia in 1734; Charles Durnin settled in Newcastle in Co. Delaware in 1827; John Durnin arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1868.



  1. MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, Supplement to Irish Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Book Company, 1964. Print.


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