Many of the Irish surnames that are now common throughout the Western world have Gaelic origins. The Irish Gaelic form of the name O'Friel is O Firgil, which later became O Frigil; the name means "man of valor."
Early Origins of the O'Friel family
The surname O'Friel was first found in County Donegal
(Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland
in the province of Ulster
, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel, where they held a family seat
from very ancient times. The O'Firghil were descended from Eoghan, brother of St. Columcille. They were hereditary co-arbs of Kilmacrenan in County Donegal.
Early History of the O'Friel family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Friel research.Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1203, 1299, 1573 and 1538 are included under the topic Early O'Friel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Friel Spelling Variations
Many different spelling variations
of the surname O'Friel exist in the archives researched. Ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include Friel, Freel, O'Friel, O'Freel, Freiel, O'Freiel, Frehill and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Friel family (pre 1700)
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Friel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Friel family to the New World and Oceana
During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families
often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation, and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name O'Friel:
O'Friel Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Chester O'Friel, aged 33, who emigrated to Altoon, Pa, in 1917
- Ruth O'Friel, aged 24, who emigrated to Altoon, Pa, in 1917
- James O'Friel, aged 46, who settled in America, in 1920
- Annie O'Friel, aged 16, who emigrated to the United States from Donegal, Ireland, in 1922
- Thomas O'Friel, aged 37, who emigrated to the United States from Kerrykeel, Ireland, in 1923
Contemporary Notables of the name O'Friel (post 1700)
- Katelyn O'Friel, actress, known for her roles in Blood Ties(2013), and Royal Pains (2012)