The Irish surname O'Leavy originally appeared in Gaelic as Mac Duinnshleibh, derived from the words "dun," meaning "fortress," or perhaps "donn," which means "brown," and "sliabh," which means "mountain."
Early Origins of the O'Leavy family
The surname O'Leavy was first found in Ulidia
, in northern Ireland
, where they were said to have descended from the Princes of Ulidia, who were in turn descended from the Heremon
line of Irish Kings; the modern name for Ulidia, is Ulster
. The "Four Masters" list that in 1199, a Rory O'Dunsleve joined the English (Norman soldiers) at Meath and plundered the monastery of Saint Peter and Paul in Armagh. In the 12th century during the Anglo/ Norman invasion
of Ireland, the Dunleavys migrated to Tir Connell now known as Donegal
and became hereditary physicians to the distinguished O'Donnells.
Early History of the O'Leavy family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Leavy research.Another 147 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1644, 1694, 1761, 1728 and 1746 are included under the topic Early O'Leavy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Leavy Spelling Variations
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'Leavy are preserved in these old documents. The various spellings of the name that were found include Dunleavy, Dunlevie, Dunlevy, Dunlivie, McDunleavy, Donleavy and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Leavy family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was Father Christopher Dunlevy, a Franciscan monk, who was martyred in 1644; and Reverend Andrew Donlevy (1694- c.1761), the Superior... Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Leavy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Leavy family to the New World and Oceana
A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia
in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine
during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name O'Leavy or a variant listed above: Gregory Donlevy, who was naturalized in New York, NY in 1798; Walter Donlevy, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1813; Francis William Donlevy, who was naturalized in South Carolina in 1816.