O'Neal History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Neal is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion."

Early Origins of the O'Neal family

The surname O'Neal was first found in County Tyrone (Irish: Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, and County Clare where O'Neill was chief of Clan Dalvy and of Tradree, a district in the barony of Inchiquinn. In the 10th century, a branch of this family went to Limerick to assist in the expulsion of the Danes. After one victorious occasion they wore green boughs in their helmets and on their horses' heads signifying their victory.

Early History of the O'Neal family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Neal research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1559, 1530, 1567, 1550, 1616, 1612, 1664, 1694, 1689 and 1689 are included under the topic Early O'Neal History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Neal Spelling Variations

A name was often recorded during the Middle Ages under several different spelling variations during the life of its bearer because literacy was rare there was no real push to clearly define any of the languages found in the British Isles at that time. Variations found of the name O'Neal include O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.

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

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Sir Niall O'Neill who distinguished himself at the Battle of the Boyne; Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone (c.1480-1559) King of Tir Eogain; Shane O'Neill (c.1530-1567), Irish king of the O'Neill dynasty of Ulster; Hugh O'Neill (c. 1550-1616), Earl of Tyrone, also known as the Great Earl...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Neal Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States O'Neal migration to the United States +

Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name O'Neal to North America:

O'Neal Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Owen O'Neal, who settled in Virginia in 1751
O'Neal Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Arthur O'Neal, aged 55, who settled in America, in 1894
  • Claude O'Neal, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States, in 1896
O'Neal Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Dudley S. O'Neal, aged 18, who landed in America from Barbados, in 1903
  • Edward O'Neal, aged 47, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Charles H. O'Neal, aged 42, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Bernard O'Neal, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Ella O'Neal, aged 1, who landed in America, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada O'Neal migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

O'Neal Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Ebenezer W. O'Neal, aged 36, who settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1924

Australia O'Neal migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

O'Neal Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John O'neal, (O'Neil), English tailor who was convicted in Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [1]
  • Mr. George O'Neal, (O'Neale), (b. 1811), aged 23, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • John O'Neal, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Success" in 1848 [3]
  • Mr. Henry O'Neal, Scottish convict who was convicted in Inverary, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 28th March 1848, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) from Bermuda [4]
  • Miss. Catherine Oneal, (b. 1825), aged 24, Irish country servant who was convicted in Fermanagh, Ireland for 7 years for felony, transported aboard the "Australasia" on 26th June 1849, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1873 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand O'Neal migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

O'Neal Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Charlotte O'Neal, (b. 1839), aged 17, British general servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Isabella Hercus" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th January 1856 [6]
  • John O'Neal, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Catherine O'Neal, aged 27, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Stephen O'Neal, aged 4, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Mary O'Neal, aged 6, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864

Contemporary Notables of the name O'Neal (post 1700) +

  • Shaquille O'Neal (b. 1972), Former Professional Basketball player for the NBA
  • Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal, American Republican politician, Member of Virgin Islands legislature from St. Croix, 1981-86, 1989-96; Defeated, 2000; Candidate for Delegate to U.S. Congress from the Virgin Islands, 2002 [7]
  • Edward Asbury O'Neal (1818-1890), Confederate officer during the American Civil War, 26th Governor of Alabama
  • Emmet O'Neal (1853-1922), American Democratic politician and lawyer, 34th Governor of Alabama
  • Deltha Lee O'Neal III (b. 1977), former American college and professional football player
  • John William "Bill" O'Neal (b. 1942), American author
  • Griffin Patrick O'Neal (b. 1964), American actor
  • Alexander O'Neal (b. 1953), American R&B singer
  • Patrice Malcolm O'Neal (1969-2011), American stand-up comedian, radio personality, and actor
  • Jermaine Lee O'Neal (b. 1978), American professional basketball player
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


Suggested Readings for the name O'Neal +

  • 639 O'Neal by Thelma O'Neal Beasley.

  1. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SUCCESS 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Success.htm
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bangalore
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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