Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Neile is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name
of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion."
Early Origins of the O'Neile family
The surname O'Neile 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'Neile family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Neile research.Another 215 words (15 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'Neile History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Neile 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'Neile are preserved in these old documents. The various spellings of the name that were found include O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Neile 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... Another 61 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Neile Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Neile family to the New World and Oceana
The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families
for the distant shores of North America and Australia
. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England
. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence
. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland
at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the O'Neile family relocated to North American shores quite early:
O'Neile Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- James T. O'Neile, who arrived in America, in 1904
- Patrick O'Neile, aged 21, who arrived in America from Liverpool, England, in 1904
- Brendan O'Neile, aged 24, who arrived in America from Drumcondra, Ireland, in 1907
- Denis J. O'Neile, aged 24, who arrived in America from Sallins, Ireland, in 1909
- Peter O'Neile, who arrived in America from Liverpool, England, in 1919
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Contemporary Notables of the name O'Neile (post 1700)
- R.J. O'Neile, Australian General Secretary of the Public Service Association of NSW (1945-1959)