Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Niel is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name
of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion."
Early Origins of the O'Niel family
The surname O'Niel 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'Niel family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Niel 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'Niel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Niel Spelling Variations
Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations
were revealed in the search for the origin of the name O'Niel family name. Variations found include O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Niel 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'Niel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Niel family to the New World and Oceana
Thousands of Irish families
left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name O'Niel: Captain James Neale (1615-1684) who arrived about 1635 in Maryland and received 1,000 acres of land, many of his descendants became Jesuit priests; Edward Neal settled in Boston in 1849.