Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Onneill is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name
of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion."
Early Origins of the Onneill family
The surname Onneill 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 Onneill family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Onneill 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 Onneill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Onneill Spelling Variations
The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations
for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name Onneill were encountered in the archives: O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.
Early Notables of the Onneill 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 Onneill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Onneill family to the New World and Oceana
Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine
during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Onneill: 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.