The Clan/Sept History
Many variations of the name Donnellan have evolved since the time of its initial
creation. In Gaelic it appeared as O Domhnallain, derived from the personal name
of Domhallan, Lord of Clan Breasail, from whom the sept claims descent.
Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not
standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under
several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations
revealed in the search for the Origins of the Donnellan family name include
Donellan, Donnellan, Donnelan, Donelan, Donnellin, Donellin and many more.
First found in Galway, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
Irish Families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th
century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of
these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities,
and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or
North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish
immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often
in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to
settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held
greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out
to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St.
Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire
Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the
American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however,
occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early
immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Donnellan
name: Patrick Donellen arrived in Philadelphia in 1860; Mary Donellin settled in
Virginia in 1655; Catherine Donnellan settled in Quebec in 1848.
Motto Translated: Too strong for any violence.
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