The Clan/Sept History
The family name O Lalor has an intrinsic connection to the Gaelic culture of
Ireland. The original Gaelic form of the name O Lalor is O Leathlobhair, which
is derived from the words leath, which means half, and lobhar, which means sick
person or leper.
Irish names were rarely spelled with much consistency during the Middle Ages. As
the many spelling variations of the name O Lalor dating from that time attests:
Lawlor, Lalor, O'Lalor, O'Lawlor and others.
First found in county Leix, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
The 19th century brought a massive reduction in Ireland's population. It seemed
that during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s the Irish people had two
options: starve or immigrate. Those that chose the later frequently headed for
the United States, hopeful for land, work, and equality. Those determined for
free land joined the migration west; while others stayed behind to live in urban
centres and often work in factories. Still others began a transitory life in
work camps, building the bridges, canals, railways, and highways so critical to
the rapidly development of the growing industrial nation. Early pasenger and
immigration lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name O Lalor:
Margaret Lawler settled in Maryland in 1741; Darby Lawler settled in Boston in
1766 along with Betsy; Luke, David, Hugh, James, John, Michael, Patrick and
William Lawler, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
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