Families of County Donegal
Official County Book of The Irish Families Project
The Families of
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Finding Your Family History in Co. Donegal
This hardbound, illustrated, book focuses exclusively on families of County
Donegal. Part of the Irish Families Project, it includes: Catholic and
Protestant; native Irish; settler families from England, Scotland, and Wales;
County Map; Coats of Arms; and more.. Information contained here-in dates from the earliest times to the modern era.
Expands Upon Earlier Information
The Master Volume in the Irish Families series is 'The Book of Irish Families, great & small'. It covers thousands of families from all of Ireland.
'Families of Co. Donegal' greatly expands upon the coverage given in that book and adds several hundred new families. In this way both books compliment each other. 'Families of Co. Donegal' is the 8th volume in the series, which covers every county in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Only 7 of the 29 county books were hardbound and gold stamped. This is one of them. It was published by the Irish Genealogical Foundation and edited by Michael C. O'Laughlin.
Hardbound library binding for long life, in dust jacket, 170 pages, 6 x 9 size, illustrated with maps, arms, index to wills, census extracts and notes on over 1,000 families of Donegal. Includes a complete section on how to trace ancestors from Donegal, reference books, address list of repositories, well indexed.....Included are the Gallagher, Boyle, Doherty, O'Donnell, McLaughlin, Sweeney, Ward, Kelly, McGinley, McFadden, McGowan, Duffy and Campbell families, and there are hundreds more. Numerous Families
Some of the families noted here as most numerous in the 17th century were the: McGlaghlin; McSwyne; O'Cuningham; O'Dermond; Mc Devet; McKee; Brillaghan; McCollgan; O'Murray; O Harkan; O Quigley; O Hegarty; O Cullan; O' Cally; McGinnelly; O'Toolan; and O' Carney families.
The following is taken from the introduction to this book, setting the stage for all the family history that follows: "County Donegal is unique. It is the northernmost county in Ireland and has ties to Scotland and neighboring counties in Northern Ireland, while remaining a part of 'southern' Ireland (The Republic of Ireland). The climate here is said to resemble that of Scotland.
A maritime county, it is a part of the old province of Ulster, bordered on the east and southeast by the counties of Londonderry, Tyrone and Fermanagh. To the west and north is the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south is the tip of county Leitrim and Donegal bay.
Anciently the land was part of the kingdom of Aileach, having been founded by two sons of 'Niall of the Nine Hostages'. One son, Eoghan, ruled over what what is now county Tyrone plus the Inishowen peninsula which is now in Donegal. (The O'Dohertys are well known as the lords of Inishowen.). This area is referred to as Tir Eoghain or 'Eoghan's land".
The other son, Conall, ruled the remainder Donegal, which is referred to as 'Tir Chonaill' (Conall's land.). The O'Donnells would emerge as the leading Irish family of this area early on. O'Doherty, MacSweeney and O'Boyle are given as subordinate to the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell. (Note that the old spellings of these territories varies greatly, with Tyrconnell and Tir Chonaill, etc...being one in the same.) The modern county of 'Donegal' was formed in 1585, under the British regime. The county took its name from the town of Donegal, which was the only refuge for 'her majesty's' settlers at one point. Donegal is aptly named, coming from 'Dun na nGall', meaning 'Fort of the Foreigners'. O'Hart notes that Donegal took the name as it was a fort for the Vikings or Danes, even before the coming of the Normans." Geographical Divisions
The county is mostly in the diocese of Raphoe, but also in Derry and Clogher. It is divided into the civil baronies of Raphoe, Kilmacrenan, Ennishowen, Tyrhugh, Bannagh and Boylagh. (see the list of place names in the appendix and maps in this volume.)
The sea port and market towns of Donegal listed by Lewis in 1837 include: Ballyshannon; Donegal; and Killybegs. Also noted is St. Johnstown; the market and post towns of Letterkenny; Remelton; Raphoe; Carn; Stranolar; Buncrana; and Moville Upper, along with the post-towns of Castlefin, Dunfanaghy, Ardara, Dungloe, and Narin, and the towns of Bundoran; Mount Charles; and Rathmullen, each with a penny post.
The Specific Parishes of Donegal
Although parish names have changed over time, here are the specific parishes linked to County Donegal. If your family came from one of these parishes, you will most definitely want this book ! These Donegal parishes are: Aghanunshin,
Barr of Inch,
Urney. These are modern spellings. Be sure to keep an eye out for similar spellings in your research.
Major Family Entries
Several thousand families are covered, and below are
some of those with major entries, (several paragraphs to a full column) in this book:
Mac Allen; MacAuley; Bonner; O Boyle; Bradley: O Breslin; Brook; Campbell; O Cannon; Carr; O Cassidy; Clarke; Conyngham; O Crean; Cunningham; O Dohery; O Donnell; O Friel; O Gallagher; Hamilton; Knox; MacLaughlin; Nicholson; Smith; Stewart; Mac Sweeney or Sweaney; Mac Ward; White; Young, and hundreds more....
The Table of Contents :
List of Books, ISBN data.
A Donegal Home (illustration).
Ortelius Map of Donegal 1576.
Ancient Tribal Names Chart.
Keatings History (illus).
Donegal Baronies Map.
Coats of Arms (illus.).
Among the families with rough sketches
of coats of arms from centuries past are: Batt; Boyd;
Burton-Conyngham; Butler; Chichester; Cockayne; Colhoun;
Crawford; Gore; Grove; Harvey; Humfrey; Knox; Nicholson;
Savile; Stubbs;l Todd-Thornton; Vershoyle; O'Friel;
Boyle; O'Dougherty; O'Donnell; McLoughlin; Hewitt; and Stewart.
Hearth Money Rolls, Inishowen.
1890 Birth Index.
Guide to Tracing Donegal Ancestors
Families of County Donegal, Ireland
History and Locations Found.
(Listed in Alphabetical order, disregarding the
O', Mc, or Mac prefix before the name.)
Donegal Surname List
Donegal Placename List
County of Donegal (census)
Donegal Will Index
Index of Family Names Found in Text.
Castle of Magrath
Grianan Birdseye .
Will Index .
Peasants, Carrigan Head
The famous O'Donnell Battler
A Donegal Curragh
Families on the 4 Masters Map
What families were in the county in earlier days ? This might provide a clue to the locations of your family today. Here are some of the families given on the Map in the History of Ireland by the 4 Masters (Connellan translation. 2003, I.G.F.) E. = Earl, L.=Lord, C. = chieftain, V = Viscount, B.= Baron:
Mac Duvan, C.
Mac Sweeny, L.
O' Boyle, L.
O' Breslin, C.
O' Brodar, C.
O' Cannanan, P.
O' Clery, C.
O' Coigley (Quigley)
Mac Loghlin, P.
O' Dogherty, L.
O' Donnelly, C.
O' Donnell, P.
O' Dooyarma, L.
O' Forranan, C.
O' Gallaher, C.
O' Gormley, C.
O' Kenny, C.
O' Leaney, C.
O' Muldorry, P.
O' Neill, P.
O' Quinn, C.
O' Sheeran, and
O' Tarcert, C..
The Final Word
This is a one of a kind book. "Families of County Donegal, Ireland" is hardbound and gold stamped, with a smyth sewn binding for a lifetime of use. Includes over 2,000 families and is a must have for anyone with family in Donegal.
Specifications: 6" x 9" size; 170 pages; 38 illustrations; well indexed by surname. Includes Castles in County Donegal; family seats of power; locations; variant spellings of family names; full map of County Donegal, coats of arms, and sources for research. From ancient times to the modern day. First Edition in dust jacket. Author/Editor: Michael C. O'Laughlin. It should be noted that the first volume in the Irish Families Project, "The Book of Irish Families, great & small", also contains information on Donegal families not found in this volume.
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