O'Neill

Lineage Chart for O'NEILL
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O'Neill-McConnell Convergence
Bernard O'Neill 1906 - 1972
Albert O'Neill 1877 - 1938
Thomas O'Neill 1832 - 1905


O'Neill Heraldic Arms  


Ancient arms of Ua Neill at wikipedia.org

Arms of Count Clanaboy at wikipedia.org


Arms shown at HouseOfNames.com


Arms of Neill Clare at araltas.com

Arms of O'Neil of Tyrone at araltas.com

Arms of O'Neill by author from blazon

O'Neill Tartans

Blazon of Arms:

at http://www.araltas.com/features/oneill/
Various O Neill coats of arms have been recorded over the centuries. The following is recognised by the Chief Herald of Ireland as a sept or clan coat of arms for the family
Arms: Argent two lions rampant combatant Gules supporting a dexter hand couped at the wrist of the last, in chief three estoiles of the second, in base waves of the sea therein naiant a salmon all proper.
Crest: An arm in armour embowed holding a sword all proper.
Motto: Lamh dearg Eirinn [The red hand of Ireland].

at wikipedia - a simplified translation from heraldic terms:
A shield silver, two battling lions red, rampant and supporting or holding a right hand palmed in pale red, the two lions accompanied in chief with three stars of five points red, and in point a river of its color or blue waved silver and in the middle of it a salmon swimming of its color, put in face. Crest: an armed arm, handling a sword, all in its color. Motto: Caelo, Solo, Salo, Potentes. War Cry: Lamh dearg Eirin abu. (This is the shield every Catholic branch of this family uses in Ireland, Portugal, Martinique), Spain and France. The Portuguese family represents the elder branch and uses the same Arms.

O'Neill Name Origin  

The free encyclopedia at wikipedia.org

Its original Irish form is Ó Néill or Ua Néill, meaning 'descendant son of Niall'.

In past usage, it refers to an Irish kinship group based in Ulster descended from a family, the Uí Néill from which a number of High Kings of Ireland sprang in medieval times. The progenitor of the dynasty was Niall of the Nine Hostages (Niall Noigiallach), said to be High King and died c.450.

The surname Ó Néill was taken from a descendant of his, Niall Glundubh (Niall Glúndub) of the Uí Néill, who was killed fighting the Danes in 919. Glundubh's grandchild and great-grandchildren would have been the first to use the surname.

The O'Neill was the traditional title of the head of this family, and during early English rule the holder of this title was considered by many to be the rightful High King of Ireland. Today there are three ancient O'Neill dynasties or principalities.

The name of the 10th century Icelandic chieftain Njáll Þorgeirsson is considered to be a variant of the Irish "Niall". The Icelander - eponymous protagonist of Njáls saga, one of the most well-known works of medieval Icelandic Epic poetry - might thus have been of partial Irish ancestry, possibly related to the Irish family.

Irish genealogies have Niall Glúndub mac Áedo d. 919, Son of Aed Finliath d. 879 king of Ailech 855-879 A.D. and High King of Ireland 862-879 A.D. He was a member of the House of Cenél nEógain of the Northern Uí Néill, and his father was Niall Caille, High King of Ireland 823-845 A.D.

Genealogical records show a Njall Glundubh b. circa 850 A.D. in Norway and married to Lund Verch Echach, Parents of Njalsdatter & Muirchertach na G-Cochaill Criceann MacNEILL.

From this man Niall Glundubh the Ulster O'Neills take their surname not from Niall of the Nine Hostages. The first to take O'Neill as his surname was one Domhnall, born circa. 943 A.D. "Descendant of Niall" refering to his grandfather Niall Glundubh.

Neill: The Norman French form of Scandinavian Njal, meaning 'Champion'. Domhnal' dark or brown', Donnchadh 'darkskinned warrior', Murchadh 'sea fighter', Lochlainn'land of the vikings', Muireadhach 'master of the sea', Dubh 'dark or black'.

From external site http://www.araltas.com/features/oneill/ extensive page


Neill is arguably the most illustrious among the surnames of Ireland, though only tenth in the list of most commonly found names. The story of the sept originates in the myths of prehistory. The ancient clan historians trace the family back to Heremon, son of Milesius and Celtic conqueror of Ireland. Thence the line continues through many generations to Conn Ceadcathach (Conn of the Hundred Battles), second century High King and on to Niall Naoi Ghiallach or Niall of the Nine Hostages, High King of Ireland from 377 to 404 AD. As High King of Ireland, Niall reigned from the ancient Irish royal seat at Tara, in modern Co. Meath. During his reign he conquered all of Ireland and Scotland and much of Britain and Wales. He took a royal hostage from each of the nine kingdoms he subjugated, hence his famous nickname. The families that descend from Niall are collectively known as the Uí Neill, meaning descendants of Niall, and not to be confused with the sept of O Neill. He had twelve sons, of whom four moved into Ulster to establish the dynasty there.





The O’Neill family was quite prevalent in Irish history for almost 700 years, until the end of the 17th century. By the 14th century, it is thought that Ulster O’Neills numbered 29,000.

They are descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages. After the death of King Niall Glúin Dubh (BlackKnee) in 919 AD, his grandson Domnall became the first to use and adopt the surname O'Neill.

The surname Niáll means champion. The surname O'Neill is derived from two Gaelic words, Uá Niáll, which means grandson of Niáll. It is also the surname of one of the three most important Gaelic families, the other two being, O’Brien and O’Conor.

The nickname creagh, derived from the Gaelic word craobh, meaning branch, was one by which earlier O’Neills were known. This nickname was given to them because they camouflaged themselves with greenery when battling against the Norsemen near Limerick.

Ulster O’Neills divided into two main branches. The senior branch was known as the Tyrone O’Neills and the newly formed branch was known as Clan Aedh Buidhe (Clan of the Yellow haired Hugh) or Clanaboy. Each branch had it’s own chieftain. "The O’Neill Mor" was head of the Tyrone Clan and the Clanaboy Clan chieftain was known as "The O’Neill Buidhe".

Other lesser clans of O’Neills were also formed. They were the O’Neills of the Fews, the O’Neills of Feevah, the O’Neills of Mayo (who were actually descended from the Fews), the O’Neills of Leinster, the Cor O’Neills, the Leitrum O’Neills, the Meath O’Neills and the Ivowen O’Neills.

O'Neill Timeline  

-1200: Heremon / Erimon conquered Ireland and established Celtic kingdom. Article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heremon

919: King Niall Glundubh (Niall Glúndub) of the Uí Néill, was killed fighting the Danes in 919. Glundubh's grandchild and great-grandchildren would have been the first to use the surname O'Neill.

120: Conn Cétchathach seconf century high king of Ireland. Article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conn_of_the_Hundred_Battles

1840s: Famous potato famine in Ireland drove many to emigrate to North America. Thomas O'Neill migrated to Canada about 1850.

377-400: Niall Noígíallach ancestor of the Uí Néill kindred who dominated Ireland from the 6th century to the 10th century. Article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niall_of_the_Nine_Hostages

1861: Thomas wife wife Anna and daughter Mary immigrated to Ohio in the United States. He was followed by his brothers John, Edward and Patrick.


O'Neill Migration  

This map approximates the counties in Ireland. The orange area is part of the United Kingdom. The green is the Irish Republic, formerly the Irish Free State, and other names during the centuries preceding the modern republic.

The orange counties make up what is called Northern Ireland and also called Ulster. It has been known as Ulster for a long time. The darkest orange county is Antrim ... probable origin of the first O'Neills who gradually spread over the entire land.

The yellow area is County Kilkenny and the red dot is Rosbercon from whence came Thomas O'Neill to Canada, during the potato famine which struck Ireland in the mid nineteenth century.

Thomas O'Neill was born in Rosbercon in 1832, the eldest of eight children of Morgan Neil and Mary Carroll. In the 1851 census of Eastern Provinces of Canada there is a nineteen year old Irishman named Thomas O'Neil, a Catholic, living with a group of other young Irish men. Yet today, there is a contingent of Irish descendants in Quebec. While in Canada he married Anna and they produced a daughter named Mary in 1858.



In 1861 they migrated to the United States and settled in Huron County, Ohio, near Lake Erie. Mary gave birth to nine more children in Huron County. Between 1880 and 19000 they moved from Huron to Licking County near the center of the state. Thomas may have retired from the B&O RR and moved to Newark, Ohio for reasons we don't know, or the railroad may have moved him there and he retired later. Thomas lived in Newark until 1905. Son Albert went on to produce the descendants who are the subject of this web site.



During his lifetime Thomas lived under many flags ... perhaps more than are represented here. The record of his arrival in Canada has not been located. He may have sailed to New York, or New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia, or directly to Montreal. The 1851 census does not reveal the exact location where he was enumerated.

The St Patrick's Cross flag has flown in Ireland for centruies When Thomas reached Canada the 1801 British Union Jack prevailed Province Quebec, though French, was under Canada's Union Jack until the Maple Leaf was adopted in 1965 In 1861 when Thomas, Anna & Mary arrived in Ohio, the US flag had 34 stars He lived his life out in Newark, Ohio

O'Neill Factoids  

Author notes: these factoids are specific to the O'Neill spelling. Each of the variant spellings yields a different set of graphics.


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