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O'Neill-McConnell Convergence
John McConnell 1827-1917
James McConnell 1852-1904
Jennie McConnell O'Neill 1876-1942

McConnell Family Name & Origins  

125: Conn of the Hundred Battles - progenitor. Conn Cétchathach ("of the Hundred Battles"), son of Fedlimid Rechtmar, was, according to medieval Irish legend and historical tradition, a High King of Ireland, and the ancestor of the Connachta, and, through his descendant Niall Noígiallach, the Uí Néill dynasties. []

500-600: Fergus Mor mac Eric founded Dal Riata / Scotland. []

795-1100: Viking raiders began to infiltrate and intermarry with the Celtic descendants of Conn. []

1100-1164: Somerled invaded Scotland. In 2005 a study by Professor of Human Genetics Bryan Sykes of Oxford led to the conclusion that Somerled has possibly 500,000 living descendants - making him the second most common currently-known ancestor after Genghis Khan []

1427: John (Iain) Mor MacDonald married Margery Bisset and gained lands in Antrim where he established MacDonnel Clan seated at Dunluce Castle. []

1827: John McConnell was born in County Down, Ireland then part of the British Grand Union.

1850-56: John McConnell migrated to America and then Ohio.

The McDonnells of Antrim are descended from John Mor MacDonald, chief of the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg. John Mor MacDonald was the second son of Good John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, 6th chief of Clan Donald. Through John of Islays second marriage to Princess Margaret Stewart, daughter of King Robert II of Scotland.

John Mor MacDonald himself married Margery Bisset of the Glens of Antrim. This acquired him vast lands in Ireland added to those he already possessed including Dunnyvaig Castle on the Isle of Islay and lands in Kintyre, Scotland. John Mor thus became the chief of the Clan Mcdonnell of Antrim where he was seated at Dunluce Castle.

The MacDonald clans of Antrim and Dunnyveg under the same chief have similar histories however one being in Ireland and the other in Scotland, respectively, they are often treated as two separate clans, but they are two branches of Clan Donald.

John Mor was assassinated by James Campbell in 1427. His son Donald Balloch MacDonald, the second chief, led the clan when they fought and won at the first Battle of Inverlochy (1431). This was in support of their cousin Alexander of Islay, Earl of Ross, 3rd Lord of the Isles and 8th chief of Clan Donald. The MacDonalds were supported by the Clan Cameron. They fought against the Royal forces of the Earl of Mar who was supported by the Clan MacKintosh.

The third Chief, Sir John Mor, with his heir John Cathanach and three grandsons, were apprehended through the treachery of the Macdonald of Ardnamurchan and were executed in Edinburgh for treason. However MacIian of Ardnamurchan who had also betrayed Alexander MacDonald of Lochalsh and was himself killed in 1518 by those who he had betrayed.

On the death of James MacDonald, the sixth chief of the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg and Antrim, the Antrim Glens were seized by one of his younger brothers, Sorley Boy MacDonnell (Somhairle Buidh:Somhairle of the yellow hair).

In 1565 under Sorley Boy MacDonnell the Clan MacDonald of Antrim and Dunnyveg fought the Battle of Glentasie against Shane O'Neill in Ireland. Sorley Buy swore allegiance to James IV of Scotland and his son Ranald was made Randal MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim by Queen Elizabeth. Randal, 1st Earl of Antrim was succeeded by his son Randal MacDonnell, 1st Marquess of Antrim.

Much quarreling took place between Angus MacDonald, 8th of Dunnyvaig and his eldest son, Sir James MacDonald this was largely due to the intrigues of the Clan Campbell. Sir James MacDonald led the clan who fought and won at the Battle of Gruinneart Strand on the Isle of Islay in 1595 against an invasion force of the Clan MacLean who were led by their notorious chief Sir Lachlan MacLean of Duart Castle who was killed.

In 2005 a study by Professor of Human Genetics Bryan Sykes of Oxford led to the conclusion that Somerled has possibly 500,000 living descendants - making him the second most common currently-known ancestor after Genghis Khan.

Conn of the Hundred Battles

Conn Cétchathach ("of the Hundred Battles"), son of Fedlimid Rechtmar, was, according to medieval Irish legend and historical tradition, a High King of Ireland, and the ancestor of the Connachta, and, through his descendant Niall Noígiallach, the Uí Néill dynasties.

The Connachta were a group of dynasties who claimed descent from Conn Cétchathach. Their most famous members were the five sons of Eochaid Mugmedon: Brion, Ailill Fiachrae, Niall and Fergus Caech. They took their collective name from their descent from Conn Cetchathach (Conn of the Hundred Battles). All five were ancestors of new Irish dynasties; those of Brion and Niall in particular dominated Irish political, religious and cultural life for the next twelve hundred years and beyond. [ ]
McConnell Name Meaning and History
Scottish and Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Dhomhnuill ‘son of Domhnall’ (see McDonald). Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Conaill ‘son of Conall’, a personal name probably composed of the elements con, an inflected form of cú ‘hound’ or ‘wolf’, + gal ‘valor’. This was borne by many early chieftains and warriors of Ireland, including the Ulster hero Conall Cearnach, and one of the two sons of Niall of the Nine Hostages, who gave his name to Tir Conaill ‘Conall’s land’, otherwise known as County Donegal. It was further popularized by the fame of a 7th-century Irish saint, abbot of Inis Caoil. [ Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 at ]
MacConnell MacNeil Mac Niall McNeil McNeill McNiall McNiel
The name McConnell in Ireland is often of Scottish origin and can be derived from the native Gaelic MacDomhnaill, which translates as "son of Donnell." The old Irish version of the name is Domhnaill; its personal-name form is Donald. The name is mostly found in the Province of Ulster and especially in counties Antrim, Down and Tyrone. [ ]

Modern satellite view of western Scotland and northern part of Ireland with overlay showing approximate extent of Kingdom of Dal Riata circa 600 AD. The lands east of Dal Riata were in the Pictish Lingdom. The gold marker in Scotland shows the location of Dunyveg Castle on island of Islay. The red marker on the Irish island shows the location of Dunluce Castle in Antrim, Irish seat of Clan Donald from which sprang the McConnells and numerous other families.

Ruins of Dunluce Castle in Antrim from BBC web site.
Surname: Mcconnell
This ancient Scottish and sometimes Irish surname is recorded in the spellings of MacConnal, MacConnel, MacConnell, the short forms commencing 'Mc', the specifically Irish O'Connell and McGonnell, and sometimes without any prefix at all! However spelt the surname is claimed by the Scots to be a derived form of "MacDhomhnuill", the modern MacDonnell, through dialectal assimilation of the letter 'd'. The name literally means "the seed or race of Donald", and it is claimed that all descend from Donald, the eldest son of Reginald, the first MacDonald, and Lord of the Isles, in the 10th century. The Scottish MacConnel clan is largely to be found in the counties of Ayr, Argyll and Wigtownshire, and the first known recording of the name in any acceptable modern spelling is that of William McConnil, from the parish of Urray in 1649. It seems that he was a soldier on the kings side, and therefore in the parlance of the day a rebel! This was during the various civil wars of the 1640 - 1660 period. The Irish beg to differ claiming that the descent is from Cathasach O'Connail, bishop of Connacht, in 1180, and that the origin is from the first name Daniel. This suggests that even when the surnames have the same spelling, the origins are quite different. The first recording as a hereditary spelling is believed to be that of Therthelmac Makdonenalde, a witness to a land charter in Lesmore, Scotland, in the year 1251. This was during the reign of King Alexander 11nd of Scotland, who reigned from 1249 to 1286. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. [ ]
Clan Donald - The Gaelic clan Cineal Ua Dhomhnuil Nan Eilean (The Children of The Noble World Mighty Of The Isles), variously known as Clan Donald, lords of The Isles, MacDonald, MacDonnell, Clanranald, MacDonell, MacAlister, MacDaniel and MacConnell, among other interpretations, spellings and translations, all descend from Somhairle MacGillebruide (Summer Sailor, Son of Brutal Boy), 1st Gaelic King Of The South Isles, k. 1164, through Domhnuil (World Mighty), his grandson by Somhairle's [Somerled] second wife, Ragnhildis, daughter of The King Of Man.

This ancient royal family of The Isles prospered and eventually came to include numerous branches, including MacDonnell Of Knocknacloy, MacDonnell Of Leinster, Clanranald Of Garmoran, MacAlister Of Loup, MacDonald Of Glencoe, MacDonald Of Islay And Kintyre, MacDonald Of Sleate, MacDonell Of Glengarry, MacDonell Of Keppoch, MacDonnell Of Antrim, MacDonnell Of Dun Naibhig And The Glens, MacDonnell Of Ulster, MacIain Of Ardnamurchan and Siol Ghoraidh, among others. No other Gaelic clan since their predecessors of Cineal Cholla and the royal families of The Kingdom Of Dalriada had their feet so firmly planted on both sides of the North Channel. iainguth (at sign) [ ]

McConnel Heraldic Arms & Variations  

MacDonnel of Antrim from the blazon Donald of Antrim at MacDonald of Argyl at McConnel at McConnell at McConnell of Dublin at McDonald at McConnell of Scotland at

The arms of McConnel of Antrim were drawn from a blazon found in researching McConnell / McDonnel of Antrim. It is very similar to several other arms of Clan Donald descendant groups but varies in a few specifics. It iddfers from Donald of Antrim only in colors of the third and fourth quarters.

McConnell Tartans:

Left - MacConnell Clan at

Center - MacDonnell of Glengary at

Right - MacDonnell of Keppoch at

McConnel Factoids  

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