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O'CONNELL Family History

Ó Conaill- anglicised O Connell, Connell, the root is personal name Conall, which means 'strong as a wolf'. This is an ancient Celtic name; it exists also in Welsh as Cynvall, from ancient British 'Cunoval(os). Many of Ireland's legendary heroes were named Conall, for example Conall Cernach of Ulster and Conall Corc of Munster. Conall Gulban, the founder of the Cineál Chonaill, gave his name to Tír Chonaill (Tirconnel).

To be distinguished from Mac Dhomhnaill, anglicised as MacDonnell and MacConnell in cos Antrim, Down and Tyrone, which refers to the Scottish Gaelic clan. Inevitably there must be cases where the 'Mac' was elided, and some confusion as a result.

The great families of the name were located in Co Derry, a branch of the Orghiallagh (Oriel) in Tír Chiaráin (Tirkeeran), in Co Galway of the Uí Mhaine, in Co Kerry, where they were anciently chiefs of the Magh Ó gCoinchin. This latter family were dispossessed by the Ó Donnchadha clan in the 11th century, and reappear as hereditary castellans of the Mac Cárthaigh dynasty of Baile Uí Cairbre (Ballycarbery) near Cahirciveen in West Kerry.

In the great Cromwellian 'Expugntio' the O Connells of Ballycarbery were uprooted and 'transpalnted to west Clare: 'to Hell or Connacht' was the watchword of the zealous British Calvinists vis-a-vis the great Catholic families of Ireland. Their chief at the time was Muirgheas Ó Conaill. Many scions of this line served as officers in La Brigade Irlandaise of France, among whom was Count Daniel O' Connell, uncle of the great Daniel O'Connell, 'the Liberator' (1775-1847).

Looking at the 1659 'Census', undertaken by William Petty, the English surveyor of Ireland for the Commonwealth, the name appears as a 'Principal Irish Name' in the original counties, as specified above, as well as others, e.g.:

Co Derry
Terkeran (Tirkeeran) Barony, where the name appears as McConnell (v. supra), numbering 6 families; likewise in Kenaght Barony, McConnell, 6 families; Coleraine Bar., McConnell, 9 families.

Co Galway is, unfortunately, missing from the 'Census'.

Co Kerry
Barony of Trughanacht, O Connell, 15 families; Maquinihy, O Connell, 9 families; Iveragh Barony, three Connells are named as landowners: Daniell Connell of Dromod parish, Dermod Connell of Ballenskealigg and Charles Connell of Killimleegh. From these entries it would appear that not all O Connell landowners were transplanted from Kerry.

Co Cork
City & Liberties, O Connell, 9 families.

Co Limerick
Small Co. Barony, McConnell & O Connell, 8 families; Connologh Barony, O Connell, 41 families.

Co Tipperary
Iffa & Offa Barony, Connell & McConnell, 9 families; Eliogurty & Ikerrin, Connell, 12 families.

Co Clare
Barony of Bunratty, Connell, 12 families; Tulla Barony, Connell & O Connell, 7 families.

By the mid 19th century the picture looks like this (using Griffith's 'Primary Valuation' of Irish households, 1847-1864):
For Connell, total number 3248, highest in counties Cork 903 + 99 city, Kerry 472, Limerick 287 + 29 city, Tipperary 209, Galway 159.
For O'Connell (same name with prefix), total 272, mostly Cork (incl.) 77 and Kerry 57.
For McConnell, total number 818, highest in counties Down 157, Tyrone 132, Antrim 97 + 85 Belfast, Armagh 91, Donegal 76. These would mostly be Mac Dhomnaill (supra).

The Registrar's 'Special Report' (1894, 1909) on births' distribution in 1890 shows most Connells were born in counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Galway. Total 236. For O'Connell, the same name with the prefix, the counties were Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Dublin. Total 130.

Two Famous O Connells (from so many!)

Daniel O'Connell, The Liberator (175-1847) born near Cahirciveen, Co Kerry. He campaigned for Catholic Emancipation through peaceful mass action. During the 19th century in 'the most civilized country in the world' catholics were not allowed to be representatives of their people and sit in the U.K. Parliament (a catholic still can't be a U.K. Head of State in 2012). He also campaigned, through mass rallies etc., for repeal of the infamous Act of Union (1800).

Dáithí Ó Conaill (1938-1991) born in Cork. His uncle, Michael O'Sullivan, was a member of the 1st Cork Brigade IRA in the 1920-21 War of Independence. O'Sullivan was bayoneted to death whilst a prisoner by British Forces in 1921. Ó Conaill joined the IRA at the age of 17. He later became disilusioned with what later became known as the Official IRA, and left with others to form the Provisional IRA in 1969/70, which was committed to a physical response to the British presence in the 6 counties of 'Northern Ireland'. He served on the Provisionals' Army Council and was Director of Publicity. He was active in political campaigns of Sinn Féin in the early 80s, but left with Ruarí Ó Brádaigh to form the more hard-line Republican Sinn Féin in 1986.

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    John O'Connell Born abt 1790 lived in Glin ,Limerick with his wife Johanna , born 1793 daughters Catherine B. abt 1817 and Ellen B abt.1816. The two girls married brothers Michael and John Cosgriff emigrated to Canada in 1850-51 later on to USA ANy Irish info would be great (ie. Johanna's family name) Thaks in advance!
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    Karen Ceder

    My name is Karen. My father was John Brendan O'Connell born is Oswestry Shropshire in 1933. His father was Maurice O'Connell born 1876 and married to Annie Josephine Deane/Dewane/ De wane. I think my GGF was Charles O'Connell born in 1850 in Cork but I can't find any details on my GF or GGF. If anyone has anything further it would be appreciated. 
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    Maurice O'Connell 1812-1868 Black smith Camphill, Collooney Co Sligo. Married Ellen Gallagher Had 4 sons John,James,Joseph and Charles. I am the grand son of Katherine Bolton Nee James O'Connell
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    C. Oconnell

    Hello. I am an O'Connell .... from a family who came to North East England possibly from Cork. My father was Leslie (born 1933)...his father was Joseph and I think his father was Dennis. I think they may first have gone to Cardiff from Ireland. Anyone with a link to my O'connells I'd love to hear from you as I've found it so hard to research this family line. Thanks ... cathy
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    Thanks for accepting me to the group. My GGGF and GGGM were born in County Tipperary in approx. 1833 and 1835 respectively. I have been able to find a Catholic Church parish registry that records what I believe is their date of marriage on the 19th November 1857 in Tipperary. My GGGF was Denis O’Connell (Connell) and my GGGM was Catherine Ryan. They had 2 children James born in 1858 and John born in 1860 in Tipperary. They emigrated to Australia sometime after Johns birth in 1860 and before their next child Patrick was born in Australia in 1866. They had further children in Australia, Daniel 1870, Timothy 1873, Ellen 1875 and Dionysius in 1878. I can find no birth records for Denis or Catherine - both state their birthplace as Tipperary, nor can I find any death details in Australia for Denis and Catherine. My father tells me that a family story passed down indicates that they may have returned to Ireland as Catherine found it hard to settle in Australia. If anyone can suggest where I might go next with my research, or if you believe that any of your O’Connell/Ryan ancestors may be related I would love to hear from you. They had
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    My name is Kelly O’Connell Beattie and my Father name was John B O’Connell related to Timothy O’Connell who was born in Ireland? Just curious about my grandfather and why did he leave Ireland in general?
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    Tim Connell

    Who is /are the present holders of the Connell coat of arms? Is this a person, family or group?
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    K Patrick O'Connell

    My dads family is from bantry Bay his father was P.J.O'Connell came to NYC worked for the mirro company in NYC not sure what year he came to the USA love to know more Thanks for your time Slainte
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