O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms (2024)

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  • O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms (1) Ireland

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O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms (3)

Irish surnames are all based on the Gaelic language native to Ireland. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Connell is Ó Conaill. 1

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Early Origins of the O'Connell family

The surname O'Connell was first found in County Limerick where O'Connell was the chief of Hy-Cuilean, a territory south-east of Abbeyfeale, in the barony of Upper Connello near the borders of Cork and Kerry. The O'Connells had their chief residence in Castle Connell. In the twelfth century the O'Connells settled in Kerry. One reference claims that the O'Falvies, admirals of Desmond; the O'Connells, of Kerry; O'Sheas, chiefs of Muskerry, in Cork; and several other chiefs, claim descent from the Clan na Deaga, Chiefs of Munster, originally a branch of the Heremonians of Ulster.

The Cannell variant is "a name peculiar to the Isle of Man, is from the Celtic MacConaill." 2

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Early History of the O'Connell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Connell research. Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1000, 1300, 1621, 1641, 1678, 1743, 1775, 1826 and 1833 are included under the topic Early O'Connell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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O'Connell Spelling Variations

Those scribes in Ireland during the Middle Ages recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in this era many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the O'Connell family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Connell, O'Connell, Cannell, Connall, Conell, Conall, Connill, Connull, Connel, Connal, Connul, Canell, Cannel, O'Connall, O'Conell and many more.

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Early Notables of the O'Connell family

Prominent amongst the family at this time was

  • Capuchin Father Robert O'Connell (c.1621-1678)
  • Daniel Count O'Connell (1743-1833), colonel of the Irish Brigade

O'Connell World Ranking

In the United States, the name O'Connell is the 1,013rd most popular surname with an estimated 29,844 people with that name. 3 However, in Australia, the name O'Connell is ranked the 538th most popular surname with an estimated 7,207 people with that name. 4 And in New Zealand, the name O'Connell is the 344th popular surname with an estimated 1,836 people with that name. 5 The United Kingdom ranks O'Connell as 953rd with 7,310 people. 6

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O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms (4) O'Connell migration to Canada +

A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name O'Connell or a variant listed above:

O'Connell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James O'Connell, aged 22, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork, Ireland
  • Patrick O'Connell, aged 45, a teacher, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Jane" from Galway, Ireland
  • Michael O'Connell, aged 8, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Jane" from Galway, Ireland
  • Biddy O'Connell, aged 6, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Jane" from Galway, Ireland
  • Daniel O'Connell, aged 4, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Jane" from Galway, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms (5) O'Connell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

O'Connell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Daniel O'Connell, English convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for life, transported aboard the "Florentia" on 11th August 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 7
  • Mr. John O'Connell, English convict who was convicted in Cambridgeshire, England for 7 years transported aboard the "Forfarshire" on 24th June 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 8
  • Mr. Daniel O'Connell, English convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 9th May 1844, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 9
  • John O'Connell, aged 21, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Standard" 10
  • William O'Connell, aged 33, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Telegraph"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms (6) O'Connell migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

O'Connell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary O'Connell, (b. 1843), aged 20, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Huntress" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st April 1863 11
  • Mr. Richard O'Connell, (b. 1845), aged 20, British printer travelling from London aboard the ship "Greyhound" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 7th May 1865 11
  • Cornelius O'Connell, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jessie Osborne" in 1867
  • Miss Margaret O'Connell, (b. 1850), aged 24, Irish servant from Waterford travelling from London aboard the ship "Tweed" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th September 1874 12
  • Denis P. O'Connell, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ocean Mail" in 1875
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Contemporary Notables of the name O'Connell (post 1700) +
  • Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell (b. 2001), American singer, songwriter, and musician. Who's song "Ocean Eyes" gained attention in 2015 and was subsequently released by the Interscope Records subsidiary Darkroom. She has received seven Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, two Guinness World Records, three MTV Video Music Awards, and one Brit Award
  • Jack O'Connell (1959-2024), American author of noir crime fiction and speculative fiction novels
  • David Gerard O'Connell (1953-2023), Irish-born, American prelate of the Catholic Church, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in California from 2015 until his death in 2023
  • Finneas Baird O'Connell (b. 1997), known mononymously as Finneas, an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor, known for his work with his sister, Billie Eilish, recipient of eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Producer of the Year, Non-Classical and the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
  • Jeremiah "Jerry" O'Connell (b. 1974), American Young Artist Award winning actor, best known for his roles in the TV series Sliders and My Secret Identity
  • Charles "Charlie" O'Connell (b. 1975), American actor and reality television personality
  • Bill O'Connell (b. 1953), American jazz pianist and bandleader from New York City
  • Aaron Douglas O'Connell (b. 1981), American experimental quantum physicist, creator of the world's first quantum machine
  • Helen O'Connell (1920-1993), American singer, actress and dancer, member of the Jimmy Dorsey Band
  • Daniel P. O'Connell (1885-1977), American politician from New York
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Historic Events for the O'Connell family +
Grover Shoe factory
  • Miss Mary T. O'Connell, American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; she died 13
Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Lulu O'Connell (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the Halifax Explosion (1917) but later died due to injuries 14
  • Mrs. Kathleen O'Connell (1885-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) 14
  • Mrs. Kathleen Weiss O'Connell (1889-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) 14
  • Mrs. Nellie O'Connell (1889-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) 14
  • Master Herman W. O'Connell (1915-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) 14
HMS Hood
  • Mr. James F O'Connell (b. 1913), English Petty Officer serving for the Royal Navy from Liverpool, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking 15
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Patrick Denis O'Connell (d. 1912), aged 17, Irish Third Class passenger from Kingwilliamstown, Cork who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking 16
St. Francis Dam
  • Mr. John O'Connell, American resident in Santa Clarita killed when the St. Francis Dam failed and flooded the area in 1928
Victoria steamboat disaster
Related Stories +
  • Family Crests: the Heraldic Artist
  • Family Crests: Timeline
  • Family Crests: Elements
  • Family Crests and Genealogy: how they relate
  • Ireland
  • Spelling variations
  • Australia
  • Munster
  • Ulster
  • Clan
  • Great Potato Famine
  • New South Wales
  • Van Diemen's
  • First Fleets
  • England
The O'Connell Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Ciall agus neart
Motto Translation: Reason and power.

Citations +
  1. MacLysaght, Edward, The Surnames of Ireland. Ireland: Irish Academic Press, sixth edition, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2366-3)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
  4. "Most Common Last Names in Australia." Forebears, https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. "Most Common Last Names in New Zealand." Forebears, https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. "UK surname ranking." UK Surname map, https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th October 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/florentia
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th October 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/forfarshire
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  10. South Australian Register Friday 14 October 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Standard 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/standard1853.shtml
  11. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. California Digital Newspaper from 21st March 1905 (retrieved on 5th August 2021.) Retrieved from https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SFC19050321.2.19&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1
  14. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  15. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  16. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html

O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms (7)
O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms (2024)

FAQs

O'Connell Name Meaning, Family History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms? ›

The name is derived from the Gaelic word Conaill, which means strong as a wolf. The O'Connells were an influential and prominent family in Irish history, tracing their roots back to the ancient kingdom of Munster. They were known for their political and military prowess, playing significant roles in Irish society.

What does the Connell family crest mean? ›

Meaning of the Connell family crest symbols

The eagle symbolizes how early family members were considered people of action, quick-wittedness and a noble nature.

What does the name O Connell mean? ›

In Ireland, the surname Connell or O'Connell is an Anglicized form of the famous Gaelic clan name O'Conaill, meaning "strong as a wolf," from the Gaelic siol cuin or siol con which translates as "descendant of Connall or Con." The name possibly derives from cú (con) meaning "hound" or "wolf," and gal meaning "valour."

What is the coat of arms of O Connell? ›

The O'Connell coat of arms features a its buck and three shamrocks on a field of green and white. For detailed O'Connell name history information, our Framed Irish Family Name History (#1760) has more information on the O'Connell family origins and surname.

What is the meaning of the name Connell? ›

Meaning:High and mighty; Rule of a wolf. Connell is a boy's name of Irish origin that was once the claim of many an ancient clan.

What ethnicity is the last name Connell? ›

The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Connell is British & Irish, which comprises 61.3% of all ancestry found in people with the surname.

Is O Connell Irish royalty? ›

The O'Connell family, principally of Derrynane, are a Gaelic Irish noble family of County Kerry in Munster. The principal seat of the senior line of the family was Derrynane House, now an Irish National Monument.

How common is the last name O Connell? ›

The surname ranked as the 886th most popular in both years, with no recorded change. Moreover, the count of individuals carrying the O'Connell surname remained consistent at 35,610 for both census years. The proportion per 100,000 people also remained stable at 13.2.

Is Connell a Scottish name? ›

The Connell name comes from Ireland and is found in Scotland with various spellings: Connal, Connell, Connel, Connall, including MacConnell. It may also come from the Irish Saint Camgall (c. 510-c..600) or from Conall Cernach a legendary Celtic warrior.

Are O Connor surnames Irish? ›

O'Connor is a surname of Irish origin, originally meaning Ó Conchobhair ("grandson/descendant of Conchobar"). A more modern Irish spelling is Ó Conchúir.

What is the history of Connell? ›

Connell was first settled in the mid-1800s by pioneer families who farmed the soil, raised sheep, cattle, and horses, and went on to build a community. By 1901, the Northern Pacific Railroad had firmly established Connell as a town—named for one of its trainmen—and was incorporated in 1910.

Who was O Connell in Irish history? ›

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847) was an Irish Nationalist leader, known as 'The Liberator', and was an active participant in the foundation of National Bank of Ireland in 1835, becoming its governor from 1836 until his death in 1847.

How common is the name Connell? ›

1 out of every 44,301 baby boys born in 2021 are named Connell.

Does every Irish family have a crest? ›

They are still used today as a symbol of pride and heritage by many Irish families and are often incorporated into coats of arms. However, it's worth noting that not all Irish families have crests, and the use of crests was not as widespread in Ireland as in other parts of Europe.

Is there a Connell tartan? ›

Yes. This tartan is intended to be used by those who at birth or through marriage receive the surname Connell or who were born to parents of the surname Connell, unless given express written consent by the tartan rights holder.

What is the oldest Irish family name? ›

O'Cleary or O'Clery (Irish: Ó Cléirigh) is the surname of a Gaelic Irish family. It is the oldest recorded surname in Europe — dating back to 916 AD — and is cognate with cleric and clerk. The O'Clearys are a sept of the Uí Fiachrach dynasty.

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