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Author Topic: The Various O'Neill's  (Read 3010 times)
Miles Hispaniae
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« on: March 25, 2008, 03:25:09 PM »

The Various O’Neill’s

O’Neill, O’Neall, Neill, Neal, Nielson, MacNeill, McGreal, McNeill, McNeely, O’Neyl, McNeilage, Neales
Nihill, Payne, Johnson, Nelson, MacCloughan, McGuigan, Nele, Nillson, Nilan, Nealon, Newland, McNeley, Nesle, O’Nail, McNeal, Mac Neal, Neale, O’Neale, McGugan, MacAnilly, McAnelly, Neylon, Mac Barron, Barron.


                                      Origins of the word Niell

     The original Gaelic meaning of Neil is unclear, but Champion or Cloud.
English, Scottish, and Irish: from an Anglo-Scandinavian form of the Gaelic name Niall. It is assumed to have been adopted by the Scandinavians in the form Njal and was introduced into northern England and East Anglia by them, rather than being taken directly from Gaelic.
NIEL: Norman French form of Scandinavian Njal, meaning "champion."
NIELS:  Danish form of Nicholas, meaning "victory of the people." Dutch form of Roman Cornelius, meaning "horn."
NIGEL: English form of Latin Nigellus, meaning "champion."
NIGELLUS: Latin form of Norman French Nihel "champion," but sometimes used as a diminutive form of the word Niger "black," thus "little black one."
NIGUL: Estonian form of Nicholas, meaning "victory of the people."
NIHEL: Variant of Norman French Neil, meaning "champion."
NIILO: Finnish form of Nicholas, meaning "victory of the people."
NJÅL: Norwegian form of Old Norse Njáll, meaning "champion."
NJAL: Scandinavian form of Old Norse Njáll, meaning "champion."
NJALL (Njáll): Old Norse form of Irish Niall, meaning "champion."
Cornish British
The Surname Nell signifies power & might, ‘the powerful or mighty ‘. Neul or Nial, in the Gaelic, signifies a cloud or hue; figuratively, a dark complexion.
In Scotland
Nealcail:   from Gaelic words meaning "victorious people".
Niall: an Old Irish name, prob. derived from Nel "cloud"; or "champion".
Neacal: meaning “victory of the people". Nicholas, Nicol, Niocal.


                                                  The Various O’Neill’s of Ireland

The Nihill’s of Co. Clare origins the O Neighill Sept located in the barony of Bunratty of Thomond. O Neighill meaning clan or sept of the champion.

O’Neill’s in Co. Galway in 1807 a John Geoghegan of Bunowen Castle, Co. Galway adopted the surname O’Neill. From then on the descendants of this man have used the surname O’Neill but are truly Geoghegan. The Geoghegan Clan claim to be descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages.

The Mac Neely’s or Neely’s of Co. Antrim origins the Gaelic Mac an Fhilidh ‘Son of a Poet’ The surname was anglicized to McAnelly, MacAnilly and McNeely.

The Nelson’s originally Nielson, ‘Neil’s son’ or ‘Nell’s son’. Nell was the English version of the Gaelic Niall or Norman French Njal.

1. On the Isle of Man the surname Nelson was originally MacNeill.

2. Neilson’ of Craigcaffe, Ayrshire descends from Neil the Earl of Carrick.
3. The Neilson’s the hereditary coroners of the Clan Stuart of Bute.
4. The Nielson’s a Sept of the Clan Gunn.
5. The Nielson’s a sept of the Clan MacKay descendants of Neill MacNeill MacKay.

Neilan or Neylan of Co. Clare origins in the Niallain Sept. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Phelim O'Niallain, which was dated 1093, died at Clonmacnois, County Clare, during the reign of No king of All Ireland from 1086 - 1172. The Gaelic O'Niallain 'The descendant of the son of Neil'. The 'English' name holders derive from the Olde English 'neu -landa', a pre 7th century term which in ancient times referred to lands recovered by the draining of the fen country of East Anglia, the name being first recorded in Cambridge in the 13th century. The surname Neilan can be easily changed to O’Neill or O’Neil by dropping of the ‘an’ suffix at the end of the surname.

The Nillson’s or Nilsson’s surname is from the Norse word Njal ‘Champion’ meaning of surname ‘Son of Champion’. The Nillson surname is of a Scandinavian origin mostly found in modern day Sweden. Origins could be Danish, Norse or Swedish.
The Neil’s Clan of Galloway, Scotland originally the MacNeille’s who shortened their surname to Neil.

The Mac Neil’s of Gigha and Barra this clan is of the Hebrides of Scotland.

1. The McNeill’s of Barra served in Ireland during the 14th century with the Clan MacLean
2. In 1471 the MacNeill clan submitted to Con O’Neill.
3. The McNeil’s of North Antrim were followers of the MacDonnell’s of the Glen.
4. The MacNeill clan split into two affiliated entities, the "MacNeill’s" of Barra, and the "McNeill’s" of Gigha/Colonsay, under Torquil MacNeill in1427.   While both assumed their own Crests and Tartans, for centuries the MacNeill of Gigha/Colonsay bore allegiance to the Chieftains of Barra. After 1493 the two branches of MacNeils took opposite sides in the long running feud between the MacDonald’s of Islay and the MacLean’s of Duart, Barra MacNeils sided with the Mac Leans while the Gigha MacNeils fought on the side of the Clan Donald.

The Mac Baron’s Origins of surname can be Irish, Scottish and English. The Gaelic Mac Baruin were a important branch of the O’Neill’s in Co. Armagh and Louth. The descendants of Sir. Art Mac Barron O’Neill. The Scottish Mac Barron means ‘the son of Barron’, but did not denote noble blood.

The McGrail a branch of the MacNeill’s that settled in Co. Armagh.

The McCougan a branch of the MacNeill’s.

The Ballyneale Castle O’Neill’s Baile Uí Neill ‘land of the O’Neill’s’. Possible O’Neill’s of Ulster that settled in Ballyneale, Mollough, Ballycurkeen, Ballinamona and Lisadobber during the late 1100 A.D.  The Ballyneale Castle is located in Carrick – on – Suir, Co. Tipperary. 

The O’Neill’s of the Magh da Chonn or the O’Neill’s of Leinster.  These O’Neill’s are a sept once known also as the Fearann Uí Neill. This sept was situated in the three parishes called Moyacomb, Co. Wexford, Co. Carlow and Co. Wicklow.

                                                                        The MacShane’s

The Mac Shane’s claim to be descendants of the O’Neill’s of Tyrone and Shane ‘Diomas’ O’Neill. The MacShane surname means ‘Son of John’ of the Gaelic Mac Seain found in north east Antrim. The Mac Shane surname was anglicized to Johnson.

1.   John Fitzgerald, the Earl of Desmond, had a younger son named Gerald Fitzgerald, Lord of the Decies. Gerald (Gearoid) Fitzgerald took the surname MacShane because of his father John (Gaelic Seain).  Sir. Gerald Fitzgerald now Sir Gerald MacShane was a powerful lord in Ireland and spoke no English.

2.   Sir Gearoid Fitzgerald became the 8th Earl of Kildare and Lord Deputy and Lord Justice of Ireland he ruled for 33 years.

3.   In 1504 Sir Gearoid Fitzgerald obtained complete victory of the Irish Chiefs in Connaught.
Conn ‘Baccach’ O’Neill  1480 - 1559, 1st earl of Tyrone, was the grandson of Thomas Fitzgerald, 7th Earl of Tyrone, through his mothers Lady Elinor Fitzgerald wife of Con mor O’Neill.

4.   Hugh “McShane” O’Neill was the last recognized, Lord of Killetragh and inaugurated Chief of the McShane for the 16th and 17th Century. He was a great-grandson of Conn ‘Baccach’ O’Neill, King then Earl of Tir Eoghan. His grandfather had been the eldest son of Conn Baccach and Tanist of the O’Neill’s, until his early death in 1542 at the hands of a McDonnell galloglach in a raid along the Bann River. Had he lived, Shane the Proud and Mathew of Dungannon may never have come to prominence. But his death left his small children at the mercy of the greater family.


                      Some of the MacShane’s and O’Neill’s share the same values a many DYS markers.
390 = 24, 385 a = 12, 385 b = 15, 439 = 11, 458 = 17, 447 = 25, 389-2 = 30, 19 = 14, YCA II a = 19, YCA II b = 23, 456 = 15, CDY a = 35, CDY b = 37, 438 = 12, 442 = 13.

                                        Surnames associated with the O’Neill’s through History

The MacLean’s Gaelic Macgille Eoin ‘Son of the servant of St. John’. Galloglass clan of the Hebrides. The MacNeill’s were hereditary harpers and poets to the McLean’s of Duart on the Island of Mull. Both the MacNeill’s and McLean were once in  service  as galloglasses in Ulster.
1.   Catherine McLean, mistress of Shane ‘Diomas’ O’Neill and Countess of Argyle, was kept in chains in a cellar by Shane ‘Diomas’ O’Neill. When Shane was killed she returned back to Mull.
The MacEvies a Scottish gallowglass clan, mercenaries for the O’Neill’s of Tyrone.
The McNamee’s origins Gaelic Mac Conmidhe meaning ‘Son of the hound of Meath’, hereditary poets of the O’Neill’s of Tyrone.

The Martin’s MacGilmartin’s or the MacMairtin a branch of the O’Neill’s of Tyrone.

The Kane’s Gaelic O’ Cahan inaugurators of the O’Neill’s of Tyrone.

The Devlin’s Chief of the Muintir, Dhoiblin ‘People of Develin’ hereditary sword bearers to the O’Neill’s and the Develin’s were part of the O’Neill Calvary.

The Moore’s    Sir. Garret Moore was a great friend of Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, Hugh last night in before his flight out of Ireland was a Sir Garret Moore’s home at Mellifort Sept 8, 1607. Before his flight Hugh O’Neill left his eldest son John O’Neill born in 1599 in the care of Sir Garret Moore to be educated. 

The Agnew’s origins can be Norman or Gaelic. The d’ Agneaux’s  are  a Norman family that took their name from the baronies of d’Agneaux, Normandy. The Gaelic sept of O Gnimh, famous poets of the O’Neill’s of Clann Aodh Bhuide of Antrim.

The Mac Cradle’s Gaelic Mac Ardghail, from Ardghal, meaning ‘High Valor’. They were a branch of the McMahon’s of Oriel but latter became sub-chiefs in Co. Armagh under the O’Neill’s of the Fews.

The MacCartan’s, Gaelic Mac Artain , ‘Son of Artan’. The MacCartan’s take their name from the great-grandson of Mongan MacGuinness of Iveagh in Co. Down. They were once tributaries to the O’Neill’s.

The MacDonald’s , Gaelic Mac Dhomhnuill, take their name from Donal of Islay, grandson of Somerled king of the Isles.  Somhairle MacDonald was the ancestor of the Tyrone sept of Mac Donald’s Galloglach, hereditary mercenaries of the O’Neill’s. They served the O’Neill’s until the end of the 16th century.

The Ward’s , Gaelic Mac an Bhaird , ‘ son of the bard’ a branch of this family were the poets of the O’Neill’s.

                                      The Hovenden’s and O’Neill’s of Tyrone

The Hovenden’s Scottish mercenaries closely associated with the O’Neill’s of Tyrone. Richard and Henry Hovenden were foster bothers of Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone. Hugh O’Neill was adopted by Giles Hovenden and brought up by the Hovenden family.
Henry Hovenden, fifth son of Giles. Henry was foster-brother of Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone. Henry was Hugh O'Neill's secretary.
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