O'Neill Family History
ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives.
Many different spelling variations of the same name can be traced back to a single original root. Also, when a bearer of a name emigrated from Ireland it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books upon arrival at their new location. Some names have dozens of spelling variations. Some Surnames were also altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically, by their sound, and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another. This was especially so in Ireland where most Gaelic names were 'anglicized' at some stage.
Variants of the name O'Neil
include Nihill, Neil, Neill, Neal and Neale. Meaning 'Champion', for one thousand years the O'Neills have been one of the most prestigious of Irish families. Neill was first used by Domhall, grandson of Nial Glun Dubh, King of Ireland, killed by the Norsemen in the year 919. As they were very strong in Ulster, Queen Elizabeth had their 'Tullahogue' inauguration stone broken. In the fourteenth century they split into two branches. One was the Princes of Tyrone and the other the Clandaboys of Antrim and Down. Shane's Castle in Antrim is now their splendid showpiece. The Red Hand of Ulster originated from their coat of arms.The O'Neil
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including O'Neil