Doherty – it’s all in the spelling!

Posted On 2012-05-28 06:26:34 | Read 4887 times | 0 Comments

Really interesting article from website - - which covers the fact that there are more than 140 variations on the spelling of the surname Doherty:


The Bizarre Metamorphosis of an Irish Name

by Patrick Dougherty

Our clann research unit has discovered over 140 ways of spelling this old Gaelic/Irish name which moved out of the Finn River valley in the late 1200's. From 1690 to the late 1820's the use of the prefix 'Ó (signifying 'grandson of') was illegal for those living in Ireland, so both versions will be found.

Born at the turn of the 800's, Fiamhain had but one name. Surnames were not yet in use. He was the son of Cennfaeladh (pronounced Cenn Fala). The latter was the Prince of Tyrconnell when the year 800 dawned. Fiamhain in turn had several children, one being Maongal, who in turn had a child called Donal.

This grandson of Faimhain, though born with the given name Donal, earned the title "Dochartaig" due to his exploits on the battlefield. It is believed the meaning of that name is 'The Destroyer', which is hotly debated. Some experts argue that it means 'Obstructive', which again could be related to the battlefield.

Following the direct line down from Fiamhain through Dochartaig, records indicate Dochartaig's son to have been Maongall. Maongall's son was Donoch. Being the grandson of Dochartaig, Donoch took the 'Ó to his surname and became the first ÓDochartaigh.

In Brehon Law, it is understood that the first to use a surname (Dochartaigh in this case) used the Grandfather's name as its 'Clann Name'. [So, the ÓDochartaighs are direct decedents of the Clann Fiamhain.] This Clann research is far from complete!


•             Cennfaeladh (pronounced: cenn falla) - Prince of Tyrconnell about 800 AD

•             Fiamhain - early 800's

•             Maongal - son of Fiamhain

•             Donal - son of Maongal, earned the title 'Dochartaig'

•             Maongall - son of Dochartaig

•             Donoch - grandson of Dochartaig, therefore: ÓDochartaig

•             ÓDocartaig - 890 to 1550

•             ÓDochartaigh - later Irish

•             ÓDougherty, ÓDogherty - use by Cahir Rua about 1600

•             ÓDocherty, Docherty - Scoticized

Introduced into foreign lands as:

•             Daugherty - went to North America before 1800

•             Dougherty -majority landed in the USA after 1800

•             Daugheetee - out of West Virginia mountains

•             Darity - into the southern seaboard, USA

•             Dority - same name further West, USA

•             Daughtry - used in deep South and West, USA

•             Daughtrey - derivation of the previous, especially popular in Texas

•             Doherty - modern Anglicization, popular since 1800, found in North-central USA [and the East & West coast of Canada]

•             [Dogherty - found in Spain]

•             Dorrity - found in Derry, Cork and a few areas of the USA


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