Ó Dochartaigh Name

‘Who so ever asks me of my birth – I will tell them I am born of Irish Princes who ruled in Donegal a thousand years ago; that I am descended from the High Kings of Ireland, and my name is from the Clann ÓDochartaigh!’

—Ar nDuthchas, Issue #27 (Clann Newsletter)


  • 1: ‘The Destroyer’, or ‘Obstructive’, understood to have been earned in  battle.
  • 2: ‘People of the Oaks’

Metamorphosis of the name ‘Dochartaig’ (DOCKH-har-tay) 

The ÓDochartaigh Clann Association and Inishowen Genealogy research ancestry for many Donegal and Inishowen families. This website is focussed solely on the ÓDochartaigh name and its derivatives, though many other good names are intertwined with ours, through kinship and collaboration. Please send additional information about the history of these names, so I can post it. (list of different spellings)

Here is the history of the ÓDochartaigh name, based on the article in Newsletter #26 (Spring 1995), and with the addition of names listed on the cover of Newsletter #12 (reunion edition – ÓDochartaigh: People of the Oak Houses), on the cover of the publication ÓDochartaigh Clann Who’s Who, compiled by Jackson Daugherty, Texas, USA, and a few collected from email I have received from time to time.

Clann vs. Clan: “From Old Irish cland (children, family, offspring), from Old Welsh plant (children), from Latin planta (shoot, twig, sprout). Clan is the Anglicized form of Clann. Source: http://www.wiktionary.org
—Daniel Doherty, Webmaster

The Bizarre Metamorphosis of an Irish Name

A newsletter article by Patrick Dougherty, Flint Michigan, USA

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

— end of Pat’s article —

Variations on ÓDochartaigh

Can you identify the earliest occurrence of any of these names outside Ireland? and where they came from? Clann researchers have identified over 140 spellings of our name derived from the Gaelic ÓDochartaigh (with and without
the ‘Ó). The modern anglicised form is ÓDoherty. Here is a grouped and alphabetized list of variations I have found reference to. The more common variants are bolded. Unverified spellings are followed by a “?” Locations & dates indicate the earliest immigration I have identified to the country indicated. Notes [1] indicate sources. Where there is no note, I got the name from ÓDoherty Clann publications. Corrections and additions are welcomed. Thanks to to those who have contributed! (If you copy this, please credit the source.):

—Daniel Doherty, Clan Webteam

I have collected a list of 101 variations:

DAG Daghrtey . . . . . .
DAH Daherty . . . . . .
DAR Darighty Darity Darty . . . .
DAU Dauerty [9] Daugh Daugharty Daugheetee Daugherde Daughety [9] .
abt. 1700[5]
Daughery Daughhetee Daughity [9] Daughry . .
Daughten Daughton Daughtrey Daughtry . . .
Daughty [8] Dauherty Dauthity [9] . . . .
DAW Dawherty Dawhity [9] . . . . .
DED de Duarte . . . . . .
DEH DeHart DeHate DeHority
USA: Delaware
1900’s [5]
USA: Delaware
1800’s [5]
DeHorty? . .
DOA Doaghan . . . . . .
DOC Docartaig –> Dochartach –> ÓDochartaigh
(original Gaelic )


Docharty Docher Docherty [6] Dochetry Dochrety [6] . .
Dockarty Dockerly [9] Dockerty Dockery Dockhardy Dockidy [9] Dockity [9]
DOE Doeherty Doeity [9] . . . . .
DOG Dogert Dogerty Doggart Doghartie Dogharty Doghertie Dogherty
DOH Doharty Dohdrty . . . . .
Dohem Doheny Doherdy Dohertie Doherty
(modern Anglicised)
Dohertye Dohorty
1804-1870 [3]
DOR Dorethy Dorety . . . . .
Doriahy Doriety? Dority Dorority Dorothy [10] . .
Dorrity Dorty Dothery Doty . . .
DOU Doughaday [9] Doughan Dougharderdy Doughardy Dougharty Dougharyt? .
Doughedy Doughem . . . . .
Dougher Dougherdie Dougherdy Doughertie [9] . . .
Doughertty <strong>Dougherty
abt. 1700 [5]
Doughety [9] Doughhetee Doughte Doughty [8] .
Dourghary Dourty . . . . .
DOW Dowgert? (Polish) . . . . . .
DU… Duarte Ducker Duckry?
abt. 1860 [7]
. . . .

Notes from the list of names:

  • Source: Publications from the Clann Association
  • Source: Clann Herald, Patrick Dougherty – verbal
  • Source: sgarlits@aol.com, dougherty-l@rootsweb.com
    (notes 3-7: Nov/98)
  • Source: Deni, email from dougherty-l@rootsweb.com
  • Source: Mary DeHortiy Beaulieu, catbaloo@aol.com,
  • Source: Gary Docherty, hgaryd@aol.com, dougherty-l@rootsweb.com
  • Source: unknown, Moore County, NC, dougherty-l@rootsweb.com
  • Source: Buck Dougherty, ad85738@havix.net, dougherty-l@rootsweb.com
  • Source: The Story of Owen Daugherty, Donna J. Hart, ed.

Quoted from a list of name meanings:

“Doherty is an Irish and Scottish Patronymic name from the Gaelic ÓDochartaigh , meaning
‘descendant of Dochartach’, whose name meant Unlucky or Hurtful. Variants
are ÓDoherty, ÓDougherty, Dougharty, Doghartie, Dogerty,
Daugherty, Doggart, Dockert , and Docharty , among others. As recently
as 1994, I was in Donegal seeking my Doherty ancestors and was frequently
asked for the nickname. I finally determined that over half the people
in Carndonagh were named Doherty and that families were identified by
nicknames, ours being “Dinny”. My g-g-grandfather was Dennis Nicholson
and, having left the farm for the town and established himself as an
auctioneer and valuer, was recognized as distinct from his relatives
by establishing the Dinny line. Local press generally reports both surnames;
there doesn’t seem to be a standard as to which is prime and which is
seen as secondary. The need for this practice may be seen in the small
local market square where three stores are identified as “Patrick Doherty”.
My source in Carndonagh was Paddy Glacken (Docherty).

— Submitted by Neil Nickerson.