‘In Search of …Me’, pt.4- by author Joseph J. O’Donnell

Joe O'Donnell   My search has taken me a step farther back along the trail in connections to my ancestors. In the previous issue I showed the beginnings of the O’Donnell name and the pre-history of my family before immigrating to Scotland. My next steps are to find the link in which the first member of the O’Donnell clan set sail for Glasgow.

Glasgow was the goal of many Irish who sought work and to flee starvation in Ireland due to the potato famines of the 1800’s. Working and living conditions where they settled were harsh and they were always considered as second class citizens. Unlike America, though, where signs were hung in windows that read INNA (Irish need not apply) there was a relationship between Scots and Irish via blood lines.

pic of Glasgow #3 The Irish were originally called Scoti by the Romans as the term was given to these invading Celts, and in fact Scotland was originally called Picland because of the dominant tribe of Pics that inhabited that mountainous region. Another lesser tribe, the Tors, also resided there but it was the Pics that were at constant war with Rome. The Pics were called the ‘blue people’ as they donned blue paint when going into battle.

The Irish Scoti gained a foothold in the Hebrides of Scotland’s west coast, and in fact St. Columba sailed from Ireland to Iona in hopes of converting the tribes of what is now Scotland. The Scoti eventually overran Northern Britain, subduing the native tribes and henceforth it was known as Scotland and its people were known as Scots.

images of Glasgow #1   Many clans retained relationships along family lines in both Ireland and Scotland. The O’Donnell name in Ireland is connected to the  McDonnell name in Scotland and consider each others as cousins. There are also Scottish variants of the name such as the MacDonnells, the McDonalds, and others that seem to have an initial source.

Recently I discovered that my two grandparents originated from Lanarkshire, just southeast of Glasgow. This would tie in to the fact that my grandfather was a boat builder and Glasgow was the prime boatbuilding city in British Scotland. Lanarkshire has come along way from those early days and has become an upscale middle class area. Its earlier history was impoverished as it was mainly a working class town. I have included several early pictures of this region along with this segment of my story.

I have been in contact with Ancestory.com where I have opened an account. I received some good information from Ashley, one of their representatives, in where to look next. She recommended going through Parrish birth records and Card Catalogs for the area, but this came with some disappointing news as well. It seems that she advised as Scottish and Irish birth records, from people who left Ireland may fall into a ‘black hole’ as many of the records were incomplete. Searching for the reason for this led me to the Irish Rebellion in which many historical birth records were lost in a fire during fighting in Ireland.

Ardrossan_Glasgow_St   This has made me undaunted in my quest and I will try to uncover as much as possible. There are also ‘The O’Donnell Pubs’ in Glasgow where I will look for possible relations, as my grandfather’s brother had owned three of them. Hopefully this year I can travel to my father’s homeland as well as to Erin to find any possible links to report. In the next issue I also hope to reveal some of my findings in some of the clues that Ancestory.com had given to me.


Please share the story on Facebook, or donate to support our efforts!