Welcome to the O'Donnell Family page at Surname Finder, a service of Genealogy Today. Our editors have compiled this checklist of genealogical resources, combining links to commercial databases along with user-contributed information and web sites for the O'Donnell surname. As additional sources for vital records, original documents, vintage photographs and surname-based DNA projects are discovered, this page is updated to offer the best list for researching O'Donnell ancestry. Share this page on Twitter!
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The O'Donnell Family Tree
Everyone has different reasons for building a family tree; your personal motiviation will influence whether the O'Donnell family tree has more depth or breadth. Have you struck a O'Donnell brick wall? Read "Know Where to Begin Your Genealogical Search" for some helpful advice.
Best Tree Collections for Discovering O'Donnell Ancestors
Patronymics is the practice of naming children using the given name of the father, grandfather, or other male ancestor preceeded by a prefix. In the case of O'Donnell, it is possible that one of your Gaelic/Irish ancestors was given the patronym for being the "son of Donnell." Please read "Patronymics and Other Naming Patterns" and "Patronymics: Help Not Hindrance," for further details.
Keep an open mind when searching through O'Donnell records. Years ago many people were unable to read and write, thus a given ancestor's name could be spelled in a variety of ways depending on who recorded it. If you want to know How can I find where my O'Donnell ancestor is buried?, then read this frequently asked question.
Top Five Genealogy Databases to Search for O'Donnell
Census records are among the most useful records available for family tree building. There are currently matching O'Donnell records at Ancestry.com! Start exploring this online O'Donnell family history resource today.
Origins of the O'Donnell Surname
It is quite possible for two people with the O'Donnell last name to have been given that surname for entirely different reasons. Discovering the country from which your O'Donnell ancestors originated can often yield additional clues for the meaning of the surname. Were you aware that O'Donnell is a common Irish surname? The article "The Luck of the Irish Research" may be helpful for your research. Keep in mind that it was not unusual for a last name to be altered as an ancestor entered a new country.
O'Donnell DNA Projects
While DNA testing cannot conclusively tell you if two O'Donnell ancestors were related, it can easily prove if they weren't. Be sure you understand what types of research issues each different DNA test can address before you spend any money. If you're not sure how DNA testing could aid your O'Donnell research, read "Basics of DNA Family History Research".
O'Donnell Family History
For most people, just about every aspect of their life has been influenced in some way by their ancestors. Look beyond the names and dates to understand how and why your O'Donnell ancestors lived and strived to make a better life for their descendants. Our team of seasoned experts are here to help you learn about different aspects of genealogy. Reading "The Role Of History In Genealogical Research" may help you think of some different tactics to compiling your O'Donnell family history.
Networking with O'Donnell Researchers
In the course of genealogy research, collaboration is key -- we really cannot do it alone, and one of the great benefits of participating in community message boards is building relationships that not only enlightens our research but strengthens bonds across the miles. The article "Looking for John Smith - Focusing a Query" provides some valuable tips for posting successful O'Donnell queries.
You may also want to consider posting a query to the Community Message Boards at Genealogy Today to get assistance from other researchers on your most elusive O'Donnell ancestors.
O'Donnell Achievements & Celebrities
Web Sites & Blogs with O'Donnell Research
If you are having difficulty locating records for the last name of O'Donnell, contact the folks at ProGenealogists for a free research estimate. You may also find it helpful to read, "When, Why and How to Hire a Professional Genealogist."
Upcoming O'Donnell Family Reunions
Whenever possible, consider holding the family reunion in place where you have a strong O'Donnell family history, which provides opportunities to share stories and visit cemeteries or old home sites; you may even want to consider as a one-day activity, having each family take on the task of gathering information from the local courthouse, school district, public library, etc. -- this, of course, requires advance planning and assignment, but could generate considerable interest and results. The article "Family Reunions Don't Always Turn Out as one has Pictured" may provide you with tips for hosting a successful O'Donnell reunion.