The McMonagle Sept
Meaning and Variants of the McMonagle Name
The comprehensive 1923 Irish Names and Surnames by Patrick Woulfe says "Mac Maongail" is an old Donegal surname meaning "son of Maonghal"— Maonghal being an old Gaelic given name meaning "wealth" or "valor". Woulfe gives a number of variants and anglicizations, including McMounell, McMonnell, McMonnyll, MacMonagle, Mac Monegal, MacMonigle, MacMunigal, and Monagle (Library Ireland).
Origin of the McMonagle Family?
The Laud 610 manuscript seems to indicate that there was a "cland Maengaile" which was part of Cenél nEógain, however, Woulfe, nor any other source ancient or contemporary, gives any indication to the genealogical origins of the MacMaongail family. The Annals of the Four Masters say that in 1366 "The Bishop of Raphoe, i.e. Mac Maengail, died." MacDermott's translation of the Annals defines him as Patrick Mac Moengal (Annals). Shown in the header above, the episcopal seat of the Bishop of Raphoe in medieval Catholic Ireland was the Cathedral of St. Eunan which was, of course, in Raphoe. This puts a MacMaongail in Cenél Conaill territory (County Donegal). In fact a search of the 19th century records puts the majority of McMonagles in Donegal (John Grenham), rather than in Cenél nEógain territory (County Tyrone).
Y-DNA Evidence for an Ó Dochartaigh Connection?
From the number on McManigal-McMonagle DNA Project and Alex Williamson's The Big Tree, there appear to be few McMonagle men who have taken Y-DNA tests. Recent Y-DNA testing has revealed two men bearing the name McMonigle under the R-BY18261 Y-DNA subclade. The R-BY18261 subclade is under the umbrella of haplogroup R-BY471 (within which most Ó Dochartaigh testers fall). R-BY471 is believed to have been formed around 953 A.D. (ytree.net). Another McMonigle tester who, though not having taken a NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) Y-DNA test, has done selected SNP testing, falls under FGC8739, presently a phyloequivalent SNP of DF-97 (the parent SNP of the primarily Ó Dochartaigh BY471) (McManigal-McMonagle DNA Project). See the Y-DNA haplotree below which includes the majority of Ó Dochartaigh testers at Y-Tree, along with the McMonigle highlighted in red.
Connection to the Ó Dochartaighs Hidden in the McMonagle Name?
This makes one wonder, could the McMonagle sept of Donegal be related to the Ó Dochartaigh clann? It seems somewhat significant in this case that the name McMonigle is derived from the Irish meaning "son of Maonghal", as Maonghal was the name of Dochartach's father, his son, and his great grandson, according to the O'Clery Genealogies:
"Maenghuile m Donnchadha m Moenghuile m Dochartaigh (o raiter .h. Dochartaigh) m Maenghuile m Fiamhain"
Which is translated:
"Maenghaile son of Donogh son of Maonghaile son of Dochartach (from whom O'Dougherty) son of Maonghaile son of Fiamahan"
Could it be that some of the descendants of one of these Maonghailes (or even another unrecorded, but related Maonghal) took the surname Mac Maongail (son of Maonghal)? Presently we do not have a sufficient quantity of McMonagle Y-DNA testers yet to say for certain, but those currently tested appear to have deep ancestral connections with the Ó Dochartaigh testers. We are hopeful that future genetic testing may strengthen the evidence supporting a connection between the two Donegal families, McMonagle and Clann Ó Dochartaigh.
Header Image: "Photograph of St Eunan's Cathedral, Raphoe, Co. Donegal, Ireland" by John Armagh (CC BY-SA 3.0).
Other Sources COMING SOON.