Conlogue/McConlogue: Finding the lost 'Clan of Donal Oge'
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
The Final Battle of Eachmarcach sronmhaoil O'Dochartaigh
The Annals record that in the year 1196 or 1197 that Eachmarcach sronmhaoil (the noseless) O'Dochartaigh assumed the Kingship of the Cenél Conaill (all of Donegal). His reign was peaceful for all of a short two weeks, until the Anglo-Norman invader, Sir John de Courcy, began marching northward into Ulster. De Courcy had worked as a mercenary for the southern Irish king of Leinster, but was now power-hungry for lands of his own. His armies pushed right through the heart of the powerful O'Neill's territory (County Tyrone), through Ardstraw, but bypassed the O'Dochartaigh's nearby territories of Ardmore and Cenél-Enda making their way on to Derry where de Courcy's forces were encamped 5 days. The Cenél Conaill army was undoubtedly on high alert and spies closely monitoring the movements of the invading forces. When report came to King O'Dochartaigh that this hostile force was sighted marching from Derry and encroaching into the far northern edge of the O'Dochartaigh's territory of Cenél-Enda (roughly equivalent to modern-day Raphoe), the order was given and the united armies of the Cenél Conaill tribes, under the direction of Eachmarcach O'Dochartaigh, met the invaders as they were coming to cross the River Swilly. Unfortunately, the Cenél Conaill armies were no match for the trained mercenaries, and a slaughter ensued where two hundred of our men died on that battlefield and the English took spoil of much cattle from Inishowen. Among the dead of that battle were King Eachmarcach O'Dochartaigh, his son Gilla-Brighde O'Dochartaigh, and many other of the nobles of the Cenél Conaill. (U1197.4, M1197.4, LC1196.20-21)
The Case of the Lost Clan
Having told the above story to give the context of the era and the families, it was this very Eachmarcach sronmhaoil O'Dochartaigh who is mentioned in the O'Clery Book of Genealogies as a progenitor of a number of families that branched off from the O'Dohertys as early as eight centuries ago. O'Clery's entry number 300 under the O'Dochartaigh genealogies says:
"David, from whom are the Clann Davids. …Giolla Brighde, from whom are descended the Clann Mac Giolla bride. Donal oge, from whom are descended the Clann or sept of Donal oge. All these are the progeny of Eachmarcagh oge, son of Eachmarcagh sronmhaoil." (O'Clery Book of Genealogies)
Clann David refers to the family which bears the name McDevitt or McDaid, anglicizations which mean "Sons of David (O'Dochartaigh)". The name of Clann Mac Giolla bride, meaning "sons of Giolla Brighde (O'Dochartaigh)" has been shortened to McBride over the years and is one of several other un-related families who bear that name today. However, this "Clann or sept of Donal oge" was another story entirely. Who has ever heard of a McDonaloge? Never…not even Google can tell me of one—and that's surprising! Had someone wiped this family from the pages of history? Were they even real to begin with? What in the world is going on here? Well, after a few hours of research on several occasions, I finally filed it in the back of my thinking cap, made a note in my research files, and left it at that, just in case something came up in the future.
Who are the MacConnelloge?
It was several months later when I was reading from a 1902 book titled Derriana: Essays and Occasional Verses Chiefly Relating to the Diocese of Derry, that I came across that additional hint needed to connect the dots. Derriana compiles selected writings of Rev. Dr. John Keys O'Doherty, an Irish Roman Catholic prelate who was at that time serving as the Bishop of Derry. In footnote to an essay he wrote covering Sir Cahir O'Doherty's Rebellion, on page 188, Dr. O'Doherty quotes from the Irish Topographical Poems, which is published here below (O'Doherty, 1902):
"In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when the Irish families had increased, and their territories were divided into two or more parts among rivals of the same family, each of the contending chieftains adopted some addition to the family surname, for the sake of distinction… The O'Dogherty's of Inishowen, [were divided] into O'Doghertys, MacDevitts, and MacConnelloges." (O'Donivan, 1862)
I immediately set out to find who these MacConnellogue were, as I had not yet made the connection. The trusted source I always go to for Irish surnames, Rev. Patrick Woulfe's 1923 compendium, Irish names and surnames, disappointed me with the following entry for that surname:
"Mac CONAILL ÓIG—IV—M'Connell oge, MacConnellogue, Conlogue; 'son of young Conal'; an old Tyrconell surname." (Woulfe, 1923)
How do you get MacConnelloge from Donal Oge?
Woulfe’s entry for MacConnellogue was a dead end, historically and genealogically speaking, as there was no background information. I began checking similar names—"Mac CONAILL" which Woulfe similarly said meant 'son of Conall', however, his follow up statement to that entry got my wheels turning. His statement was that MacConaill was "to be distinguished from MacDhomhnaill, which in most instances is the origin of MacConnell." (Woulfe, 1923). What? How could MacDhomhnaill (that is McDonnell) be the basis for a name like MacConnell, when those are two completely separate Irish given names? That's when a random piece of information I had recently read resurfaced to help connect the dots. That random piece of information was how that the "MacConachies (also MacConaghy and MacConkey) were a sept of Clan Robertson, their family name in Gaelic being Mac Dhonnchaidh" and how "the ‘h’ after the ‘D’ makes it silent, thus sounding as Mac’onachie (Genealogy.com Users, 2018).
I immediately saw how the descendants of Donal oge O'Dochartaigh, being "Dhomhnaill Óg" in Irish, would pronounce their name "Mac'oneloge", aspirating the letter D, which ultimately became anglicized as MacConnellogue! This was confirmed when I searched the surname mappings of Griffith's Evaluation on John Grenham's website, a tool that Zack Daugherty showed me a few months ago. Grenham's mapping of the MacConnellogue across Ireland showed them to be a small family centered in Inishowen and Raphoe. Grenham, there, quotes Edward MacLysaght's Surnames of Ireland (1985) as follows: "MacConnellogue. rare: Donegal etc. Ir. Mac Dhomhnaill Óig (young Dónall). A name from Inishowen (Donegal)." (Grenham, 2019)
Why don’t you hear about the family?
Notice Grenham how quoted MacLysaght as saying the family was “rare”? Well, it seems your chances are almost as likely that you'll find a Leprechaun as seeing a MacConnellogue while you're out and about, as they are a very small family. Current population estimates of the family based on the combined 42 variants of the name indicate there are around 1174 people bearing that name today, with the majority being in the United States, followed by Ireland and Northern Ireland. That’s a total of 1174 out of 7.5 billion! The most popular spellings are Conlogue (with 311 bearing the name), McConlogue (with 200), McConnellogue (162), McConalogue (155), McConologue (96), Conilogue (72), and Conologue (66). (Forebears, 2019)
Making the Connection
Presently, there appears to be only 2 testers on FamilyTreeDNA from this family, bearing the spelling "McConlogue". I'm not sure which project they're a part of yet or what level of DNA testing they've completed, however there are no McConlogues who have submitted advanced Y-DNA testing to The Big Tree to determine whether they fall into a Y-DNA haplogroup near that of the O'Dochartaighs. As Y-DNA has been able to confirm the O'Doherty-McDevitt connection, we would like to pursue the same analysis for our long-lost cousins descended from Donal oge O'Doherty. If you know a Conlogue, McConlogue, or any descendant of the "Clann or sept of Donal oge" by any other variant of the name, please share this article with them. If you are reading this and are from that family, we welcome you as an integral part of Clann O'Dochartaigh (Doherty)! Please reach out to us, as we would love to celebrate our common heritage together and, particularly, explore whether advanced genetic genealogy tests may help shed light on the common ancestors of our ancient shared family.
Ár nDúthchas/Our Heritage!
Will Dougherty III
Clann Ó Dochartaigh Heritage Curator
U1197.4, Annals of Ulster
M1197.4, Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland
LC1196.20-21, Annals of Loch Cé
Forebears. (2019, 03 29). Search for Meanings & Distribution of 26 Million Surnames. Retrieved from Forebears.io: https://forebears.io/surnames
Genealogy.com Users. (2018, 03 29). Re: McConaghey Family who came from ireland. Retrieved from Genealogy.com: https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/mcconnaughey/190/
Grenham, J. (2019, 03 29). McConnellogue. Retrieved from Irish Ancestors: https://www.johngrenham.com/findasurname.php?surname=McConnellogue
O'Doherty, R. K. (1902). Derriana: Essays and Occasional Verses Chiefly Relating to the Diocese of Derry. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers, & Walker (https://books.google.com/books?id=IzQzAQAAMAAJ).
O'Donivan, J. (1862). The topographical poems of John O'Dubhagain and Giolla na naomh O'Huidhrin. Dublin: Irish Arachaeological and Celtic Society (https://archive.org/details/topographicalpoe00odonuoft/page/n33).
Woulfe, R. P. (1923). Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall: Irish names and surnamess. https://www.libraryireland.com/names/.