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Home: Surnames: Donnell Family Genealogy Forum

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DONNELL's of NC...did any of them head North by any chance Pre-1790?
Posted by: melissa1 (ID *****3873) Date: November 24, 2007 at 07:22:16
  of 687

After years of research in Maine and New England for Proof of my 5th grt. grandmother's DONALD (as its spelled on her marriage record and since her family claims to be of Scottish ancestry, this is most likely the original spelling of the name...i.e. Clan Donald etc.), and not being able to find solid Proof that my 5th grt. grandmother's Grandfather Capt. Nathaniel DONNELL (who married Elizabeth TODD), of Rowley, Essex Co., MA (found proof of their marriage there and the birth of their son and my 6th grt. grandfather Capt. Benjamin DONNELL/Donald), I have now started to broaden my research area into the South.

I have mentioned this before, but I was absolutely stunned to see that the DONNELL's of Guilford Co., NC (first of all that they were there and Specifically in that county), had married into several of the same families that my Ydna MOODY family had also married into. Most All of these families came over together from Nor. Ireland landing at New Castle, Delaware. Some stayed in PA, others went to MD, DE and NJ (since PA,DE,NJ and MD are all right there together) and others ventured North and some South.

Our earliest known MOODY ancestor was Thomas MOODY b.c1710 in/of Aghadowey, Co. Londonderry, Ireland who married 1st to Jane McQUISTON/McCuiston and 2nd to Mary WITTY (poss. McQuitty/McWhitty various spellings observed).
The DENNY family were intermingled with our Moody's and McQuiston's as well as the BELL's and may other of the Ulster-Scot family names.
While I have not yet been able to Prove that our Moody's came out of Scotland, I firmly believe that they were originally from there and that their name was originally spelled either MOODIE or MUDIE. I can only pass on that the best solid proof we have so far to the ancestral heritage of our Moody family is that from the approx. 30 Moody men who have been Ydna tested that do descend from the various 'English' lines of Moody's many of which are very well documented since the English seemed to have kept better records on their own than they did we Ulster-Scots, that of our small group of 7 Moody ydna cousins, none of us match to any of the 'English' lines.

Moody is not a common name in the Early Irish records and while some say our name was early on seen as something like "O'Mudaigh", I don't know. I can't find proof of that either despite paid professional research groups in Northern Ireland etc. This only leaves one other possible place where the Moody name is found almost as heavily as it is in England and that is SCOTLAND.

What's more, when researching our Ydna connected family names in the ancient Scottish records, I find them mingled with the MOODIE's/MUDIE's back to the 1500's. I know how these families stayed "clanned" together and finding them linked that far back, then the same ones into the 1600's, again into the 1700's, then traveling together from Nor. Ireland to America and ending up in the same towns in America and still marrying into the same families, I think is pretty good evidence that these families Are Related and have been for centuries.

So having said all of that, finding these DONNELL's in NC whose families also claim to be of Scottish origins married into some of the same families that they have intermingled with for centuries dating back to old Scotland, I think is far more than coincidental.

I am now starting to re-think that Perhaps, just Perhaps my 5th grt. grandparents James MOODY and Elizabeth DONALD/Donnell who show up out of nowhere in Jan. 1774 to marry in York Co., Maine, that perhaps they were some of the families who came North prior to the Rev. War from the South. Perhaps my James Moody is a part of those who landed at New Castle, DE in the early 1700's and I've just been searching in the wrong places. Or maybe he came later.

As I said earlier, I only have solid Proof of my 5th grt. grandmother's DONNELL family back to her Grandparents Capt. Nathaniel DONNELL and Elizabeth TODD of Rowley, Essex Co., MA.

This is the only Proof I have that my Thomas Donnell was a Scotsman!

From an old book titled 'Handbook History of the Town of York from Early Times to the Present' by Edward C. Moody publ. in Augusta, ME (date publ. not known), on pg. 28 it says:

"The revolting of the Scots had made it almost imperative for many of the Cavaliers in order to have their lives to look for a home across the sea in the western world. So along the banks of the York River toward its source a hamlet grew up known to this day as "Scotland". [in York, York Co., Maine]
The descendants of...[and it names several easily recognized local York Co., ME family names]...Thomas DONNELL who were banished by Cromwell in 1645 and other SCOTCHMEN who immigrated in 1647, still live there, and have been for more than two hundred and fifty years; prominent in town affairs."

On pg. 53 of the same above mentioned book it says -
As early as 1742 the parish [York] had voted that they were willing that there should be a bridge built across the York River at or Near where Capt. Samuel Sewall keeps a ferry and after nearly 20 years the bridge was built.
Among other prominent men who were active in the matter so far as the First Parish was concerned were Capt. NATHANIEL DONNELL and THOMAS DONNELL. The building of the York Bridge caused a sensation in the world of mechanics at that time.
[MY NOTE - see also the History of Bath, Lincoln Co., ME for more details on Capt. Nathaniel Donnell and his son Capt. Benjamin Donnell and their building a bridge across the Kennebec River].

These are among the tiny fragments of proof that I have about my 6th, 7th and 8th grt. grandfathers...Capt. Benjamin Donnell, Capt. Nathaniel Donnell and his father Thomas Donnell. (Thomas' wife was Elizabeth WEIR).
The York Co., Maine Vital Records (births) do list Elizabeth DONNELL b.1750 as a child of Benjamin Donnell and his wife Sarah KINGSBURY.

My own family is heavily intermarried with other Scot-Irish families as well as those Donnell's are in Guilford Co., NC.
Perhaps somehow my 5th grt. grandfather James MOODY knew that some of the Scot-Irish friends and family were in New England and he came there to be with them.

After James and Elizabeth (Donald/Donnell) MOODY were married in 1774 Maine, they Disappeared from the map. I have not been able to find birth records of their children in Maine, nor his death record in Maine or MA or elsewhere for that matter in New England, and unless he was using a false name and in hiding for some unknown reason (debts etc.) I have not been able to find my 5th grt. grandparents again until She shows up back in York Co., Maine on Sept. 4, 1785 with her 3 children in tow and they are All to be Baptized into the same Church in York Co., Maine (Congregational) where she and James MOODY were married 11 years earlier.
Sarah their daugher is now 11 years old when she is being baptized, son James, Jr. is a year or 2 older than Sarah and my 4th grt. grandfather Joseph MOODY is the youngest and still a toddler at around 3 or 4 yrs. old.
Elizabeth (Donald/Donnell) MOODY is listed as a "Widow" so I can only guess that James Moody was dead by this date.
I have no proof of it however.

And again, I cannot find any solid proof that my 8th grt. grandfather Thomas DONNELL was linked to Henry Donnell.
Since my Thomas Donnell was Scottish and a Cromwell cast-out, and in New England from 1647, then that means he was in this country at age 16 yrs. old. I don't know if he came with his Parents or not, but at age 16 yrs. old he would probably have fought in battle along with many other Scotsmen who were cast out of Europe by Cromwell's men.

If there is anyone who knows of a link between these DONNELL's/Donald's of Maine and those Donnell's/Donald's of the South, via either YDNA Proof or otherwise, I would be Most interested in learning of them. Since both families from the North and the South have Scottish roots, chances are they Are Related and hopefully one day the Ydna will show that, if it hasn't already.
Thank You.

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