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Surname O'Farrell - Meaning and Origin

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O'Farrell: What does the surname O'Farrell mean?

The last name O'Farrell is an Irish surname, meaning "son of Farrell" or "descendent of Farrell." The given name Farrell (or Fearghal) is Gaelic in origin and derived from the Old Irish “fear” (“man”) and “gal” (“valor”). Thus, Farrell means “man of valor”, “brave man”, or “hero”.

The original form of the O'Farrell surname was O’Fearghail, meaning " descendants of Fearghal". This was a common form of the O'Farrell name found in County Galway and County Mayo history.

The surname O'Farrell has branched off into many different spellings over time, such as O-Farrell, Farrell, Farrall, Farrelly, Farrel, Farley, and Farrel. This is due to the prevalence of illiteracy levels before the 19th century, as well as the myriad of different ways the name could be pronounced.

The name O’Farrell has spread to many countries around the world since the 1700s, as a result of diaspora caused by war and famine. Today, there are families of the surname O'Farrell scattered throughout Ireland, the UK, USA, and Australia.

Regardless of location, the name O’Farrell is associated with the same courageous spirit of its ancestral origin. Proud members of this Irish clan carry on the legacy of their remarkable heritage, inspiring many descendants with their strength and bravery.

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O'Farrell: Where does the name O'Farrell come from?

The last name O'Farrell is quite common in Ireland, especially in the province of Laois, also known as O'Farrell's Country. The O'Farrells were a prominent and influential family in the region during the Middle Ages. In more recent times, the name can be found in all parts of the island and British Isles.

In the United States, O'Farrell is still quite a common surname, with most of the population being Irish Americans from one generation or another. For example, there are over 9,400 people who have this surname in the US, according to the Census Bureau. California is home to the most O'Farrell's, with 1,834 in the state, followed closely by New York with 1,795.

The same can be said for Canada, where the census shows that there are over 8,500 Canadians bearing the O'Farrell surname. Ontario leads by far with 4,628, followed by Quebec with 1,366, and British Columbia with 787.

The last name O'Farrell can also be found in other countries around the world, such as Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, although it is much less common in those places compared to Ireland and the United States.

In conclusion, the last name O'Farrell is very common today in Ireland, the United States, Canada, and other countries around the world, albeit to a lesser degree. The Irish were very influential back in the Middle Ages and it is reflected in today's population who bear the last name O'Farrell.

Variations of the surname O'Farrell

The origin of the surname O’Farrell is derived from the Irish Gaelic ‘O’Fearghail’ which is a name that is believed to have been derived from the personal name Fearghal. Translated in English, O’Farrell literally means ‘descendant of Fearghal’.

O’Farrell is the anglicised form of the surnames Ó Fearghail, O’Ferrall, Farrell, and MacFerrall. Throughout history, these surnames have been subject to multiple numerical and spelling variations over time. These alternate surnames are listed here as Ó Fearghail, MacGerailt, MaGeerailt, O'Ferrall, Farrell, MacFerrall, and McFerrell.

The spelling of names during the medieval period is fraught with inconsistency due to lack of record keeping and an ever changing standardization of spelling. This issue has affected surnames more than most and has caused many surnames to exist in multiple variations and forms. In many cases, the most common spelling variations of O’Farrell include O’Farrell, Farrell, MacFerrall, O'Ferrall, Ó Fearghail, McFerral, MacGerailt, and MaGeerailt.

The O’Farrell surname can be found in family records spanning the UK, Ireland, Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Today, there are still many people bearing the surname of O’Farrell who trace their lineage back to Fearghal of the O’Farrell dynasty in Ireland.

Famous people with the name O'Farrell

  • Madonna O'Farrell: Irish-American historian and author specializing in early American history.
  • Jimmy O'Farrell: Former Major League Baseball senior advisor who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Tim O'Farrell: American actor with appearances in films such as Avatar and The Hangover Part II.
  • Cyndi O'Farrell: Professional Actress from Austin, Texas.
  • Robert O'Farrell: Member of the Los Angeles City Council representing the West Hollywood district.
  • Dave O'Farrell: English footballer, who plays for Nottingham Forest F.C.
  • Liam O'Farrell: Former leader of the Canadian Army.
  • Tadgh O'Farrell: Irish Hoarder, who was involved in the Irish Civil War.
  • Aisling O'Farrell: Lead singer in Irish pop band Six.
  • Clare O'Farrell: Academic and author of four books on the history of religion.

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