What's in a name - the O'Doherty, O'Dochartaigh, Doherty connection

O'Doherty Crest

This is an anglicized form of the old Gaelic name O'Dochartaigh, the Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal name Dochartaigh, from "dochartach" meaning "hurtful" or "obstructive". In Irish, the female variant of "O" is "Ní" for example example, Mr Michael O'Dochartaigh, and Miss Maire Ní Dochartaigh.

The leading sept of the O'Dohertys (the usual anglicization of the name) belonged to County Donegal, where they became Lords of Inishowen in the 14th Century. The earliest recording of the name in Ireland is 1208, the year which David O'Doherty, a chief of Cinel Conaill was killed. There is an earlier recording of the name in the Isle of Man (see below).

Today, the modern surname Doherty with its variant forms Docherty, Docharty, Dougherty, O'Doherty etc., numbers fifteenth in the list of the most widespread names in Ireland. The spelling Daugherty first appears in Donaghcloney, County Down on October 9th 1847 when James Daugherty married a Jane Scott in that parish. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donnall O' Dochartaigh, which was dated 1119, in the "Manx Names" by A.W.Moore, during the reign of the High King of Ireland "with opposition" 1022 - 1166.

There are, however, up to 140 variations of the name throughout the world, with Dougherty, Docherty and Doherty and O'Doherty being the most commonly recognised