The O'Feaeghaill sept held sway over the territory called Annaly, in County Longford, their seat being where the town of Longford grew up. The name is etymologically the same as Farrell. The leading family were descended from a brother of St. Columcille and had the hereditary right of inaugurating O'Donnell as lord of Tirconnell. Ferrall is a variant also found in that county. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the father's Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames.
They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. A notable member of this name was James Thomas FARRELL, (l904-79) American novelist, short-story writer, critic and essayist, born in Chicago. A lapsed Catholic and a naturalist in the mould of Zola, he owes most to the style of Sherwood Anderson. His first novel was Young Lonigan (l932) which began the Studs Lonigan trilogy of life on Chicago's South side, realistically and graphically expressed.
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