The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The name is a variant of O'Neil, (Prince of Tyrone, Kings of Ulster and several times Monarchs of Ireland, descended from Niall Glandubh, Monarch of Ireland, slain by the Danes of Dublin, A.D.946, from which the surname is derived; Donel O'Neill. surnamed ARDMACHA, 46th Monarch of Ireland, of the race of Hy Neale, died at Armagh A.D.987. His descendant Hugh Maccaoneh O'Neill, Prince of Tyrone, had two sons: 1. Nial Roe O'Neill ancestor to the subsequent Princes of Tyrone; 2. Hugh Dubh O'Neill who died in 1230.
A direct descendant Con O'Neill, Prince of Tyrone, founded the Franciscan Monastery of Ballynasagart County Tyrone in 1489, and
was murdered by his brother Henry O'Neill in 1493). Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the eleventh century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000.
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. About the year 890-93, a body of Norwegians from Ireland entered Yorkshire and were followed by a greater number, probably between 919 and 952. These Norwegians had been settled in Ireland sufficiently long to become partly Celticized and they have left their mark on the modern map of Cumberland and North Yorkshire in a series of place-names containing Irish loan-words.
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