The Origin and Meaning of Connell and O'Connell Surname

The Connell and O'Connell surnames most commonly derive from a word meaning wolf

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In Ireland, the surname Connell or O'Connell is an Anglicized form of the famous Gaelic clan name O'Conaill, meaning "strong as a wolf," from the Gaelic siol cuin or siol con which translates as "descendant of Connall or Con." The name possibly derives from (con) meaning "hound" or "wolf," and gal meaning "valour."

In Ulster the Connell surname may also have derived from MacConn, an Anglicized form of the name Mac Mhiolchon, meaning "son of the hound-like one."

Connell may also be a modern Scottish surname for Congal or Congual.

Connell is one of 50 common Irish surnames of modern Ireland.

Alternate Surname Spellings: Connal, Connell, Connall, O'Connell, Cannell, Conell, O'Connall, Conall

Interesting Facts About the Connell Surname

Three distinct O'Connell clans, located in the provinces of Connacht, Ulster, and Munster, are the originators of many of the Connell families in Clare, Galway, Kerry.

Famous People With the Surname Connell and O'Connell

  • Daniel O'Connell - Irish politician and statesman, known as the "Liberator."
  • Evan S. Connell - American novelist.
  • Richard Edward Connell - American author and journalist, best known for his short story "The Most Dangerous Game."

Genealogy Resources for the Surname Connell & O'Connell

Check out these great resources for learning more about the Connell name:

  • Explore background information and history on various early O'Connell families in Ireland at
  • Trace the geography and history of the Connell surname through the British Surname Profiler. This free online database based on a University College London (UCL) project investigating the distribution of surnames in Great Britain, both current and historic.
  • The Connell Family Genealogy Forum allows you to search this popular genealogy forum for the Connell surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Connell surname query.
  • Find historical records, queries, and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Connell surname and its variations at
  • RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Connell surname.
  • Cousin Connect allows you to read or post genealogy queries for the surname Connell, and sign up for free notification when new Connell queries are added.
  • is full of free databases and genealogy links for the last name Connell.


Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.

Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.


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Powell, Kimberly. "The Origin and Meaning of Connell and O'Connell Surname." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). The Origin and Meaning of Connell and O'Connell Surname. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "The Origin and Meaning of Connell and O'Connell Surname." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).