This notable surname is both Irish, Manx, and Scottish. It derives from pre 10th century Gaelic "O'Dochartaigh", meaning the descendant of Dochartach. This was a personal byname which translates loosely as "hurtful, or injurious". Traditionally Gaelic family names are taken from the heads of tribes, or some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "Mac", denoting "son of", or "O", grandson, male descendant of. Originating in the barony of Raphoe, County Donegal, this large and powerful sept were of the same stock as the illustrious O'Donnells of Tirconnell, one of the most famous septs in Irish history, and in the Middle Ages the O'Dochartaigh chiefs extended their territory till they became lords of Inishowen, and their headquarters was on the Inishowen Peninsula.In 1208, David O'Doherty, a chief of Cinel Conaill, was killed in battle, and from him descend the separate septs of MacDaibhid or MacDevitts of Inishowen. The power of the O'Dohertys was greatly reduced following the ill-timed rebellion of 1608, led by Sir Cahir O'Doherty. Many of the sept fled to Scotland and later England, where the name was variously recorded as Dockerty, Doherty, Dougherty, Daugherty, Docherty and Docharty. Examples of surname recordings taken from surviving rolls and registers include: Mary Docherty recorded at Drumbo, County Down, on Masy 6th 1817, whilst and on September 4th 1843, a son, John, was born to Peter Docherty and Janet Clark, at Midlothian, in Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donnall O'Dochartaigh. This was dated 1119, in the Manx Names list, by A.W. Moore, during the reign of High Kings of Ireland "with opposition", 1022 - 1166. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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