*** My Devlin Connections ***

My Devlin Connections

My Michael W. Caughey

My great grandmother, Christian Devlin, married John Bushell pre 1865. Their daughter (and my grandmother), Mary Jane Bushell, was born at Oakfield, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland, on 18 December 1865.

It would be nice for me to know where and when John and Christian were married and buried. It is possible that she came from Co. Tyrone.


This important Tyrone sept, in Gaelic O'Doibhilin, ruled a territory called Muintir Dhoiblin (now Munterdevlin) on the west shore of Lough Neagh in what the English called 'O'Neill's own country'. The sept was of the Cenel Eoghain, descending from one Domailen who gave it its name and was himself a direct descendant of Eoghan (Owen), son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. As such the sept was close kin to the O'Donnellys. The chief od the Muintir Dhoiblin, 'people of Develin', was hereditary swordbearer to O'Neill and the O'Develins were part of his calvary.

Devlin is most common in Tyrone (where it is the fifth most numerous name) and in the adjacent counties of Antrim, Derry and Armagh. Over 80% of Irish Devlins are from Ulster. It was estimated in the 1950s that of those living in rural Ulster, 60% still live in the vicinity of their ancestral homeland and at that date a large number of nicknames were used to distinguish between them (Devlin Dhu, Devlin Ban, Devlin Mor, and so on. (With acknowledgements to 'The Book of Ulster Surnames').

Devlin Archives Enquiries/comments welcomed

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