DeWard in Donegal

The information contained in this page was compiled by Bernard and forms part of the Donegal Genealogy Resources Website


You may link to this page but not copy it

If you have a connection to any of the families and would like to have your email address linked to them, please feel free to Contact Me


Absorption of Surnames

In the Petty census of 1659 the name Ward (MacAward) was the 28th most common name in Donegal.  By the time of the Donegal birth index of 1890 it had become the 7th most common name.  Why the leap?   The process of Anglicizing the Irish had started in earnest in the late Seventeenth century. Along with encouraging the Irish to drop the O’ & Mac prefixes from their names, Irish names were being translated into English more often as not by officials who couldn’t speak Irish.  Added to this, like sounding names found in relatively remote areas were often absorbed into better known names during the process of centralising government records.  Names like Sullahan became Sullivan, Kehilly became Kelly etc etc.


Of the three distinct groups of Wards in Inishkeel, during the 1800s, those living in the north & west are without a doubt descendants of the renowned literary family of MacanBhaird  whose original homeland is the adjoining Parish of Lettermacaward  just across the Gweebarra river.


It’s a quite different story to those living in the Glenties area.  The  Tithe Applotments of 1833 record two Ward families living in the area locally known as the Meentagh of Glenties. It’s highly unlikely that these men were in fact Wards.  For example, three of the sons of one of them, John Ward of Meenaleenaghan, called  themselves & their children DeWard  in the baptismal records of 1867/69. Another man, Cormac Ward baptised his daughter, Winifrid DeWard.


By 1857 the bulk of this small clann were now officially “Wards” but they continue to use their Deward name in various documents other than those concerning land ‘til near the end of the century. I’ve seen the marriage records of five girls married between 1864-70 still using the name DeWard.  All their fathers were DeWards in the marriage certificates although they were now technically Wards.   John Ward of Greenans, for example, is called Shane DeWard in his daughter Mary’s marriage certificate. Other Dewards who were clearly of the same stock but living outside Inishkeel, are a family from Raphoe  North, & one from Dooish in Stranorlar parish.  Interestingly The descendants of the Dooish family now living in  Meencarrigagh, Ballybofey, are the only ones left who have retained  the name of DeWard.


Outside of this area, the only other DeWards I could find were one family living in the Townland of Carrickfin, in the parish of Templecrone, & one family in the Townland of Tullyherron, in the Parish of Donaghcloney, Co. Down.


The Dewards (O’Dewards) of Glenties are a typical example of a small Clann living in a remote area losing their identity by absorption into the more common & English sounding name of Ward.  Hence the jump in the number of Wards in Donegal in the 1890 Birth Index!


These Dewards were a Clann in their own right who were evicted from their fertile lands in the  Laggan (lowlands) of Donegal at some time during the dispossessions which by 1778 left only 5% of Ireland in the hands of the native Irish, & who with other families were forced westward into the nearby Blue Stack Mountains. An empty & barren land used only for summer grazing by the people of Lettermacaward.


DeWard Background

Found in list of Donegal rebels 1609


Owen O’Deward

Hugh McRassie O’Doverd


Found in Hearth Money Rolls of 1665


Gilbreed O’Doward of Drumkeen , Convoy Parish

Hugh? O’Doward of Letterbrick, Kilteevoge Parish


Found in the Tithe Records of 1828/33


Deward 21 in adjacent Townlands above the Glen of Glenties (The Meentagh) Inishkeel Parish

Deward 1 in Kingarrow, Inishkeel Parish

Deivard 1 in Dooish, Stranorlar Parish (Andrew)

Deivard 1 in Raphoe North


Found in the Griffiths valuation of 1857/8


DeWard 3  above the Glen of Glenties ( the Meentagh) Inishkeel Parish

DeWard 1 in Kingarrow, Inishkeel Parish

Deivard  1 in Dooish, Stranorlar Parish (Andrew)

Deward  1 in Tullyherron, Donaghcloney, Co. Down


Found in the Census of 1901


Kilpatrick - Johnston & Rebecca, Thomas,  Jeanie.  Hugh McConnell & Bella Deward. -  Cappry, Stranorlar Parish

Deward  -  Michael & Sarah, Andrew, Mary, Patrick,Catherine - Dooish, Stranorlar Parish

DeWard - Andrew, Elisabeth, & Madge - Carrickfin, Templecrone


At Present ( 2009)


DeWard - Patrick & family - Meencarrigagh, Stranorlar Parish




Deivard is a misspelling of Deward, the iv should be w. However it’s interesting in as it illustrates that this name was originally one word. Deward,   not Ward with the prefix De in front of it.



Ward / DeWard Comparison Table

Comparison table showing the surname change that occurred between 1833-1857.& the general distribution of Wards in the Parish of  Inishkeel at that time.

There were three separate groupings of Wards in Inniskeel, one in the north between the Gweebarra River & Lough Finn, another to the west of Ardara & a third group situated to the east of Glenties on the Plateau above the Glen of Glenties, known locally as "the Meentagh".

The Irish Acre was used in the 1833 Tithe Applotment, and the English Acre was used in the 1857 Griffiths Valuation. 

Townland 1833 Acres 1857 Acres
Adderwall Bryan Ward      
         Condy Ward   Connell Ward  
  John Ward   John Ward  
  Hugh Ward   Hugh Ward  
  Nan Ward      
Clashy Bryan Ward      
Clochercor     Brian Ward  
      Danial Ward  
Coolvoy     James Ward  
Derryloghan William Ward   Anne Ward 30
      John Ward No. 3a 55
      John Ward No. 6b 119
Drumnaha     Connell Ward 83
      Connell Ward  
Kingarrow Conal Deward   John DeWard 30

Kingarrow is east of Fintown the rest are  are all south of the the Gweebarra River & north of Lough Finn

Naran is north & Tullynaglaggan is southeast of Ardara. The rest are all in western Inishkeel

Bracky John Ward   Bridget Ward  
  Patrick McWard   Owen Ward  
Cashel John Ward      
Laconnell     John Ward  
Lagunna     Danial Ward  
Mullancarry William Ward   William Ward  
Naran     Edward Ward  
Owenteskiny Condy Ward      
Tullynaglaggan     Patrick Ward 3
1833 - 11 Wards + 1 McWard + 1 Deward   1857 - 18 Wards + 1 DeWard
Townland 1833 Acres 1857 Acres
Ardun     Hugh Ward 55
Buncroobog     Hugh Ward 13
Croaghubbrid     Charles Ward 44
      Patrick Ward 97
Croveenananta     William Ward 215
Drumnasillagh Patrick Deward   William Ward  
Edenfinfreagh William Deward 19 Mary Ward 20
  Patrick Deward 50 Patrick Ward 161
Glenties Town     William Ward  
Graffy     Hugh Ward 13
      John Ward 11
Greenans John  Deward 36 John Ward (Sen.) 30
  William Deward 17 John Ward (Jun.) 41
  John Deward 36    
Knocklettragh Rose Deward 11    
  Darby Deward 34    
  Darby Deward 21    
Lacroagh Michael Deward 83    
Lagnagillew     Margaret Ward 43
Meenabrock Hugh Deward 214 Hugh Ward 231 shared
  John Deward 214 John Ward (Hugh’s son) with John
      John Ward (John’s son) 285
      William Ward 181 shared
      Patrick Ward with Patrick
Meenachuit     William DeWard 38
Meenagrubby        Patrick Deward 17 Patrick Ward 42
  William Deward 17 William Ward 96
  Widow Deward 17    
Meenaleenaghan John  Ward   20 John Ward No. 6 19
      Fergal Ward No. 5 27
      Connell Ward No.8a & 8b 8 + 14 = 22
      William Ward No.13 148
Meenamanragh John Ward 93 John Ward  142 shared
      Connell Ward with Connell
Meenanarwa     Patrick DeWard 215 shared
      William DeWard with William
Meenavale Hugh Deward 30 Bridget Ward  
  Conal Deward 30 Connell Ward (Sen.) 56
      Connell Ward (Jun.) 40
Mully Patrick Deward   Bryan Ward No.2 40
      OwenWard Nos.8b10a 10b  3 + 25 = 28
Tangaveane William Deward 17+6 WilliamWard Nos.3a  & 3b 7 + 21 = 28
  Manus Deward 17 JeremiahWard Nos.7a& 7b 5 + 22 = 27
  Charles Deward 17 Charles Ward Nos. 8a & 8b 4 + 19 = 23
      Patrick Ward (Sen.) No. 9 19
      Patrick Ward (Jun.) No.12 60
Tievelough     William Ward 25
These Townlands are in “the Meentagh” to the east of Glenties & continue down the glen of Glenties
1833 - 2 Wards + 21 Dewards   1857 - 38 Wards + 3 DeWards



Name Distribution Maps


1833 Map

1857 Map


BACK to Donegal Genealogy Resources


Lindel Buckley

© 1998/2009 Donegal Genealogy Resources