What is the origin of the last name Doherty?

The last name Doherty has Gaelic origins and is commonly found in Ireland, particularly in County Donegal. It is derived from the Gaelic surname "Ó Dochartaigh," meaning "descendant of Dochartach." The Gaelic personal name Dochartach translates to "hurtful" or "obstructive," possibly indicating a warrior or strong-willed individual. Over centuries, the name has undergone various phonetic changes and spellings, eventually adopting the anglicized form "Doherty."

Countries of origin for the last name Doherty

The last name *DOHERTY* has Irish origins and is primarily found in Ireland and among the Irish diaspora. It is a common surname in Ireland and has a rich history and meaning.

The name *DOHERTY* is derived from the Gaelic surname Ó Dochartaigh, which translates to “descendant of Dochartach.” The root of the name is the Old Irish word “dochartach,” meaning “hurtful” or “obstructive.” The prefix “Ó” indicates “descendant of,” signifying a connection to a specific ancestral figure named Dochartach.

One theory suggests that the original ancestral figure may have been a warrior or someone who caused trouble, as the meaning of “dochartach” implies. This theory is supported by the historical context of the name, with Ireland having a long history of tribal conflicts and warfare. The name may have been bestowed upon individuals who displayed these traits.

The Ó Dochartaigh clan, from which the name *DOHERTY* originates, can be traced back to the region of County Donegal in northwest Ireland. The clan held significant influence in the area and had a reputation for being skilled warriors and leaders. They were part of the larger Gaelic nobility in Ireland.

Migration and emigration have played a role in spreading the surname beyond Ireland. During periods of economic hardship and political turmoil, many Irish people sought better opportunities abroad, particularly in the United States. As a result, the name *DOHERTY* can be found among Irish communities in the United States, especially in areas with significant Irish immigration such as Boston, Chicago, and New York City.

It is worth noting that the spelling of the name *DOHERTY* has variations, even within Ireland. Different regions and individuals may spell the name differently, such as Doherty or Dougherty. These variations can be attributed to factors like dialectal differences, anglicization, and personal preference.

The meaning and significance of the last name *DOHERTY* extend beyond its etymology. It represents a connection to Irish heritage, history, and culture. The name holds a sense of identity and belonging for individuals and communities who bear it, serving as a reminder of their ancestral roots.

In conclusion,

Interesting facts about the last name Doherty

  • The surname Doherty is of Irish origin and is one of the most common surnames in Ireland.
  • The name is derived from the Gaelic Ó Dochartaigh, which translates to “descendant of Dochartach,” meaning “hurtful” or “obstructive” in Irish.
  • The Doherty name has several variant spellings, including Docherty, Dogherty, Dougherty, and Dockerty.
  • Historically, the Doherty clan was a prominent Gaelic Irish sept located in the North-West of Ireland, particularly in the counties of Donegal and Derry.
  • Many Doherty families originated from the northernmost point of Ireland, the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal.
  • The Doherty clan played a significant role in Irish history, particularly during the medieval and early modern periods.
  • Throughout history, many individuals bearing the surname Doherty have distinguished themselves in various fields, including politics, literature, music, and sports.
  • In the United States, the Doherty surname is most commonly found in coastal areas with large Irish American populations, such as Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Doherty include Brian Doherty, an American author and journalist, and Peter Doherty, a British Nobel Prize-winning physiologist.
  • The name Doherty has also gained popularity as a given name in recent years.

Name Rank


There are around 27787 people with the last name Doherty in the US

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